SPICEWOOD, Texas (KXAN) — A veteran who served in Desert Storm is offering a $3,000 reward for his 2-year-old service dog he believes was stolen last weekend from Spicewood.
James Irwin, 49, says his 125-pound Rottweiler named Bane was trained to help him sleep at night. And while Bane doesn’t actually sleep in Irwin’s bed, he’s right next to him on the floor.
“The only reason I can go to sleep is because I know he can hear just before I do,” explains Irwin. “Some people have to take sleeping pills to fall asleep. I can lay down in my bed and put my hand off the side of my bed and Bane will come up and stick his head underneath my hand and sit there until I can’t pet him anymore.”
Irwin says after serving in the Army for four years and getting out in 1991, it has been difficult for him to sleep.
“To live in a place with a group of guys that are heavily armed you get some of the best sleep you’ll ever get in your life,” Irwin said. “And when you transition from the military to the civilian sector it’s totally different environment. Totally different.”
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, insomnia was the most commonly reported PTSD symptom in a survey of veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Sunday evening, Irwin says Bane and his other dog, Piper, an English Pointer, were out playing in their yard along Crawford Road. While the land isn’t fenced, Irwin says Bane has never wandered. He says the dogs were out there for a couple of hours with no problems, but when he took his eyes off of them for a few minutes to grill, they ran off.
Irwin and his wife jumped into their cars and went looking for the two dogs but after one hour, Piper came home but Bane was still missing. Irwin believes someone might have kept him because even though he might be an intimidating animal when you look at him, he’ll immediately come up to you and lie down at your feet.
They’ve also used a drone to try and spot Bane, put up signs and even brought in a professional tracker from Dallas.
“Chased some scent trails and then they just they stopped,” Irwin said.
Irwin purchased Bane through a breeder more than a year ago and started training him to be a service dog when he was 7-months-old. Bane is Irwin’s second service dog, the first one died about four years ago.
When Irwin originally put out the notice about his missing dog, he was offering a $500 reward. But, once more people found out about it, several groups, such as the Calaveras Motorcycle Club, contributed to the reward. A Facebook page has also been started to gather information and get out the word about Bane. In case you find him, Bane is microchipped.
“If you have him, I need him back. No questions asked,” Irwin said. The number to call is 512-848-9445.
Irwin said you can also contact the Pelface Veterinary Clinic at (512) 264-1700.