Sophia, NC - U.S. Army Specialist Jeremy Young was shot 12 times while serving in Afghanistan. During Young's homecoming celebration on Saturday, his dog escaped from his pen.
The dog, Rusty, was supposed to be trained as Young's service dog. Since Saturday, dozens of people have been out searching for Rusty because they know how important he is to Young.
"He really fell in love with the dog. So we had a trainer come look at him, check him out and said he met all of the qualifications. He'd make a really good service dog," said Sherry Adkines, Young's mother.
Young, his family and friends have been out searching for Rusty near Young's home in Sophia. Adkines said Rusty had only moved to North Carolina from Texas on Wednesday, but he has spent plenty of time with Young throughout his recovery.
Saturday was Rusty's first day in his pen. The door was closed and locked, so they know the only way Rusty could have gotten out was to climb or jump. A neighbor said they saw Rusty get hit by a car before running off.
Young is supposed to leave on April 3, to go to Fort Bragg for more physical therapy. That's when Rusty is supposed to start training to help him deal with the other effects of what happened. Though Young can't move his right leg from the knee down or his right hand very well, that doesn't bother him. But loud noises do.
"Most of the time he is okay. Loud noises that he doesn't expect is when it bothers him. And the dog has kind of helped prepare him for that," said Adkines.
Young and his family are not giving up. Someone who didn't even know Young, but heard about his dog, has offered his tracker dogs to help look for Rusty. Folks in the community are also donating their own money as a reward to the person who finds Rusty.
If you'd like to donate, you can send a check to Stephanie Maner c/o of Jeremy Young, PO BOX 662, Denton, NC 27239.
Also, if you see a 10-month-old husky mix it could be Rusty. Adkines is asking that you text her a picture, so they can take a look at the dog. Her number is (336) 689-3866.
They believe Rusty is somewhere in the Trinity, Archdale, or Sophia areas.
WFMY News 2