Army veteran Geoff Hoffman was preparing for a blue christmas.
According to CBS Denver, the Oklahoma man’s home was burglarized on Dec. 20. Leaving Hoffman’s material goods in place, the criminals took his most valuable possession: his beloved dog Bridget.
Distraught, Hoffman and his girlfriend immediately launched an expansive search for the 3-year-old pit bull, posting about Bridget on social media, sharing their story with local news outlets and rescues and looking for the dog everywhere they could.
The hard work paid off. Hoffman’s girlfriend found Bridget on Christmas Eve morning, lying on the side of a rural road tired, but alive.
“When she approached, Bridget started to wag her tail. Typical Bridget,” Hoffman posted on Facebook about the reunion.
Whoever had stolen Bridget was nowhere to be seen, but the signs of the crime could be found on the innocent dog’s body. Hoffman’s phone number had been scratched off Bridget’s ID tag and the pit bull’s legs were covered in injuries.
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“Aside from spending at least one night in below freezing conditions, she has several deep lacerations to her front left leg and her eyes were red and swollen. She was very dehydrated, had blood in her stool, and some sort of rash all over her body. The poor thing was exhausted,” Hoffman added online.
His girlfriend rushed the dog to an emergency vet, and the veteran met the pair there, sharing a sweet reunion with his furry friend.
While Hoffman says the twinkle from Bridget’s eyes has disappeared because of the ordeal, he knows it will return after a few days of solid TLC.
“Bridget is a soul full of love and affection. Nothing will hold down her spirit of love. As exhausted, hungry, thirsty, injured, and cold as she was, even at the emergency vet, every time she saw a new person, she wanted to make friends with them,” Hoffman wrote.
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The days leading up to Bridget’s return were draining and debilitating for Hoffman, but they were also inspiring. Dozens of animal lovers, many of them strangers, shared the veteran’s story and helped search for Bridget, leaving Hoffman feeling grateful that there are so many good people in the world to face down the bad ones.
“I have no doubt that because of all of you, Bridget is home,” Hoffman wrote. “The pressure that was placed on the criminal that stole her must have been overwhelming. This story has been shared so many times, complete strangers have stopped me and ask about Bridget. Some would start crying out of sympathy on my behalf. The animal shelters knew exactly who I was before I even said a word. You are all amazing.”