NEWTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - An East Texas military veteran is making an unexpected but happy road trip to Missouri today to pick up his companion dog, which went missing after a recent visit to Toledo Bend Reservoir.
According to Newton County Sheriff Billy Rowles’s weekly report, Oliver, an English bulldog, was found safe and sound. He added that the dog owner’s father called him and gave him the good news about the dog on Monday.
“Update - dog located, safe and sound, and you won’t believe where it was!” the report stated.
Christopher Boyett, Oliver’s owner, said his dog wandered off on his own after he took him to Toledo Bend on July 3. He looked for Oliver, but he didn’t have any luck finding his dog.
Rowles said Tuesday that Oliver showed up several times on game cameras at a hunting club near where he went missing at Toledo Bend. He said that he thought the dog may have gotten lost in the woods for five or six days. Boyett said his dog showed up on game cameras on July 6 and 8.
Boyett said he and his family had just about gotten to the point where they thought they’d never see Oliver again when his dad called to tell him he had some news about Oliver.
“When I got the call and learned that Oliver is alive and being taken care of, I was dumbstruck,” Boyett said.
The Army veteran said his first question to his father was, “Is he alive?”
Boyett’s father replied, “Yes, but he’s in Missouri.”
Boyett said he asked his father to explain to him how that happened.
Rowles said Tuesday that a family from Missouri that was originally from Newton had been visiting Texas. When they went to Toledo Bend, they found Oliver on the side of the road. Because the dog looked distressed, they assumed that he was a stray and took him back to Missouri with them, he said.
“They thought he was a stray dog someone had dumped on the side of the road, so they took him to back to Missouri with them,” Rowles said.
Then when the family saw the story about Oliver, they contacted Boyett’s family to let him know that they have his dog.
When Boyett talked to Matt Bennett, the man whose family picked Oliver up from the side of the road on July 9, he offered to pay him some money to help with the cost of Oliver’s food.
“He refused,” Boyett said. “He said, 'I’m just happy to be able to get your dog back to you.”
Boyett said he served in the U.S. Army from 1999-2003. He was in the National Guard when he was recalled to active duty from 2005 to 2006. He saw combat in Tikrit, Iraq.
Oliver was born on Feb. 25, 2010, and Boyett got him when the dog was still a puppy. He added that Oliver helps him cope when he is dealing with PTSD.
“He’s my buddy,” Boyett said.
Boyett said that his wife, who is a Navy veteran, will actually be the one who will drive to Missouri next Tuesday to pick up Oliver.