RILEY COUNTY, Kansas -- A soldier finally reunites with his dog after someone stole the dog out of his yard.
Army Master Sergeant Paul Brightwell was about to be sent home from Iraq when he bought a puppy about five years ago.
"I'd been wanting a bulldog for a long time, and I did a lot of research,” he said.
Brightwell bought the puppy online and had the dog waiting for him when he got home. But three years later, the dog was stolen in Oklahoma.
"Someone backed up to our fence and knocked the privacy fence over and took him out of our yard,” he said.
Brightwell said a number of other purebred dogs were stolen that week. His town had been hit hard. He said he didn’t think he’d ever see Maximus again.
"I had about 130 guys that I work without looking for him for pretty much all of about three weeks. We had signs posted up everywhere,” he said.
Two years later, the Army Sergeant was working in Kansas at Fort Riley. He got a call.
His dog was found wandering the streets in Kansas City – identified by microchip. The long-awaited reunion was captured on a cell phone.
It was a heartfelt reunion that’s been seen about 500,000 times on YouTube.
Two years later, Maximus still knows where home is.
"He sleeps with my son, every night, so my son was glad to get him back,” Brightwell said.