ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Seeing a stray dog roam around happens pretty often, but what about seeing a dog roam on a military base? One pup named Maverick has been roaming on and near the Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) and the Hampton Hills neighborhood for years now, capturing the hearts of military personnel and nearby residents.

Tammie Wright used to live by the air force base and told KTAB/KRBC Maverick is a very athletic and sneaky dog, “He sneaks on base, too, but that’s a secret. But people on the air base know him, too.”

Since 2016, Maverick has been spotted exploring the area, although no one knows for sure how he ended up there. Some say he was left behind by an owner who moved away when he was a young pup. Although he is technically a stray, Wright said he quickly became a community pet, and said she was one of the first to gain his trust.

“We all would follow him around, ‘did you feed him or did you see him today?’ Taking care of him for all seasons of the weather,” Wright said.

Hampton Hills resident, Jerry Hollingsworth said when he moved to the neighborhood just adjacent to Dyess AFB in 2016, he played a key role in naming the iconic stray. We use the term “iconic” very loosely here.

“I gave him his name and named him after the Dallas Mavericks,” boasted Hollingsworth, including that the dog acts like a mav. “Every morning, I’d wake up at 5:00 to run, and he’d run with me.”

But Maverick’s life took a turn when he was caught by animal control. Those who knew and loved him were in shock, as KTAB/KRBC was told, but only because he is a very fast dog who is not easy to catch.

Hampton Hills resident and Dyess security officer for Aero Simulation, Inc at B-1 Simulators, Renate Beasley said as the years went on, Maverick had become a rather friendly dog.

“I think, because he’s learned to trust humans again, and that’s why they were able to get close to him,” Beasley speculated.

Stepping in and deciding to adopt Maverick, Beasley gave him a forever home, after he chose hers as his.

“We tried to get him in the house, and he wouldn’t come. Then, one day, my husband opened up the door and he shot in and just collapse on the tile floor, and I swear you could hear a sizzle when he laid down,” described Beasley.

Everyone at Maverick’s adoption celebration shared a unique story about the cherished canine, even retired Air Force Veteran Drew Sawyer.

“My dog loves him. I have an 8-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, we always go looking for Maverick,” Sawyer shared.

Sawyer lives in the Hampton Hills neighborhood with his wife Tammy and said they know first-hand how important dogs are for people.

“He helps us with the coyotes when we have coyote problems; Maverick’s the one that gets it done, and that’s why we are so indebted to him and we love him to death, because he just makes everybody’s heart sink,” gushed Sawyer.

Beasley said she is thankful Maverick’s journey of being a stray is finally over, “I would say honorary Veteran status. If anybody has PTSD, go and get some lovin’ from him, and he’s definitely a service animal.”

Assuring others he will remain the community pet, the Beasleys made a GoFundMe and raised more than $500 to give back to shelter animals, encouraging all to adopt and foster to help other animals like Maverick.