It’s been about nine months since Alexandra Melnick last saw her beloved service dog, Kai. But thanks to a tip the two are back together again.
Melnick and Kai were separated when the German Shepherd was “possibly stolen” from their Vista, California, backyard, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Melnick, a former Marine, immediately began searching for Kai, who is trained to wake her from nightmares, ease her insomnia and serve as a boundary protector. While deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2011, Melnick suffered an accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Melnick told the newspaper she was devastated after losing her canine companion and rallied two pet detectives, a team of volunteers and more than 12,000 dedicated Facebook fans who shared their leads and photos of possible Kai sightings on her Bring Kai Home page. She also set up a GoFundMe page, which to date has raised more than $6,000.
On Aug. 31, a tip Melnick reportedly received from Facebook that led her to a home in Aubrey, Texas, about an hour north of Dallas. She immediately caught a flight, and despite the dog being what Melnick described as “flea-infested to the point he was going completely bald in many places with open sores” she knew she’d found her beloved Kai whom she bought at 12 weeks old in 2013.
After local law enforcement confirmed the missing dog report, animal control officers on Sept. 2 seized Kai. Following a property hearing in Texas today, a judge determined Melnick was, in fact, Kai’s owner.
“This morning, the judge ruled that Kai is to come back home to California with me,” wrote on her Facebook page.
According to officials, an investigation is now under way.