• Local soldier reunited with dog that served with him in Afghanistan after dog went missing

    By: Kaitlyn Chana


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local soldier has been reunited with his dog who served with him for years in Afghanistan.

    A black Lab named Bright and his owner, Hunter Elebash, are inseparable.

    On Wednesay morning Bright went missing near Ed Austin Park, but through social media Elebash was able to reconnect with his loyal pet and fellow soldier.

    Bright has been by Elebash’s side for four years. When Bright went missing, Elebash was heartbroken knowing his best friend that’s now his therapy dog could be lost somewhere.

    “It is a little gut-wrenching,” Elebash said.

    During their time in the military Bright was a bomb detection dog that used to locate explosives used to make IED’s.

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    “She would go in front of me, about 20 to 30 feet, and was smelling for explosives and she would indicate and then let me know if there was any explosives,” said Elebash.

    Elebash said Bright saved his life and countless other soldiers during their deployment in Afghanistan.

    “She pretty much made sure everyone behind her didn’t step on any IED or explosives,” explained Elebash.

    Through the power of online posts, local people, including Action News Jax, started reposting, sharing and tweeting out Bright’s information. The station was there when Elebash thought he found his dog, the first time.
    “I was definitely excited, but you saw me earlier when I got my hopes up and it was another dog,” said Elebash.

    Yet, it was the second phone call that lead Elebash to a family that found his dog two blocks away.

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    Elebash still doesn’t know how his 55 pound black Labrador got out of their 6-foot tall fence, but he’s just happy she’s home.

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