Valley Veteran Suffering from PTSD Searching for ‘Stolen’ Co

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PHARR – A Rio Grande Valley veteran who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is desperately searching for his missing comfort pet.

Alex Aranda is one of the thousands of Valley veterans who are struggling with the condition. He relies on his dog “Wheezle” for comfort. Wheezle went missing last week.

“To me, he’s a coping partner. You know what I mean?" said Aranda. "He's not just a dog to pet or an animal just to have around the house. To me this guy means life."

Aranda tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS someone lured his comfort dog out of his house while he was away. He reported his stolen dog to the Pharr Police Department.

"They stole him so that really, really hurts me. It's just a sick feeling inside that somebody would do that," said Aranda.

He spent more than a decade in the Army. He's haunted by what he witnessed. Aranda relives those moments of crisis years after his service. Sometimes the only reprieve he needs is time with Wheezle.

"I was talking to my doctor the other day at the VA. And she said you know keep with your pets and let them make you feel comfortable and a lot of times they're better than medication."

For him, that's not an option. He is fighting to ease his symptoms and doesn't want to rely only on medication.

Aranda's asking his neighbors for help. Driving down Sam Houston Blvd. in Pharr you may notice the veteran's plea for assistance.

"I put up a sign over there," said Aranda. "It says please help me find my friend."

The sign sits beneath a sign of distress – an American flag turned upside down.

"Believe me, I'm in need of help," said Aranda.

He hopes help will reunite him with his constant companion.


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