04/20/08 — Beny is back home again

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Beny is back home again

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 20, 2008 2:00 AM

Within a few hours of word getting out about a missing airman named Beny, 4th Fighter Wing Staff Sgt. Jamie Emerson was in tears.

She got a call Friday afternoon from a woman who claimed to have found her retired military working dog -- missing since April 5.

Only the woman wasn't calling from down the street.

In fact, for the past 10 days, Beny has been living dozens of miles east -- in Kinston.

"It was a mother and her son. They were really nice people," Staff Sgt. Emerson said. "They said Beny just wandered into their yard."

He showed up April 7, the woman told the Air Force handler, two days after the German shepherd "disappeared into thin air" from her home near the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Oak Forest gate.

When the woman noticed the dog's military-issued tattoo, she put an advertisement in the Kinston newspaper.

More than a week went by.

No inquiries had been made about the dog.

But then the woman got a call about a story in Friday's News-Argus. She contacted Staff Sgt. Emerson and ultimately, Beny's tattoo made a positive identification possible.

It is still unclear how the German shepherd made it all the way to Kinston.

"It's pretty far away," Staff Sgt. Emerson said. "But I guess in two days, he could have covered that kind of ground if he wanted to."

But the handler and veteran says the "what" and "how" don't even matter.

Not now that Beny's home.

"I still have no idea what happened but it really doesn't matter anymore," Staff Sgt. Emerson said. "This is just such a miracle. He's home."