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Oceanside veteran searches Coachella Valley for missing service dog

For pet owners, like Alexandra Melnick, it was a suspenseful wait outside of the Riverside County Animal Shelter Thursday. Melnick, a Marine veteran, drove two hours to Thousand Palms to see for herself if her beloved German Shepard, Kai, was inside.

“I’m so nervous,” Melnick said. “He helps with my PTSD. It’s been really difficult without him.”

The 1 1/2-year-old puppy disappeared from her home in Vista, near Oceanside, the day after Thanksgiving. The search intensified with hundreds of posters and a Bring Kai Home Facebook page that led the Marine to a lost German Shepard in the Coachella Valley.

“Everyone wants it to be him. Eyes, toes and paws crossed,” said Melnick.

We followed along to catch her hopeful reunion with her service dog. Melnick was certain it was Kai because the shelter dog had many similar traits. After a few minutes together, Melnick noticed some obvious differences that left her disappointed.

“It really looked like him and it’s not. I’m glad I came to check for myself. I would’ve always been wondering,” said Melnick.

Melnick went home without Kai Thursday, but as the search for him continues, she hopes to help other dogs find their way home.

“If I can help even find one dog find its home and find my dog, I think this would all be worth it. I have to keep going,” said Melnick.

To report or search lost or found dogs in the Coachella Valley, go to

KESQ News Team


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