ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – What began as a desperate plea from a retired marine searching for her missing service dog took a positive turn. Samantha Melchor has been reunited with her service dog of two years, Mars.

He went missing when an insurance adjuster left the gate open at Melchor’s new home. Mars and Melchor’s other dog, Molly, wandered off and while Molly was found hours later, Mars was missing for two days. Two of the hardest her owner had faced in a very long time.

“I haven’t been doing good, I haven’t been sleeping, I haven’t been eating. He’s more than my best friend. I depend on that dog for everything. I can’t leave the room without him following me, I take him to events. He’s my baby,” Melchor said before Mars was found.

She and her family scoured the streets, the shelters and the internet tirelessly. After two days, hope began to run thin that she would ever see her best friend again.

“I don’t care if you stole him or whatever. A reward and no questions asked. I just want him back,” said Melchor.

On Friday, as she and her sister rode around Abilene distributing fliers, a woman approached with questions that would lead to their reunion.

“This lovely homeless lady stopped us and was like ‘Hey are you looking for a dog?’ Yes. ‘Is he a German Shepherd?’ Yes. ‘Does he have a pink collar?’ Yes.” Melchor recalled.

Each question restored hope and their reunion was one for the scrap book.

Samantha Melchor reunited with Mars

“When I saw him, I knew it was him and I was so happy. I definitely cried a lot,” Melchor expressed.

Mars had been taken in by a tire shop owner and taken care of. In return, Melchor asked what they wanted and gave the tire shop owner a full tank of gas. She also asked the woman that led them there what she would like in return for her help.

“She said she needed some dog food and bologna, so we went and got her a bunch of bologna and bread and dog food and snacks and dog treats,” Melchor said.

Melchor joined the Marine Corps in 2018. In 2019, she was medically retired after a two to three story fall that left her needing surgery. She got Mars as a pup and trained him up as a service dog, to help her navigate life diagnosed with anxiety, depression, insomnia and PTSD.

Melchor smiles watching dogs Molly and Mars play

“Our connection is very deep. So just getting him back is probably the best day I’ve had in years… It takes a huge weight off my chest. I feel like I can breathe again,” Melchor said in relief.

A heartwarming end to her search, but not the end of the story. While looking for Mars, Melchor found another German Shepherd. A pup about one year old that she has taken in, now looking for his owners in hopes of giving them the same happy ending.

“That love is something that can just break you if it’s taken away… I would love to be able to do this in return,” Melchor said.

Anyone with information that could lead to finding the pups family can call Melchor at (325) 668-1060 or (325) 672-5084. She estimates he is about one year old and around 100 pounds.