An 11-year-old diabetic girl from Arkansas was finally reunited with her $20,000 service dog Tuesday night after his trainer stole him.
Alayna Barnes picked up her yellow Labrador retriever Major from Little Rock Airport Tuesday after weeks of being separated.
"It's been a horrible two weeks for our family. Something we never wanna go through again," her mother Amanda Barnes told WFSB.
The family sent Major on a flight to Colorado on July 5 because his trainer, Julie Noyes, was supposed to work with him to improve his alert skills. Once Noyes had him, she refused to give him back. She claimed Major was being abused.
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“There’s no way that you would pay $20,000 for a dog for your child and abuse it in any way,” Amanda Barns said tearfully.
Noyes was arrested in Arvada, Colo., by Jefferson County deputies and charged with felony theft. Back in Arkansas, St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May began working to extradite Noyes, comparing her actions to child abuse.
Diabetes service dogs are capable of alerting a patient or caregiver that blood sugar is low. They can test a person’s breath for low blood sugar and alert others for assistance. They can act as a brace if a person needs support and bring retrieve a cordless phone, medication or sugary juice products when needed.
"He saved me. He helped me. We bonded," Alayna said. "He was my best friend."
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Instead of extraditing Noyes, the family agreed to drop the charges if she simply sent Alayna's beloved service dog home.
"It was just like, oh my goodness he really [is] here," she told WFSB at the airport.
The first stop for Major was the Cross County Veterinary Clinic in Wynne, Ark., for a full checkup.
Image screenshot: KUSA