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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A disabled Vietnam Veteran says his dog and emotional support animal was stolen from his truck during a visit to the Memphis VA Medical Center earlier this month.

Clifton Dates said he is lost without the pomeranian named Chan and is asking the person who took the dog to give him back.

“I suffer from PTSD. He calms me,” said Dates. “He’s my constant companion.”

Dates said he left the six-year-old pom inside his truck with the windows partially down because he thought he would only be there for a few minutes.

“It was 83 degrees inside the truck,” Dates said.

He said the appointment took much longer than he expected, and Chan was gone when he got back to his vehicle.

“They took the collar off him. It was on the front seat,” said Dates.

Security officers at the VA said they received a complaint on June 1 about a dog left in a vehicle in their lot, paged Dates, and went to another call because the dog appeared to be okay.

Memphis police said it’s possible the dog was removed from the truck by a Good Samaritan for its own safety.

Memphis Animal Services doesn’t recommend you steal a pet left in a car, but rather do whatever you can to find the owner, and if that doesn’t work, call police.

“Tennessee Law allows them to break the window if an animal’s life is in danger,” said MAS Director Alexis Pugh.

Pugh said during the summer months, it doesn’t take long for a vehicle to get dangerously hot, and minutes matter.

“When we look at the temperature of even 85 degrees, the interior temp of that car can go up 20 degrees in twenty minutes to above 100. Give it thirty minutes, and you could be looking at 120 degrees,” said Pugh. “That’s just 85 degrees. This week it is much hotter.”

Dates said his dog is microchipped and he is offering a $500 reward for his return.

If you have seen the dog, call (901) 340-5261.

If you spot an animal left in a hot car, call (901)-545-COPS.