Vietnam veteran reunited with missing service dog

“I’m happy to see you, too,” Chuck Colacchio said as his beloved dog, Sam, jumped on him and wagged his tail. Sam, a 3-year-old Ridgeback-hound mix, was missing for eight days. (NECN)

The joy was mutual.

“I’m happy to see you, too,” Chuck Colacchio said as his beloved dog, Sam, jumped on him and wagged his tail.

Sam, a 3-year-old Ridgeback-hound mix, was missing for eight days.

“I couldn’t imagine not having him,” Colacchio, a Vietnam veteran, said.

But based on his emotions, it seemed as if Colacchio was the one who was lost without his service dog.

“A lot of crying -- a lot of crying, especially in morning when he wasn’t around, you know? Wake up and he’s not there,” he said.

The dog was resting in his favorite spot back home in Woburn last Thursday night while they were out for their usual walk in Cummings Park. Something spooked Sam and he took off separating the two, who are usually inseparable.

“I’m sure it’s different for every veteran,” Colacchio said. “I really don’t have any family -- a few friends.”

Colacchio searched for days before getting help from volunteers from Missing Dogs Massachusetts.

“I heard some barking in the woods,” Colacchio said.

Finally, by Friday afternoon a man who just wanted to help found Sam. The dog’s leash was tangled up in trees.

“He would have died there had this guy not found him,” said Colacchio.

Sam was thirsty, with Colacchio also noting that the dog had lost some weight and was exhausted.

But it didn’t take long for Colacchio and Sam to be back in their routine.

“He’s everything,” Colacchio said of Sam.

(This story is courtesy of NECN)

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