LIHUE — Joshua Bradbury sacrificed his life saving a dog from a swollen Kauai stream during Hurricane Lane, and a puppy who survived the storm on Maui now sports his name.
“At the same time he’s over there, giving his life to save a dog, life came out of that storm,” said Cynthia Lippert, who is fostering the puppy. “I didn’t think twice about it, I’m so proud that I live in a state where someone gave his life that way.”
The puppy is one of two who survived from a litter of eight found on Maui in late August during the hurricane. The mother, now named Ginger, was abandoned pregnant and tied to a tree, according to Lippert.
She gave birth in the middle of the storm and six of the puppies had already died by the time an anonymous boar hunter stumbled upon the canine family.
“They saw her there, tied or chained to a tree out in the middle of a field,” Lippert said. “There was this dog and all of these dead puppies. Three of them were alive and one those three died during the night.”
The hunter took Ginger and her surviving puppies to the Maui Humane Society, which put them into Lippert’s care as she and her husband Jim have fostered more than 400 puppies and kittens over the course of 13 or 14 years.
Cynthia Lippert, who has a background in veterinary medicine, said she thinks the puppy named Joshua has some Choclate Labrador in him and the litter was Ginger’s first.
Both puppies and the mother are in great condition now and the puppy’s sister is already spoken for.
Joshua Bradbury, a 30-year-old Kauai man from Kekaha, died Aug. 28 after jumping into an overflowing Waikomo Stream with his friend Noah Foote to save a dog.
Lippert reached out to The Garden Island newspaper, introducing Joshua’s namesake to the world and telling the story of the puppies who died in the hurricane.
“I witnessed the heroism of your Joshua Bradbury, who also drowned due to Lane while saving a dog,” Lippert wrote in September. “I am insisting this male puppy to be named ‘Joshua’ to honor the life of Joshua Bradbury.”
Lippert said Monday she also wants to gift the dog to the Bradbury family, in honor of their son.
“I know that they might not be interested, but I have to (ask if they want the puppy),” Lippert said. “The thing is, for me, that this life came from that storm and his life left in that storm and if his parents want a male dog, I will make it happen.”
Rob Bradbury, Joshua’s father, said the story immediately tugged at his heartstrings when he heard about the puppy.
“I think it’s beautiful. It’s heartwarming and my wife was really happy,” Bradbury said. “But, I’ve got three dogs right now. My pack is almost too big right now (as it is).”
Noah Foote, who was with Joshua when he jumped into the river to save the dog, said the puppy looks like one of Joshua’s dogs.
“It’s sweet,” Foote said. “Joshua would have loved it. The puppy is super cute, too.”
He and his wife have been keeping flowers on a memorial where Foote found Joshua’s body and this is another great way to keep the memory of his friend alive, Foote said.
Rob said he’s been able to connect with the owners of the dog that Joshua saved that day, a dog that lives with a family near the Kiahuna Golf Course.
“It’s really good to be able to talk with them, and I’m going over to see the dog soon, give it a hug,” Bradbury said.
As far as the dog named Joshua is concerned, Bradbury said he has family on Maui that might want it, but realizes owning a dog is a huge responsibility. Regardless, he’s moved by the Lipperts’ decision to name the puppy after his son.
“It’s just really great all the support we’ve had, so many people,” Bradbury said.
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org