Homeless Veteran with Terminal Cancer Reunited with Missing Service Dog

dying homeless veteran reunited with service dog

After Harry Brown was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given less than a year to live, the homeless veteran traveled from Phoenix to Long Beach, Calif., with his beloved Pit Bull service dog, Olivia, to say his final goodbyes to some old friends there.

The former Marine didn’t know he might have also said his final farewell to Olivia. While the two were napping at a dog beach earlier this month, Olivia wandered off.

Brown walked several miles to search for Olivia at shelters in Long Beach and Orange County. He put an ad on Craigslist. Days passed, and Olivia was still missing.

“We spent as long as we could trying to find her,” Brown told NBC4 News, choking back tears. “I’d just gotten rid of all her stuff because I didn’t think I’d see her again.”

Heartbroken and alone, Brown took a bus back to Phoenix. “I just kept praying that she would be with someone who could take care of her,” he said.

Meanwhile, someone who saw Olivia on a Long Beach street took her to a local shelter. At the same time, the nonprofit rescue Captain Care saw the Craigslist ad and found Olivia in the shelter.

“I got an email back. It says, ‘Your girl is in L.A. County. Go get her,'” Brown told NBC4 News.

And he did, thanks to a bus ticket purchased for him by Captain Care.

“She gives me the drive to keep going and makes my life a little better,” Brown told NBC4 News yesterday as he was reunited with Olivia. “She’s my life.”

Captain Care is using donations to have Olivia spayed and pay for her dog food and treats.

“Thank you, everyone who helped make this happen by supporting Captain Care!” the group wrote on its Facebook page last night.

“Intervention works, one dog at a time!”

Photo via Facebook

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!