San Antonio – A San Antonio combat veteran is desperate for the return of his service dog after he says the dog was abducted in November.
Roi Biton fought for the Israeli military combat force. However, due to his experience, he now suffers from PTSD, which results in severe nightmares.
Golani, a white bull terrier, was gifted to him as a service dog.
“Not only is he trained to help me relax, but he wakes me up when I have nightmares,” Biton said. “I couldn’t believe it when I first got him. He will push on me until I got up and he would cuddle me and I would feel so relaxed.”
Golani was by Biton’s side 24/7.
“He is my world,” Biton said. “He is my everything. I take him everywhere. To work, to restaurants, to the movies. He is like half of me.”
Biton believes Golani saved his and his rescue dog’s life, Rona.
“Rona was in her shell a lot,” Biton said. “Golani got her out of her shell and she wasn’t as anxious anymore.”
Sadly, Biton has hit a nightmare he cannot shake out of.
“I went to see a property I wanted to buy and I let them out like I always did,” Biton said. “We were on Jones Maltsberger and Highway 281, just south of the Security Service Bank.”
Biton said at that moment, Golani and Rona both ran after a critter they spotted.
“On the North Side bordering the bank was a canal,” Biton said. “They went through the canal and onto the next property. I couldn’t get to them, so I ran back to my truck to try to drive around.”
At that moment before he reached his truck, Biton said Rona had ran back to him.
“She was all rattled and her tail between her legs,” Biton said. “I knew something had happened because the way she was acting. She doesn’t do people very well. We got in the truck and it had to be four minutes between the time they left and the time I was able to make it around.”
Biton said it seemed as if Golani disappeared, which is very unusual for him.
“Service dogs are trained really well,” Biton said. “Bottom line, they are dogs. They can chase things, but they are always 100% trained to come back. They don’t get lost. Service dogs do not get lost.”
That fact alone leads both Biton and the investigator on his case to think Golani was abducted.
Biton has since been heartbroken and miserable without his partner.
“When he got abducted, I slept two nights on the street where he got abducted because thought maybe he would come back,” Biton said. “I literally slept under the sky. It is like losing something that touched your heart. You can imagine my last five months… sleepless.”
Biton has gone over and beyond to get Golani back.
He even has the military investigating his disappearance.
“My mind keeps racing because he was so close to the airport,” Biton said. “I think, ‘What if someone got him and are in a different part of the world?’ There are many reasons why someone would want to keep him. He is well-maintained, he is a rare breed for a service dog, he is very obedient. I just pray that he is with a nice family who doesn’t want to give him back and not anything that will harm him.”
Biton has also spent thousands in advertisement to get the word out about his dog. He is now offering a $20,000 reward for a reliable tip for Golani’s whereabouts.
“The connection and relationship I have with Golani is one in a lifetime,” Biton said. “There will never be another Golani again. He is so understanding. When he looks at my face and look in my eyes, you can tell he is very special and a very unique character he has. It is almost like you need a heart to live or blood in your system to exist. That is how I feel to this dog.”
Biton said though these last few months have been tragic for him, he is thankful for those who have supported him on this journey to find his dog.
“In a way, I should give back to the universe because I received that kind of treatment,” Biton said. “I will also donate for animal shelter. If we find him, we will pay reward and I will have a generous lump some to an animal shelter who helps save other animals.”
In the meantime, Biton is asking anyone with any information to call police or the number listed on the flyers he’s handed out. That number is (210) 383-2404.
“This is the mission of my life is to find him,” Biton said. “When a combat soldier has a mission, it doesn’t back off and I will never back off.”