Saddle Road hazard … but a really cute one


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Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Saddle Road Dog

On Saddle Road between the 20 and 21 mile markers is a lone dog that has been wandering alongside the highway endangering itself and drivers.

Late afternoon Saturday (May 14), the dog was walking across Saddle Road in misty weather toward a pick-up truck.

I recalled seeing the same dog along the same stretch of highway while on my way to Kona two or three weeks ago. I assumed a hunter was nearby and because a car was pulling over near the dog behind me, I thought nothing more of it at the time.

Area where the dog lives.

However, on Saturday I saw the same sad pup as I drove towards Hilo and spun my car around to find a dad and three daughters in the pick-up.

They said the dog was walking on the highway and they had tried to coax the dog with beef jerky but never got any closer than a couple of feet from the dog.

They also said the dog was skittish and would back off when approached making things dangerous as the dog would sometimes run out onto the road to get away in the rainy and misty weather.

They were trying to catch the dog so it could be taken to safety.

Someone has left food and water for the dog.

Although we couldn’t get the dog close enough to catch, we discovered someone had left a container of water and a pile of dog food on the Mauna Kea side of the road for it.

The dog looks like in good health, has a collar, doesn’t bark, doesn’t appear aggressive and will approach out of curiosity and for food. Just not close enough to catch.

The dog also walks across the highway and sometimes sits in the traffic lane.

I left a message with Hawaii Island Humane Society answering service and hopefully they can get someone out there.

In the meantime, be careful when driving in that area – for the dog’s sake and other drivers’.

UPDATED (5/15/11 at 6:50 a.m.)

From the Hawaii Island Humane Society

We know about the dog and have been trying to get her for weeks. Unfortunaty, she won’t go anywhere near the trap we’ve set. Our Veterinarian has been able to get closer than anyone and is steadily working on trying to lay hands on her.

Thank you for your concern. Please let me know if your posting brings any information.

UPDATED (5/15/11 at 7:30 a.m.)

The dog has been reported twice on the Lost and Found page at the HIHS also in some hunting forums. There appears to be someone who may be the owner on Craigslist and a phone message was left for them.

If anyone has more information you can post it in the comments below.

UPDATED (5/15/11 at 8:25 a.m.)
Got a message back from the Craigslist posting

Hi Baron,
Great video that you posted of the lost dog.

Here’s the story – she is not my dog but like many others I have seen her wandering around and tried to catch her. When I posted in on craigslist the first time last Monday I got a couple of phone calls of other people doing the same thing. Because nobody was able to catch her Debbie Cravatta from KARES (Kohala Animal Relocation & Education Service) drove up with a trap borrowed from the Humane Society on Friday but there was no way to make her go in.

She seems to like children and other dogs and responds better to women than men. We think she is a lost hunting dog.

It is absolutely great to see how many people are involved. It is truly a community effort and shows a lot of aloha for a lost dog.

Do you drive by Saddle Road daily? I live in Waikoloa Village but drove up twice last week to check on her.

If you get any news please let me know.

Thanks so much for caring.

Aloha
Bridget

UPDATED (5/16/11 at 3:50 p.m.)

Saddle Road Dog has wandered a little closer to Hilo, see the updated map above. She still won’t get close enough to catch, is friendly, gets within a few feet but that’s it.

An updated photo of Saddle Road Dog taken on Monday (May 16). Photo by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

An updated photo of Saddle Road Dog taken on Monday (May 16). Photo by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

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UPDATED (5/19/11 at 11 p.m.)

Hawaii Island Humane Society Executive Director Donna Whitaker said the dog is getting comfortable with the HIHS vet, who stops by regularly.

The dog has been eating out of her hand and the plan is to keep earning the dog’s trust until it can be safely captured. Whitaker said she is confident the vet will be successful.

Whitaker urged drivers on Saddle Road to use caution and to avoid spooking the dog if they stop to leave food and water.

She also promised to keep Hawaii 24/7 updated, so check back for the latest news …

UPDATED (6/29/11)

Last information we heard was:

  • A group of folks tried to catch the dog using nets and spooked the dog pretty badly which caused it to retreat farther away from the road. After that the vet thinks she saw the dog off in the distance but is not certain. HIHS folks say the dog can survive quite well out there for a long time. They still hope the vet can get the dog. So nobody should try catching the dog as we let the vet get her.
  • I’ve driven on the Saddle Road at least four times since our last update posting with no signs of the dog. There are containers of water there like before but I can’t tell if the dog has been drinking or not.
  • A person turned-up who says he’s the dog’s owner. He said the circumstances are that he was driving back from Hilo to home in Kona when he had a blowout. The dog, he said the name is ‘Koa,’ ran away from the SUV and he couldn’t get her. He said the dog has run away before from home in Kona and has some kind of dog dementia according to her vet. He said he has driven on Saddle Road since then and has not been able to find the dog which is possible as I did not always see the dog myself before posting this original story. He said he’d like to get his dog back. I have not had contact with him for a few weeks.

