Overwhelming support for soldier whose dog was shot

PORTLAND, Ore. - Less than 24 hours after we first told you about a wounded soldier's companion dog that was shot, our viewers have donated more than $11,600 to cover the pup's veterinarian bills.

Luke Hunt is an Army veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury three years ago in Afghanistan. He relies on his dog Pepper to help him cope.

"It's weird to say this and I know my family understands this when I say this but she can't talk back, and she just lays there and listens to me," Hunt told us on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Hunt found Pepper bleeding; somebody had shot the dog. The veterinarian said Hunt had two choices: a $7,000 surgery to fix the leg or have it amputated.

Audra Murphy knew she had to help her friend raise money for the surgery.

"They have just a beautiful life and to kind of dampen it right now is difficult," Murphy said. "But they're staying happy and positive and making the best of the situation. A lot of people could learn from that."

After our story first aired, she opened a Go Fund Me page to raise money that will cover that vet bill.

The response was overwhelming in just the first few hours. Total strangers logged on in droves to donate.

"There's a lot of other people who have had losses or the use of a service animal, and they value that," Murphy said. "They understand how much in need Luke is right now and how much he's in need of his companion, but now his companion needs him."

Pepper is scheduled to go into surgery on Friday.

Murphy said Hunt and his family truly appreciated the reaction from total strangers.

"They want to make sure that when they have the opportunity that they can do the same thing and basically pay it forward," she said. "So just thank you."

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office investigators say they are still searching for the person who shot Pepper.