CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A special dog who won the hearts of everyone at the Charlotte Animal Care and Control has battled back from abuse, surgery and rehab.

On Wednesday night, the dog finally has a "forever home." NBC Charlotte first told the story of Kai back in January.

Kai is an Australian Shepard mix who wound up at Animal Care and Control and who was later fostered by the Greater Charlotte Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

When Kai first arrived at the shelter, there was some concern that he would not survive because of malnourishment and his other injuries, but there was something about the dog that touched everyone who wanted to help him.

But the challenge was coming up with $4,000 to pay for expensive surgery on his hind legs to cure a form a hip dysplasia.

After NBC Charlotte told Kai’s story, over $7,000 was donated by viewers who wanted to help, more than enough to pay for the surgery.

After months of rehab, that included sessions in a water-filled tub, Kai was placed for adoption and a young college student, Kaci Collins, saw his picture.

Whatever the magic of Kai is, it worked again and Collins rushed to adopt him.

Asked what that magic is, Collins said, “Even though he had so much negative attention, he still wants to be loved.”

Collins knows Kai will continue to need weekly therapy sessions and the road ahead will be long, but she says Kai means everything to her and her family.

“It's nice to be able to take him and give him a home. It just feels good because he deserves a lot,” she said.