A tragic moment in 2018 took the life of Joshua Bradbury, but it also forged connections across oceans and turned strangers into friends.
It all happened during an Aug. 28, 2018 storm that swelled streams and felled trees across Hawaii. On Kauai’s South Side, the 30-year-old Bradbury died saving a neighborhood dog from a flooded and fast-moving Waikomo Stream.
The same night, 10 puppies were born on Maui to a mother abandoned and tied to a tree in the storm. Eight of them died. Two survived — a boy and a girl. Maui residents Cynthia and Jim Lippert saved the puppies and their mother.
They named the boy Joshua, after reading about Bradbury’s sacrifice in the news. Bradbury’s California cousins Shelly and Tadd Dale adopted the puppy to keep Bradbury’s legacy alive.
Now, a year later, the dog named Joshua is on vacation in Mexico with the Dale family. He’s also been hiking with them in the deserts of Arizona. He likes to take car rides. He’s full of energy and weighs about 75 pounds.
“We like to hike and stuff and we planned this trip, kind of, for him,” said Shelly Dale in a phone interview. “We wanted to do a driving trip, where we could take him to the beach and hang out with him. This is the perfect vacation. He loves the beach and loves to swim.”
While the puppy’s name is still officially Joshua Bradbury in honor of Josh, the Dale family didn’t feel comfortable calling him Joshua on a daily basis. Instead, they call him “Koa.”
“We still wanted to honor Joshua, so we looked up the Hawaiian words for “brave” and “strong.” “Koa” came up. It’s the strongest wood in Hawaii, and he’s kind of the color of the koa wood,” Dale said.
On Kauai, a memorial near Waikomo Stream honors Bradbury and the love he had for animals, and the Kauai Humane Society is holding a special adoption event in honor of the Kauai man.
It will offer 50% off all adoptions this weekend. Those who can’t adopt but still want to participate have the option to donate to KHS in Josh’s name.
“The theme of the event is to honor the life of Josh Bradbury by saving another,” said Diann Hartman, KHS board president. “The board has wanted to find a way to honor his kind heart and selflessness.”
And life continues for the Bradbury family on-island, with Joshua’s memory alive in their hearts.
“It’s hard, but the world keeps going and the pack’s still together. We still have the same animals, and Josh will always be a big part of our life,” said Joshua’s dad Rob Bradbury.
Rob said the family is “stoked” that KHS is holding an adoption event in honor of Joshua, a man who cared so much about the animals and tended to bring home rescues.
“Josh would love it (the KHS adoption event). He was all about the animals,” Rob Bradbury said.
Through the pain of losing Joshua, people from different islands and from the mainland have forged connections. The Lipperts, Bradburys and Dales share photos back and forth. They check in on each other, sometimes daily.
“I keep in touch with them,” Lippert said. “We’re very close with the family in Costa Mesa, and the next time I’m on the mainland, I’ll be visiting them. We share something very, very special.”
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or email@example.com.