LIHUE — The actions of a Good Samaritan may have saved the life of a wounded hunting dog this weekend.
Joshua Nipp of Pilaa was hiking with friends and was near the second lookout of Waimea Canyon on Saturday when he saw a dog emerge from the tree line. His friends thought it was rabid but Nipp said he could tell the dog was wounded and watched it collapse at his feet.
“It looked me in the eye and fell to the ground,” Nipp said. “He was a friendly, beautiful looking dog and I could see in his eyes that he wanted to live.”
Jane Solberg, a visitor from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said it was between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. when she also saw the medium-sized dog that looked severely injured. It was walking up to people but no one wanted to touch the wounded animal, she said.
A volunteer for the Humane Society of Sioux Falls, Solberg said the animal was bleeding badly but that it was worth an attempt to save it, or at least not let it die in such pain. She said Nipp was the only one to respond.
“There is a young man that deserves some recognition for what he did,” Solberg said.
After the dog collapsed, Nipp called the Kokee museum, but was told there were no park rangers in the area.
Someone would have to bring it to town for help. Nipp then grabbed towels from his truck and wrapped up the dog. He was worried, but the dog didn’t try to bite him as he picked it up and placed it in the back of his truck.
“I didn’t think it would make it, it was looking really bad,” Nipp said.
After drinking some water, the dog seemed to perk up, he said. He tried to reach a veterinarian but the one he knew was not available, so he drove instead to the Kauai Humane Society in Puhi — around 35 miles away — and Nipp was reassured by staff that they would attempt to save the dog.
Penny Cistaro, KHS executive director, said a veterinarian technician performed surgery on the 45-pound brindle-colored hound mix. She believes it is around 10 years old.
“The tech said the dog was looking much better today,” Cistaro said. “He said it looked like it was ready to give up when it came in on Saturday in need of medical attention.”
The dog has 30 stitches along the cut on its interior rear leg and abdomen. It has another 20 stitches for a cut along the elbow portion of its front left.
“It is a hunting dog and could have come in contact with a boar,” Cistaro said. “It is not likely, but it could also have been a fence.”
The dog had a microchip and the owner indicated that a nephew had taken the dog hunting without permission.
“The woman who owns the dog was very thankful,” Nipp said. “She was off island and apparently some family members took the dog to Kokee.”
Nipp expressed interest in adopting the animal if the owner did not claim it.
Cistaro said there are a number of dogs loose in the Kokee area, a hunting environment where dogs sometimes become separated from the owners or their pack. KHS does get a number of thin, stray dogs from the area.
“People need to keep in mind that they always need to have identification on their animal,” Cistaro said. “We were able to locate the owner in this instance, but if it didn’t have a microchip, we wouldn’t have been able to reunite it with the owner.”
Hunters should also be aware that if they find a stray dog, they can drop it off at the hunter station or near the museum where the owners can check.
“If someone comes across a lost dog, they can contact the Humane Society and let us know where it’s at,” Cistaro said. “We routinely respond to calls at Kokee, Waimea and Wailua.”
Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.