VINEYARD — At the Arballo home, things have felt a bit empty these days after Jason Arballo. a Coast Guard veteran, was injured in the line of duty.
“I was pulling a victim out of the water during some heavy seas and big swells of 15 to 20 feet came up and hit our vessel,” Arballo said.
He suffered a traumatic brain injury and now relies on his service dog Murphy.
“She is a huge asset for me,” he said. “A huge tool and comfort for me as well.”
On the day after Christmas, while leaving a nearby store, Arballo thought Murphy was gone forever. He had put her in the back of his truck, but when he got home Murphy wasn't there.
Arballo and his family spent days searching, passing out fliers and taking to social media to spread the word.
“We were just broken,” he said. “It’s just hard not knowing what happened.”
On Tuesday, a man working construction on a nearby storage facility about 2 miles away from the Arballo home found a dog matching Murphy’s description.
“We received literally 200 messages just like this claiming our dog was found," Arballo said. "But he sends a picture, and I just jumped up and went out the door."
Arballo got Murphy and rushed her to the veterinarian’s office, who said he was "very surprised" the dog was still alive.
The vet told Arballo that Murphy suffered injuries related to either jumping or falling out of the moving truck. But, despite spending nearly six full days outside in frigid temperatures, Murphy is expected to make a full recovery. And the entire Arballo family is grateful for the outpouring of support.
“It was literally the whole state,” he said. “We have received so many responses and people volunteering to help.
The man who found Murphy refused the $1,000 reward. “We really tried to get him to take it,” Arballo said.
Now, the dog who is so used to serving her owner will be on the receiving side for a while.
“Maybe she has her own battle story and battle wounds now,” he said. “It’s a good way to start out the new 2019 year.”
Arballo plans to never let Murphy ride in the back of the pick-up truck again.