Suki’s safe

  • photo courtesy of Kauai Humane Society This shows Suki, one of the residents at Kauai Humane Society, before she got lost on Sleeping Giant in Wailua.

KAUAI — Muddy trails threw a wrench into the weekend for Kauai Humane Society pup Suki, who ran away into the Sleeping Giant area after a field trip took a slippery turn.

She spent more than two days traipsing around the jungle after the hikers who took her Kauai Humane Society out on a field trip slipped on the trail and dropped her leash.

KHS staff members found her Monday.

“They were halfway down the Lokelani side of Sleeping Giant, when one of them slipped on the very muddy trail,” said Mirah Horowitz, executive director of KHS. “Suki got spooked and bolted.”

After the crash on the trail, Suki went into “flight mode” she said, and became skittish, refusing to approach anyone close enough to be caught. She disappeared and the visitors called KHS.

Horowitz responded with field services manager Jessica Venneman and Suki’s kennel mate, Archibald, hoping to coax the scared dog out into the open. The three of them did the hike again, but it was to no avail.

“We did not find her, but we were able to tell a number of people about her,” Horowitz said. “Sunday, we got a phone call from one of those people that she showed up on Lokelani Road in someone’s yard, but she spooked away.”

After that, KHS launched an effort with fliers, putting them up in the area to spread the word.

Nothing happened until about 11 p.m. Sunday when someone spotted Suki in the area again. Monday morning, Suki was recaptured.

“Tracy Capman, who had been spending time on the trail looking for her spotted her,” Horowitz said. “She was able to slowly approach and catch her.”

Suki is a 40-pound, one year-old airdale terrier mix who was surrendered to KHS by her owner on Sept. 11, and she’s not the only dog who has gotten loose while out on a field trip.

It happens about six times a year for various reasons, Horowitz said, but the program’s benefits outweigh the occasional times the program goes awry.

The program allows people to check out a dog for a day — take it out on hiking trails or to dog friendly beaches, returning the dog to KHS in the late afternoon. It’s a way to get more exposure for adoptable dogs and let visitors or people who can’t have pets spend time with the animals.

It allows for socialization of the dogs and exercise, too.

To prevent lost dogs, KHS uses harnesses and no slip collars and leashes for the animals, but staff members say there’s always a chance a dog gets lost.

“We try everything in our power to prevent them (lost dogs),” Horowitz said. “ Of course, you cannot prevent when someone slips in the mud. Dogs can be lost for a few hours, a few days, or a few months depending on where they are lost and how skittish they are.”

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Jessica Else, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com

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