AURORA, Colo. — A veteran was reunited with his service dog on Monday after it was taken from outside a popular restaurant.
“I’m never letting him out of my sight now,” Navy veteran Levi Roybal said.
Roybal can’t help but cry as he clings tight to his beloved dog, Astro.
“This dog is my life. He’s my soul,” he said.
Roybal thought he might never see his furry companion again. From his time serving overseas, Roybal struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.
He bought the Shibu Inu as a puppy six years ago to help him cope. Then on Sunday night, the unthinkable happened.
Just before 7 p.m., the dog was swiped from outside the Hibachi Grill on Mississippi Avenue and Sable Boulevard.
Roybal said he tethered Astro because he wanted the dog to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.
Surveillance video shows the little dog on the sidewalk. Then, a man takes him by the leash and casually walks off into the parking lot.
“My head is just spinning with anger, sadness — not understanding why,” Roybal said.
Although Roybal might never find out why someone did this, he received an update on Monday night. The restaurant called him to say a man returned his companion.
Employees at the Hibachi Grill told Roybal the man who dropped off the dog said he thought it was cold sitting outside of the restaurant.
The Aurora Police Department continues to investigate.
Roybal is not interested in pressing charges. He said he is just grateful to have his buddy back.
“He’s best thing that could have every happened to me. He’s the reason why I wake up,” Roybal said.