Jim Martin, 80, just wants his pal Olaf back.
But a Texas dog rescue organization got a hold of him before Martin could find him when the West Highlands terrier went missing on July 20.
Now Martin is locked in a battle that will likely be fought in court with Lone Star Westie Rescue, the same organization from which he adopted Olaf four years ago, as reported first by Spectrum News.
“Olaf was very good about taking his snout and going ‘boop,’ and pushing [the door] open,” Martin told the station. “I’ve had a pretty good life. I’d like to get my dog back, though. If you know of him and you have any influence with these people, tell them to send him home. I want him back.”
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He was loading some things into his car on July 20 when Olaf got out of the house and disappeared, according to KENS.
The people who found Olaf were unable to get in touch with Martin, but they did get in touch with Lone Star, which said in a news release that Martin broke the adoption contract he agreed to four years ago. Officials at the dog rescue organization say Olaf exhibited signs of a skin infection and both eye and ear infections when he was brought back into their care.
Lone Star says that Olaf was found several miles from Martin’s home on a 106-degree summer day — “underweight, flea-ridden,” according to the release.
“We determined it was in Olaf’s best interest to remove him from his owner’s custody pursuant to the Lone Star Westie Rescue Adoption Agreement which the owner signed on May 6, 2014,” the release states.
Martin adopted Olaf from Lone Star’s location in Carrolton, Texas, near Dallas.
But Martin’s vet has signed a letter attesting to Martin’s care for the dog, calling Olaf’s health issues “chronic and ongoing.”
“Jim is a model pet caregiver,” Larry Wood wrote in the letter. “I wish all pet caregivers were as conscientious as he is in his care of Olaf.”
Friends and neighbors are lining up alongside Martin in the battle over Olaf, according to the station. The retired Army Lt. Col. has no family, they say, and Olaf offered Martin a huge level of emotional support.
A GoFundMe campaign in Martin’s name had raised more than its $500 goal for legal expenses before Rapier stepped in on his behalf.