VISTA (CNS) - A Marine veteran was scheduled to arrive home Wednesday night with her service dog, which was taken from her Vista home late last year and found about 1,400 miles away in Texas.
Alexandra Melnick's black and tan German shepherd, named Kai, disappeared from her secured backyard on Dec. 10, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Melnick told the San Diego Union-Tribune she suffered a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder from an accident that occurred while she was working in motor transport in Afghanistan. She said she bought Kai after getting out of the Marine Corps and had him trained to help her sleep and wake her when she has nightmares.
The trained and certified service dog is valued at $15,000, authorities said.
A tip submitted via a Facebook page set up to help locate Kai said the dog had been spotted in Aubrey, Texas.
Melnick subsequently flew to Texas and contacted a Denton County constable in an effort to get her dog back, according to a sheriff's statement.
Law enforcement and animal control officers found the German shepherd at a residence last week, and a microchip confirmed that it was indeed Kai.
Melnick told reporters the ordeal took a toll on her dog's health.
Sheriff's officials indicated a dognapping suspect has been identified, but declined to release further information.