Alexandra Melnick can’t stop kissing her German shepherd service dog Kai. There are a lot of kisses to make up for.
They have been apart more than nine months, after he was stolen from her Vista home.
Melnick said it was a group of women called Team Kai who tracked the dog down via social media, which eventually led deputies to a remote country property in Texas.
Wednesday evening, Kai was wearing his service dog vest and lying at Melnick’s feet inside a North County Starbucks.
“This is his first day, actually, out in public, his very first day, so we ran some errands this morning, his sweeties, so he’s just getting used to everything,” Melnick said.
Melnick is a Marine who served in Afghanistan. She has PTSD.
At first, she was not sure how Kai went missing from her home. Now, she knows he was stolen.
“We have a doggy door and so he’s an indoor dog so he was taken from my property, not just backyard, but my actual home,” Melnick said.
She blanketed the area, and internet, with missing posters. Enter Team Kai.
“I didn’t know them at all,” Melnick said.
Team Kai turned out to be a group of compassionate women, strangers turned friends, turned online super-sleuths.
Melnick said she cannot talk specifically about the case, or the suspect.
“All I can say is that they were able to locate something on social media that, in turn, led to this crazy chain of events where we found him in Texas,” Melnick said.
Deputies found Kai at a remote country property in the town of Aubrey.
“That explains why he wasn’t found because he was in a small town in Texas with no neighbors that could see him,” Melnick said.
Kai was positively identified through his microchip.
Melnick suspects Kai was abused.
She hopes the people responsible are brought to justice.
“He has some bumps and some scarring on his nose that looks like somebody hit him,” Melnick said.
Kai is thin, is losing hair in spots and was infested with fleas when he was found.
“He’s definitely nervous. He’s definitely stressed,” Melnick said.
But he is still well-behaved. She will re-train him a bit. But the most important thing is he is home.
San Marcos raw dog food company Soul’y Raw is donating food for Kai so he can regain his health.
“People care and it’s so nice and refreshing, and I’m so glad we have a happy ending to this story,” Melnick said.
Melnick wants to pay it forward.
She aims to help other dog owners find their missing dogs by posting their photos and information to Kai’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/bringkaihome28