***Updated March 28, 2016***
This sweet little guy has found his forever home – with ME! After sharing Kuhio’s story on BarkPost and across social media, his temporary guardian was touched by the incredible response. Unfortunately, no one close to home was able to take him in. My husband is a newly converted dog person (he has to be to be married to me!), and after hearing Kuhio’s story, he offered to open our home to him.
Our other two dogs have been very accommodating of their new brother (even when he tore up a favorite toy of theirs), and Kuhio simply adores my husband. We think he must remind him of the owner he so tragically lost. Thank you to everyone who shared Kuhio’s story and offered their support. He will be safe, happy, and well loved from now on.
When I met Kuhio (pronounced Kuh-Hee-Oh), he was cowering in a cage at my veterinarian’s office. The 14-pound cinnamon-colored Chihuahua mix was shaking like a leaf and had an abrasion on his nose from rubbing his face against the bars. He was panting and pacing anxiously back and forth. My heart broke for him, especially when I learned the details of how he ended up there.
Named for the busy Waikiki Avenue where he was found, Kuhio (or KeeKee for short) was adopted from a Honolulu shelter by a man I will refer to only as Mark to protect the privacy of his family. As soon as Mark looked into Kuhio’s sad, brown eyes, he knew they were meant to be together. A shelter worker remarked that it was as if Mark and the shy former street dog were “made for each other.” Even Mark’s senior-aged Chihuahua bonded to Kuhio right away.
A few months ago, Mark decided to move to New York for a job. Kuhio and his fur-sibling made the approximately 10-hour flight to the Big Apple and settled in at Mark’s brother’s apartment. Sadly, Mark’s older dog soon passed away from an existing heart condition. City life was frightening for Kuhio, and he clearly missed his buddy. Mark decided that a trip to Myrtle Beach to visit his dear friend, Pat Russell, would be a welcome getaway for them both.
Kuhio boarded another plane with his dad and moved into Pat’s home. The weather was mild compared to New York, and the beach surely reminded Kuhio of happier days. For the first time since they left Hawaii, he was his happy, playful self again. A neighbor of Pat’s asked Mark to pet sit her Bulldog after seeing how gentle and caring he was with Kuhio.
Mark spent Valentine’s Day evening with Pat, but returned to the home where he was pet sitting shortly after dinner complaining of flu-like symptoms and an earache. After Mark failed to answer phone calls and texts on the afternoon of February 16, Pat decided to drop in and check on him. She found the home eerily empty. Neither of the dogs ran to greet her, and Mark was nowhere to be found. When Pat opened the bathroom door, her concern turned to panic. The walls, floor and basin were splashed with blood.
Pat scoured the neighborhood in search of Mark and the dogs, but there was no sign of them. Terrified for their safety, she contacted the police and showed them the gruesome scene in Mark’s bathroom. After checking that morning’s call logs, the officers were finally able to shed light on Mark and the dogs’ whereabouts.
A neighbor had phoned 911 around 8:30 that morning to report a disoriented man stumbling down the street and speaking incoherently. When police and EMS arrived, they wrongfully presumed that Mark was intoxicated and he was placed under arrest. Kuhio was circling Mark frantically when he and the Bulldog were rounded up and delivered to the Humane Society.
Several hours passed before police realized that the man they had in custody was not under the influence of alcohol, but having a serious medical emergency. Mark was transferred to the hospital and underwent an MRI that revealed the cause of his strange symptoms. Mark had suffered an aneurysm and had been bleeding steadily from his brain. That same evening he slipped into a coma and passed away.
Pat Russell paid to have the two dogs released from the Humane Society. The dog Mark had been pet-sitting is safely back with his owner, but in the blink of an eye, poor Kuhio had lost the only human he had ever truly loved and trusted.
Dr. Kathy Duford of Waterway Animal Hospital performed a full exam and determined that Kuhio is about 6 – 7 years old. Aside from some mild tartar on his teeth and a stress-induced urinary tract infection, he is a healthy little guy. Ms. Russell is caring for Kuhio in her home, but is unable to adopt him permanently because of the HOA rules of community.
Kuhio has begun to show signs of his adorable personality again. He loves to snuggle, play with toys, and lay in afternoon sunbeams, but Pat sees signs of grief as well. Kuhio sleeps on one of Mark’s shirts each night and runs eagerly to the door when someone passes, hoping to see his human again.
Due to the extreme anxiety that Kuhio experienced during his short time at Waterway Animal Hospital and the Humane Society, Pat is praying that his next move will be into a permanent home as opposed to foster care or a shelter. Because this is an independent adoption, she hopes to place Kuhio in the South or North Carolina area.
If you would like to learn more about adopting this sweet boy, email Pat at [email protected] Kuhio’s short life has been marked with loss and fear. Please share his story so that this former street dog can find a permanent place to call home!
Featured Image Courtesy of Pat Russell