After making an emotional plea for the return of his beloved support dog, Twix, hundreds have rallied around a disabled Army veteran looking to bring Twix home.
“It’s completely shocking,” said 25-year-old John Silva after he was contacted over a 24-hour span by dozens of people willing to give up their time to help search for his missing 4-year-old pit bull. “I never thought in a million years that a missing dog would bring so many people together to help a complete stranger.”
Twix went missing Thursday evening from the home of Silva and his wife, Rachel Hester, and since then, the couple have been posting fliers, taking to social media and canvasing their neighborhood looking for Silva’s companion.
“I was tagged on The Sun’s post yesterday about the dog and I thought, ‘We need to help,’” said Teddy Garcia Jr. Garcia, a member of Sherri’s Project: Wounded Warrior Pack, a non-profit group that finds and trains service dogs for combat-wounded military as well as victims of military sexual trauma, who immediately called the founder, Sherri Waters.
“I’m a veteran and did two tours of Afghanistan,” said Garcia, who is also the organization’s master dog trainer for the areas north of Orange County including San Bernardino and who also has an emotional support dog. “I know how uplifting it is to have your dog with you.”
In only a few hours, Garcia and other members of the non-profit came together to set up a search plan to get Twix back home. Several members are making the drive from the San Diego area to help in the search.
“We’re going to beat feet and we’re going to look for him,” said A.J. Johnson, spokeswoman for the group. “We’re going to hit the streets and put out fliers and actually go look for Twix in the last known areas that he was seen.”
Along with training the dogs, Johnson said they also organize these search missions to help reunite veterans with their animals.
“Personally, this is the fifth one I’ve been on but there have been more,” she said. “We’ve not lost a dog yet. We’ve retrieved every dog we’ve hunted for so far.”
Silva even started a GoFundMe account to help raise money for a larger reward for the dog and to help cover the costs of looking forTwix.
For everyone involved, it’s important to bring Twix home to Silva.
“The amount of time a veteran is without that service dog is excruciating and it’s detrimental to that veteran and that dog,” said Johnson. “We need to make sure to get them reunited as soon as possible.”