Bronx Veteran Reunited With Stolen Service Dog

On Mother’s Day weekend just last month, Robert Lebron and his puppy, Mala, were returning from a walk when they were suddenly attacked by two men.

Surveillance video shows one man kicking Robert down a small set of stairs leading from the stoop of his home, and following him as he falls out of frame. Robert, unsure if they were armed and not willing to risk serious injury to himself or Mala, refused to fight back.

During the scuffle, he dropped Mala’s leash and the second man calmly walked over and picked it up. When the fight was over Robert was left alone, the two men and Mala gone. This was just the beginning of a difficult month for him.

Mala was very important to Robert, and his immediate concern was finding her. The 8-month-old Pit Bull helped Robert cope with the PTSD he developed as a result of his service with the Army Rangers. Unsure where she might be or if she was okay, he was heartbroken and eager to find her.

His story was picked up by media outlets all over the U.S., and he used the attention to plead for Mala’s return. He was quoted by WPIX-TV as saying, “If you see something, say something, because I need her and she needs me. I need help getting my dog back. That’s all I want… What Mala gives me I can’t get from someone else — not a therapist or a family member or my friend. It’s unconditional love.”

His story touched the hearts of strangers, including Darran Brown, the CEO of crowdfunding website GoCharity. Brown offered $1,000 for Mala’s return on Robert’s behalf, although the two men had never met before.

Robert was stunned and brought to tears by the act of kindness. “It shows compassion and that’s what I need right now. I need help getting my dog back. That’s all I need.”

Finally, after nearly a month, Mala was returned to Robert. WPIX-TV doesn’t report many details, but we’re so happy to hear that they’ve been reunited!

We love our veterans, and we love our service dogs – we hope these two have several happy years together ahead of them.

You can help pair a veteran with a service dog of their own by ordering any of these items from iHeartDogs. Each purchase benefits Pets for Vets, which pairs a veteran with a new best friend.

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