American soldier Robby Gabbert learned his dog, Baxter, was sold while he’s serving in Afghanistan. His 3-year-old Shiba Inu was left in the care of his girlfriend when he was deployed and things changed after that.
It all unfolds in an emotionally stirring story that is one of the more viral news headlines involving a pet, New York Daily News reports June 18. Robert (Robby) Gabbert trusted his girlfriend to keep his dog, Baxter. She supposedly grew tired of having the dog and sold him on Craigslist. At the time she did that, she didn’t inform her boyfriend, who’s still overseas. Gabbert’s family found out about the Craigslist ad and began an aggressive social media search to find Baxter’s new owners.
When the Colorado soldier’s parents finally found the owners, they weren’t willing to return the dog. What makes this so complicated, is the family has two children who fell in love with Baxter. At this point, both families are “negotiating” a way for the dog to change hands once again.
Robby’s mother, Karen, said this to KOAA:
“They keep saying they have children that are attached. Well, my child is attached to the dog. Just because he’s older doesn’t mean he’s not my child.”
The other family in the Robby Gabbert dog story has not been identified. KOAA reports that Baxter’s new owners have been offered $14,000 to return the pooch. A Facebook page was put up to raise money for to get the dog back, but since the new owners are open to returning him, the page has since been taken down.
Gabbert has at least six more months to serve in Afghanistan before returning home. He got Baxter when he was a puppy.
The intent isn’t to “out” the new owners, says Nancy Wallace, a supporter of getting Robby Gabert’s dog back:
“No one wants to out them. No one wants to give them any negative publicity. We just really want Baxter back home with Robby.”
“He should be doing the job he’s there for and not having to worry about that. He should know that his dog is home and with his family and will be waiting for him when he gets home.”
Facebook organizers are heavily involved in getting Baxter back for Robby. They’re working diligently with the family to make sure they stay anonymous and they’ve hired an attorney to aid in the exchange. Reward money will gladly be offered to the family in order to get Robby Gabbert’s dog back where he belongs.