KALAHEO — A Kalaheo woman happily paid $10,000 when she was reunited Wednesday with her dogs that were missing for almost two weeks.
“They are like family to me,” said Marilyn Seligman, who has raised the three-year-old dogs since they were puppies. “They sleep on the bed, sofa, or anywhere they like. They even sit like people in the chairs.”
Seligman was heartbroken when both dogs got lost on June 24 near Loop Road. The friendly German shorthaired pointer, named Rhylee, and shy mixed-breed dog, Elsa, were running off leash when they disappeared.
The gentle dogs are nearly inseparable. They enjoy chasing the red junglefowl roosters occasionally; but this time, they did not return.
Seligman was persistent in her search. She posted signs and placed an advertisement in The Garden Island with a $5,000 reward each for their location and return.
“I felt terrible for the situation, but anything can happen no matter how careful you are,” Seligman said while holding back tears. “I felt that I needed to protect them. They are like children to me.”
Neighbors comforted her. Sarah, Uncle Shawn, and Jan Underhill joined the search, along with their dogs, Maka, Ke’o, Kash, and Pele — but to no avail.
“I am very thankful for their prayers and thoughts,” Seligman said. “They really showed true aloha.”
After nearly two weeks of sleepless nights, Seligman received a phone call Wednesday from a visiting Colorado family. They recognized the brown pointer with an orange collar from the ad and shouted her name. The tired, hungry dog came running to their Jeep looking for food.
Seligman immediately responded as darkness fell to pick up her lost pet near Loop Road, right where she last saw it. She gladly rewarded the vacationing family with the promised $5,000. It was about then she received a second call from a local family who spotted a skinny white and black spotted dog while it timidly followed their two daughters from a distance.
In moments, Seligman was on her way.
When she pulled up in her vehicle, the excited canine feebly jumped into the open door to greet her owner. Another $5,000 was rewarded to the family for the tearful reunion.
“I learned a big lesson,” said Seligman, “and I feel bad about the situation.”
She plans to keep her dogs on leashes except when they are home or at the dog park.
Although the animals lost weight during their adventure from home, and were dirty, they were OK, Seligman said.
“I was fortunate that people were caring,” Seligman said. “I was greatly touched by the people of this community.”