For the love of pets

KALAHEO — Bettejo Dux loves her horse Aristotle. And her two dogs Brooks and Spritz. And her four cats Mama Cat, Annie, Louisa and Bernard. And the endless numbers of birds that fly in and out and around her home.

More than 20 years ago, Dux and her husband designed and built their home to be very animal-friendly. It’s a long, one-story home with high ceilings. Where there normally would be walls, doors or windows, the house has wrought-iron gates.

“The reason I put in the wrought iron is I knew I would never wash windows. But I do paint wrought iron, so up the wrought iron went,” she said.

Also, with wrought iron for door or windows, animals can walk into the house and out the other side, freely.

“All my life I’ve wanted to live with my horses. I designed the house after riding barns,” Dux said. “If you think of my house as a barn, you’re OK. If you start thinking of my house as a regular home, you’re in trouble.”

Dux described her home as having Spanish and Japanese influences in addition to the riding barn look, and perhaps it was the house’s openness that helped it survive two hurricanes, ‘Iwa in 1982 and ‘Iniki 10 years later.

No need to remove your shoes in this house. In fact, it’s probably best to keep your shoes on with all the animals walking around. The flooring is tile with some walking areas in the library covered by beach mats.

“I gave up on carpet. With all the animals, carpet is hard to clean. With the beach mats, they’re cheap and when they’re dirty, I just throw them out and replace them. It’s as simple as that,” she said.

She named it “Hale O Ka Mana.” When you walk onto her property, you’re greeted by her horse Aristotle. In the room right next to his, Brooks can often be found loafing as only a dog can. In the middle of the house grows a tree where birds can nest.

On the other side is her room, which is also an open area; think exotic island-style with a mosquito net hanging over her bed.

Dux is a former writer and currently teaches a class on an introduction to horses.

At night, she sits out on her covered walkway, which is almost like an outdoor den, and looks out at the island.

“I love the way (this house) wakes up and goes to bed,” she said. “It’s almost otherworldly when you sit out here. It could be 200 years ago and you would never know it. I love it, this is my spot.”

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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