NBC is reporting that Alexandra Melnick, whose one-year-old German Shepherd named Kai vanished from her home near San Diego, California, in December, 2014, was recently located in the small town of Aubrey, Texas. The story of the missing canine took over many social media outlets, and today, Ms. Melnick just released the information on her Bring Kai Home Facebook page that, in fact, Kai has been released to her custody. “This morning, the judge ruled that Kai is to come back home to California with me. I feel beyond blessed to have my baby boy home.”
Ms. Melnick had been searching for her dog since a few days after Thanksgiving, when Kai disappeared from a secured backyard while she was visiting her parents in Vista, California. The Marine Corps vet, who is living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), was desperate to find Kai. The 90-pound dog helped Ms. Melnick live with her condition, and losing him turned her life upside-down. She spent months putting up more than 500 flyers in and around her Vista home, in Oceanside and in the Camp Pendleton area. She despaired that her black-and-tan, microchipped buddy was gone.
Melnick refused to believe that the dog had jumped the fence, or dug out from under it, and convinced authorities that the dog had been stolen. At that time, she stated, “he was never used for the military, but helps me as a service dog, and I would really like for him to come home.” Melnick also feared for his safety, adding Kai is friendly and well-trained. There was a $5000 reward offered on Twitter for his safe return. A GoFundMe account was established to raise funds to help Ms. Melnick, with more than $6000 raised by strangers to help pay any travel or legal fees need to help reunite the veteran with her canine companion. Ms. Melnick is extremely thankful for all the donations and the unending kindness of strangers.
On August 31, her life finally turned right-side up, when a tip came in to Ms. Melnick that a dog with Kai’s microchip identification had been located in Aubrey. Ms. Melnick hopped the next plane from San Diego to Texas. When she arrived on the scene, she confirmed Kai’s identity. For a few weeks, Kai was under the care of that state’s Animal Control officials because, though they were informed about the truth of the situation, the family who had him did not want to let him go. For anyone concerned about keeping him in Animal Control, Ms. Melnick writes, “They have a beautiful facility and spoiled him for me while I’ve waited.”
A suspect in the theft has been identified, but remains unnamed, as the case is still under investigation. The people in whose care Kai was found stated that they had no idea that they were in possession of stolen property, necessitating the need to hold a property hearing in a Texas court.
This hearing initially raised some unanswered questions, since the microchip clearly identified the dog as belonging to Ms. Melnick. Facebook comments reflected the same concerns, with comments ranging from, “How in the world can they have a property hearing for ownership when her service dog was reported stolen!” to “Good luck marine! Hope you and your pup are reunited!”
Ms. Melnick assures fans of Kai that, “the Denton County (Texas) dispatch, deputies, constables, ACOs and clerks were extremely patient, understanding, and worked on this more than I expected, they wanted to make sure I got him back legally and wouldn’t have any issues down the line. We feared him being moved again before the hearing.”
Kai’s health suffered immensely in the time he was missing, becoming infested with fleas, which caused him to lose fur and have open sores. He has also developed some trust issues, cowering if someone moves too quickly towards him. He also has scars on his body and nose, possibly from being beaten or physically abused. For all these reasons, and more, Ms. Melnick is “focusing on his health right now” and hopes that his thousands of followers understand that she may remain silent till Kai is happy and whole, promising to release a video which will answer any remaining questions.
Welcome home, Kai. You’re back in Alexandra’s arms once again.