Community Helps Reunite Lost Dog With Grieving Family After Deadly Crash

An officer from Alabama helped reunite a lost dog with her grieving family after a deadly car crash claimed the life of her owner, 19-year-old McKenzie Catron.

Catron and her friend were driving from Florida to Dothan, Alabama, for spring break when her vehicle ran off the road and struck a pole on Saturday, March 19th. Catron was killed and her passenger was rushed to a local hospital with critical injuries.

Catron’s beloved Pit Bull, Kai, was also in the car when it crashed. Spooked by the accident, Kai instinctively ran away from the wreck.

Sargent Jonathon Whaley was the first to arrive to the scene. As soon as he learned about Kai, he knew that he had to do something to help Catron’s grieving family. “We felt we needed to find the dog,” Whaley told Fox5 Atlanta. “We were going to do whatever we needed to do to reunite this dog with this family.”

Soon, police were joined by hundreds of volunteers from the community in the search to help find Kai.

Kai was not making their job easy. After being spotted multiple times, she found a way to evade the volunteers each time they grew near. Benjamin Irwin, of Cherry & Irwin Trial Lawyers, even offered a $1,000 reward to the individual who finally trapped the terrified dog.

In the end, it was Irwin and his wife who finally saved Kai’s life. In a Facebook post to Kai’s search party page, Help Find Kai, Irwin wrote, “My wife and I, with this wonderful couple Allen and Brittany, pursued Kai for over a mile up and down too many city streets and made multiple attempts to catch Kai, until we finally created a loving wall when she went inside a person’s shelter in their back yard.”

As soon as they had a leash on Kai, Irwin snapped a picture to send to Catron’s family who were waiting anxiously in their home in Arkansas.

Here she is! You guys are so amazing I can’t even believe this right now. I can’t wait to be reunited with her. Dothan…

Posted by We Found Kai on Monday, March 21, 2016

“We are in tears!!!!! It’s KAI!!!!,” Catron’s family announced on Facebook.

We are all in tears!!!! It’s KAI!!!

Posted by We Found Kai on Monday, March 21, 2016

Kai was taken to the vet and, other than being exhausted, dehydrated, and scared, she was in full health.

They gave Kai one of Catron’s shirts so that she could rest. “She knows her mommy’s scent and it put her right at ease.”

She is resting with Kenzie’s shirt. She knows her mommy’s scent and it put her right at ease. God has plans for this…

Posted by We Found Kai on Monday, March 21, 2016

Because Catron’s family was still reeling from the tragic death of their daughter, Sgt. Whaley and his family volunteered to drive the 770 miles to bring Kai home.

Stopping for a bathroom break! Kai is such a sweet girl and is traveling so well.

Posted by We Found Kai on Monday, March 21, 2016

The moment Kai was reunited with her family? Simply amazing.

Kai is home, Kenzie❤️Kai, I am gonna miss you sweet love, but I’m so happy to have helped bring you home!

Posted by Ashtyn Whaley on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Catron’s family was extremely touched by the community of Dothan, Alabama’s efforts and acts of kindness. In an update on Kai’s Facebook page, now renamed “We Found Kai”, the family wrote:

“To the town of Dothan, the Fire department, and the Police department. The parents, sisters, and family of McKenzie Catron want to express how thankful we are for everything you have done and all of your support during this tragic time. Kenzie was loved by many and she will be missed very much. We can’t express in words how much you have helped the healing process.”

To the Catron family, Kai wasn’t just their daughter’s dog. “For us, it was a part of her. And we found it.” Catron’s mother told local news crews. “And now we can kind of start healing.

h/t: Fox5 & KHBS