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Lucky to live Hawaii

by Jayme Haitsuka, Lifestyles editor

   

Driving down the Pali Highway, about to make a left-hand turn onto Kapaa Quarry Road, my friend (and fellow HPU student) and I noticed three cars across the intersection inching slowly and maneuvering themselves as if herding an animal into the direction of the Quarry Road.

“What are they doing?” I asked my friend.

“I don’t know,” he answered. Our light turned green, and we were about to turn onto the road when he said, “I think they’re trying to catch a dog!”

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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 of me.

“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 VCA’s office.

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.

 

 

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