La Vernia family desperate for return of missing service dog for daughter with Down syndrome

Among many things, Blade helped Katelyn Bovaird with stability after she underwent major hip surgeries

La Vernia – A La Vernia family is leaning on the community for help to find their daughter’s missing service dog named Blade.

Katelyn Bovaird, 16, has Down syndrome and has required a service dog for the past few years due to having major reconstructive surgeries in both of her hips.

“She is a miracle child,” said Pam Bovaird, her mother. “She was a gift from God. We tried for five years and we finally had her. She has faced challenge after challenge, including respiratory illnesses, but she is so friendly with everyone she meets.”

Katelyn is like any other teenager.

“She lives her life like a normal developing child,” said Bovaird. “She is in her teens so she can’t leave the house until she has her makeup on, hair fixed, and her jewelry with her.”

“I love to dance,” said Katelyn. “I love to dance to, ‘What Does the Fox Say.’”

Katelyn has been filled with joy, but for the past month and a half, her life has been filled with sadness.

“Just to give you a little backstory, when she started having hip reconstructing surgery, she needed a service dog to offer support and stability and to be able to open and close doors,” Bovaird said. “Frost was her original service dog, but we came home Oct. 31, and he suddenly passed away. An autopsy said his stomach was twisted. In the meantime, we had Blade and started training him to take the place of Frost.”

Blade is an English Cream Golden Retriever that is now a year old since he disappeared November 28 from their home in the 100 block of Westfield Landing.

“We moved from Cibolo to La Vernia Nov. 27 and the next day, there was a pretty big rainstorm,” Bovaird said. “We didn’t have our back fence up yet but was working on installing one. My husband went to take Blade and one of our other dogs to the bathroom when he took off running because of the thunder. My husband called me and said, ‘Oh m goodness, I can’t find Blade! He’s gone!’”

The family and even the entire neighborhood began searching for Blade but never found him.

“Since that evening, there have been no sightings of Blade,” Bovaird said. “We have gotten a lot of people mistaking him for a great Pyrenees.”

She said it has been an emotional rollercoaster for Katelyn.

“She gets so excited when we get tips on him and we get in the car to follow up on leads, but then when we don’t find him, it is devastating for her,” Bovaird said. “It has been traumatic, and it is hard for us to help her understand and explain to her. For Katelyn, she asks me every day if he is in heaven and so for her, in her mind, she can’t wrap around the idea that somebody probably has him and doesn’t want to give him back because he is so beautiful.”

When Blade ran away, Bovaird said he was wearing a very unique collar.

“His collar was white with an American flag on it and it was made of a rubber-like material with my name and number engraved into it,” Bovaird said. “It buckled like a belt and it had a tag that identified him as a service dog. If he was picked up, someone would have had to remove that tag and collar. He couldn’t slip out of it.”

She said Blade not only helped Katelyn physically, but emotionally as well.

“He would step up against that leg to offer stability so that she didn’t fall and then to picking up things and handing them to her, so she doesn’t have to bend over so she doesn’t lose her balance,’ Bovaird said. “She has a high degree of anxiety and fear and that goes along with special needs. They like to have everything the same. They don’t like change. Blade was her emotional support and ever since he left, her doctor has had to increase her depression medication.”

Katelyn’s family, friends, neighbors and even first responders have stepped up with being on the lookout for Blade.

A non-profit organization called, “The Dude” raised $2,000 for reward money for Blade’s safe return.

“Our hope is that maybe someone didn’t realize that he was our dog and maybe through seeing this they will realize how important it is that they get him back to Katelyn because he is irreplaceable,” Bovaird said. “I just would ask that they please would just take a look at Katelyn and understand that she loves this dog and that he really needs to come back home to us.”

If you have any information that can help the family find Blade, you can call them at these numbers: 210-617-0552 and 210-617-0643.

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About the Authors

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.

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