RESTON, Va. — A heart-broken U.S. Marine is desperately seeking the beautiful Siberian Husky he left behind while deployed overseas to West Africa.
Sgt. Nathan Jumaili left Sasha with a friend. That friend had a crisis, and gave the dog to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. The shelter then gave her to someone else -- who remains anonymous.
Jumaili said he just wants to see Sasha again.
The Marine is now left with just pictures, videos, and a tattoo on his shoulder of the dog he says was the love of his life.
"I couldn't ask for a better friend than her as my companion," he said.
Jumaili paid a neighbor to care for then one-year-old Sasha while he was deployed overseas for a year, including in war-torn Burkina Faso. He was hoping she'd help him deal with the stress when he got back.
"It was going to be the best thing I could hope for after that last tour," he said. "It was what I was looking forward to after that last deployment."
The neighbor now admits he had a financial and addiction crisis. While Jumaili was overseas, he took Sasha to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. The shelter spayed her and gave her to someone else.
"It's like somebody stealing a car," Ashton Ritter, who runs a Facebook site to help find lost dogs. "If you sell it to somebody else, and the police find it, ultimately your property is going to be returned to you."
Ritter has been trying to help Jumaili.
The shelter responded to Jumaili's pleading emails from overseas with a note saying there was nothing else it could do.
When the story blew up on Facebook, the shelter wrote that it had reached out to Sasha's adopters and she doing well and is very well loved. They wish to have their privacy respected.
"I just want to know she's okay," Jumaili said. That "she's happy. And maybe I could come see her," he said.
Jumaili said he wants Sasha to know he's still here, that he didn't abandon her and that she's still the love of his life.
In a statement to WUSA9, the shelter said the neighbor who gave them Sasha signed a contract affirming that he was her rightful owner.