Vietnam vet's therapy dog missing in Lehigh Valley

UPPER MT. BETHEL, Pa. - March 10, 2014

"That dog is my world, he's my life. He's what I live for," said John Wilkofsky.

Casper, the red Labrador retriever, went missing about two weeks ago and a frantic search has been underway ever since.

This all started while Wilkofsky was taking the dog for a walk.

Casper went sniffing around in a wooded area, took off into the trees and no one has seen him since.

Dawn Ritzie is from Hound Hunters of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a volunteer organization dedicated to helping people find lost pets.

"Generally a two week search isn't unheard of, but with his health concerns, it's shortening the time that we have to find Casper," said Ritzie.

Wilkofsky's health issues include post-traumatic stress disorder, which he has suffered since serving in Vietnam as a gunner for the 173rd Airborne Helicopter Brigade.

His crew was known as the Casper Brigade.

The men he fought alongside with were the ones who gave him the dog as a gift four years ago to help him deal with this painful memories. So he named the red lab after his platoon.

Now, as the search continues, Wilkofsky wears his loving pet's collar around his own neck.

"This is Casper's collar, all his licenses and his home again tag and his microchip, I will wear it until I find him," he said.

Wilkofsky says he truly means it when he says that he doesn't just want his dog back, he needs him back.

"He's just everything to me," he said.

Anyone who finds Casper is urged to contact Hound Hunters of NE. Pa at 570-460-6788.

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