Sure enough, in front of the lead vehicle a black dog, with
its tongue lolling from its mouth and head bleeding badly, was
stumbling along the dark, unlit road.
“Should we help them?” I asked as I anxiously looked out the
windshield and passenger window, straining for another glimpse
of the injured dog.“I think we should,” my friend answered.
“After all, if it were my dog, I would want people to stop and
help me rescue him.”
We added our car to the rescue caravan, and joined the other
three in an effort to corner the dog with our respective vehicles.
However the dog, already panicked, veered off into the deep
bush lining the road. The drivers in front of us pulled over
onto the narrow grassy shoulder between the road and the bush,
their cars jutting dangerously into the lane. We followed suit
and parked with the car’s highlights angled to shed some light
into the thick bushes. We hopped out of the car and joined the
other rescuers: two couples, one in their mid-60s, the other
in their mid-30s. They were already out of their cars, tromping
through the muddy terrain, whistling and calling into the darkness
for the dog.
In slippers, I gingerly stepped into the bushes, hoping that
I wasn’t stepping on anything too icky. In front of me, the
younger of the two women walked confidently through the mud
and overgrown grass in black heels, calling for the dog to come.
Her husband, already so deep into the kiawe trees that I could
no longer see him, was calling out to the rest of us, asking
if anyone had a flashlight. No one did; without a light the
search seemed hopeless.
“It’s such a shame,” the older woman said. “It looked like
such a pretty dog.” Cautiously, she walked into the trees, still
calling for the dog.
My friend, looking dejected, called out for the dog as well.
The mosquitoes had zeroed in on me, so I started back to the
car. The older man was still calling out for the dog.
He found a flashlight and was able to locate the dog, and goad
her out of the brush and back onto the shoulder of the road.
Waiting by my car, I saw the dog emerge about 20 feet in front
“There she is!” I cried and started chasing after her. My friend
ran out to the car, and ran past me so the two of us could corner
the dog. The younger of the two men followed after us, and we
finally had the dog cornered between the three of us and an
overgrown hau bush.
“It’s okay, don’t run, we aren’t going to hurt you,” I cooed,
trying to calm the animal. But it didn’t work, and the dog took
off into the hau. My friend and the man scrambled up the hill
after the dog—and finally caught her. The man, cradling the
bloody dog in his arms, slid down the hill sitting, using his
feet to break the branches of the bushes in front of him.
The older man brought his SUV around, and his wife opened the
back door. “Hey bro,” the younger man said addressing my friend,
“grab her back legs so she doesn’t slip out while we put her
in the car.” The older woman was busy on the phone, trying to
find a vet. “We can take the dog to VCA in Kaneohe. They have
a 24-hour, on-call vet there,” she said after confirming with
Finally, with the dog safe and on her way to a doctor, I had
a chance to reflect on what I had just seen. I wondered if this
scenario would have played itself out the same way if it had
happened anywhere else except Hawai’i. Would random strangers,
people who saw an animal being hit by a car, and some who hadn’t,
band together and take 30 minutes out of their lives to save
a dog if this had happened in New York City? Even though I mostly
watched, I had a warm feeling inside to know that there are
people out there who care enough to stop on the side of a dark,
unlit street to help. No names were exchanged during the rescue,
but a standing ovation should go out to those people who helped.