KINGSVILLE, TEXAS -- A U.S. Border Patrol agent and former Harrisburg resident whose retired K9 partner disappeared on New Year's Eve is overjoyed to have his dog back.
Brian Buchanan was a dog handler for years with the Border Patrol in south Texas. When his K9 partner "Endy" was retired, Buchanan and his family adopted him.
Endy and the Buchanans were living a peaceful life until New Year's Eve 2018, when Endy disappeared.
Thinking his dog likely was frightened by fireworks that the neighbors were shooting off, Buchanan began to search, without any luck.
A short time later, he found a couple photos of Endy posted by different people associated with Kingsville's local animal shelter.
However, when he reached out to those people, he was rebuffed and told the dog in the photos was not his.
While he continued to try to find Endy's whereabouts, he was continually told by nearly every person he talked to that he was mistaken.
Endy, a Belgian Malinois, is a breed of dog used almost exclusively by law enforcement.
On Jan. 5, Buchanan learned that despite his insistence that Endy was his, the dog had been turned over to American Belgian Malinois Rescue, a group purportedly dedicated to finding homes for rescued dogs of that breed.
Like his experience with the Kingsville animal shelter, Buchanan was told by ABMR members that he was mistaken and that the dog was not Endy.
After he sent dental records showing Endy's history to a veterinarian who examined the dog for ABMR, Buchanan knew he would have Endy back a short time later, he said. The records showed thousands of dollars' worth of dental work U.S. Border Patrol had spent on Endy and were a unique identifier.
Buchanan, however, was stunned when ABMR kept finding a reason not to return Endy.
"They were refusing to give him back, and their story kept changing why they wouldn't give him back," Buchanan said. "First, they said he wasn't my dog. Then they said he was neglected, and that he was overweight."
He sought legal means to have Endy returned, and eventually a judge ordered ABMR to return Endy to Buchanan, and the dog was brought back from San Antonio to Kingsville.
Members of the American Belgian Malinois Rescue did not respond to requests for comment.
Buchanan and Endy was reunited earlier this month.
"We were at the vet's office where we were supposed to meet, and I was setting up a GoPro to record it. I saw him walking across the parking lot and yelled, 'Endy!' I swear he just about broke his neck looking to see who had called his name," Buchanan said.
Buchanan and his sons went up to Endy, who seemed a little unsure for a brief moment. Then, it all seemed to come back to him, Buchanan said.
"He pretty much put his whole body against me," he said. "He was excited."
The rescue group had claimed Endy was overweight, but when he came home he was bigger than ever, Buchanan said.
"The funny thing is, he's fatter now than he ever was," Buchanan said. "He looks like a freaking bear."
Endy now has a change of diet and a plan for getting him back to a healthy weight.
Buchanan said he's thankful for the work of the Retired Police Canine Foundation and its director Richard Geraci for helping to publicize Endy's plight. RPCF also is helping provide for the retired canine's care.
Meanwhile, Buchanan said he doesn't know why it took so long for Endy to be returned, although he estimates that a trained working dog like him would be worth about $9,000.
Now, though, Endy is becoming an indoor/outdoor dog after having spent most of his life outdoors in a fenced yard.
"We built a big house, and there's plenty of room, but he prefers being outside. We liked to never get him in the house at first," he said.
He also said he wanted to recognize Geraci for his efforts, plus former Harrisburg native Kris Nelson, who put him in touch with Geraci.
He also thanked his attorney Rodney Sipes, people who supported Buchanan in getting Endy back and media outlets for telling his story.
Geraci, the RPCF director, said a positive result has come from Endy's story.
The group is working with other people who had similar experiences to promote legislation in Texas mandating microchip scanning of pets when they come to an animal shelter or rescue.
In addition, his organization has pledged to maintain registration of microchipped police dogs for life.