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Mar 26, 2016
An Officer and a Gentleman and a Dog: So Sorry for the Loss of Your Daughter
An officer from Alabama trekked all the way to Arkansas to reunite a grieving family with their dead family member's beloved dog. McKenzie Catron, 19, died in a car crash last weekend in Dothan, AL while on spring break. Her car ran off the road and struck a utility pole. The passenger in Catron's car was critically injured, but survived. Catron did not. Sgt. Jonathon Whaley was the first on the scene, according to KHBS. As Catron's passenger was rushed to the hospital, witnesses told Whaley about the dog seen running from the wreck.jonathon Whaley,
"We felt we needed to find the dog," Sgt. Whaley told Fox 5 Atlanta. "We were going to do whatever we needed to do to reunite this dog with this family."
Police officers, firemen and, eventually, hundreds of local volunteers combed the area looking for Kai, Catron's pit bull. A Facebook group was started to help coordinate search efforts. People began scouring the area and posting posters alerting people to the missing dog. A local law firm, Cherry & Irwin Trial Lawyers, put up a $1,000 reward. It was Benjamin Irwin, one of the lawyers who fronted the reward money, who eventually found Kai. Kai didn't come quietly however. It took Irwin and eight other volunteers chasing the pit down side streets and into yards before they cornered her and could grab Kai's collar.
"I just know if I were them I would want the last tangible thing of someone I loved," Irwin told Fox 5. He plans on donating the reward money to the shelter Kai was adopted from. Once Kai was found Whaley packed his family up and drove the to Bentonville, AK. Catron's family were amazed by the town's act of generosity. Kendra Mulherin, Catron's mother, told reporters that the dog's presence would help the family heal after this tragedy.
"For us, it was just a part of her. And we found it. And now we can kind of start healing," Mulherin told KHBS. Police are still investigating the cause of the crash. The passenger in the crash remains hospitalized.