Weather hasn’t been all that great on Saddle Road in the area where ‘Koa’ has been so it makes looking for the dog difficult while driving. I’ve pulled over every time I’ve been in that section and called the dog’s name night or day with no results.

17 Responses to “Saddle Road hazard … but a really cute one”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Aloha,

    My husband and I have gone up to try to rescue her on 2 different weekends (we live in Waikoloa Village). We’ve left food and water for her too. She is very sweet, totally non-aggressive, playful but not easy to get close to.

    On our way to Hilo one weekend I spotted her lounging on the side Saddle Rd. in a pullout area (right where the photo is in the article above), we turned around and all I had in the car was cat food which she scarfed down, drank some water and then took off carrying w/ her in her mouth the little plastic dish we used for her food :) We went into Hilo and on our way back we brought dog food and more water and noticed another spot where someone had left the same. We stopped at one of the hunter stations (towards Hilo) and noticed a faded note dated at the beginning of April that someone had spotted her and posted info for her owner. We went back up the next day and spent several hours looking for her and she was nowhere to be found.

    I hope that she is safely rescued for her sake and for the safety of drivers on the Saddle Rd. We would consider adopting her if all else fails to find her a forever home.

    Mahalo,
    Jennifer

  2. parv says:

    Does nobody have a tranquilizer gun around these parts?

    Think of the children (when they would see the dog in a traffic accident)!

  3. Baron says:

    Are there any missing hunters? Maybe we should be as worried for the owner as for the dog?

  4. Doreen says:

    Hello,

    I was noticing that on the collar where you attach the leash there is a metal figure 8 piece where the tag(s) usually are attached. It is a possibility that “someone” may have taken them off on purpose and left the collar on so she wouldn’t appear as a stray, hoping someone else would come along and take care of her. If I was missing a dog, I would have posters and notices everywhere. Maybe they just couldn’t take care of her anymore and this is what they chose to do.
    If a hunter or hiker were missing it would be on the news and someone would recognize their dog.
    Maybe signs could go up warning drivers to slow down on that section of the road??
    Good luck to everyone who is helping. I live in Rhode Island and I have no idea how I linked to this story! I always have a cat carrier and a leash in my car trunk, you just never know when you’ll need them. Stay safe Puppy!

    Doreen D.

  5. alfred says:

    We have seen her maybe a half dozen times. Once she was on the right side by the flashing yellow coming back to Hilo and I pulled over to try to coax her with some leftovers to come with me to no avail ( I had a leash). On a trip back from Costco My Wife and Granddaughter had her eating out of their hands but they had no leash or rope (i was @ work). Past Saturday we took food, a leash and collar, and our dog but she was nowhere around. She is a nice pup and we worry for her.

    • Doreen says:

      I guess a leash isn’t very helpful in this case. Maybe a big fishing net if she was right there within a few feet. The tranquilizer gun is not a bad idea as long as someone slows traffic if she runs into the road. Definitely need a two person team either way.
      I will have to check in here for updates. Hoping for happy news soon.

  6. Veronica Dickey says:

    I live in Ohio and have visited Hawaii twice, very beautiful islands! I am just so impressed with all of the compassion and concern shown for this dog, just keep it up and I am sure your determination will eventually pay off with getting this beauty!

  7. lynda e beach says:

    it is now june 11, r there any updates of this cute dog????

  8. dids says:

    Any updates? Would love to hear one. Thanks. :)

  9. Baron says:

    Last information we heard was:
    * A group of folks tried to catch the dog using nets and spooked the dog pretty badly which caused it to retreat farther away from the road. After that the vet thinks she saw the dog off in the distance but is not certain. HIHS folks say the dog can survive quite well out there for a long time. They still hope the vet can get the dog. So nobody should try catching the dog as we let the vet get her.
    * I’ve driven on the Saddle Road at least four times since our last update posting with no signs of the dog. There are containers of water there like before but I can’t tell if the dog has been drinking or not.
    * A person turned-up who says he’s the dog’s owner. He said the circumstances are that he was driving back from Hilo to home in Kona when he had a blowout. The dog, he said the name is ‘Koa,’ ran away from the SUV and he couldn’t get her. He said the dog has run away before from home in Kona and has some kind of dog dementia according to her vet. He said he has driven on Saddle Road since then and has not been able to find the dog which is possible as I did not always see the dog myself before posting this original story. He said he’d like to get his dog back. I have not had contact with him for a few weeks.

    Weather hasn’t been all that great on Saddle Road in the area where ‘Koa’ has been so it makes looking for the dog difficult while driving. I’ve pulled over every time I’ve been in that section and called the dog’s name night or day with no results.

  10. jewel says:

    anyone seen the dog on Saddle Road?

  11. Skeptic says:

    From all indications, the photos indicate a young dog. From everything I have read about canine dementia, it is a disease that afflicts older dogs so it appears that the “owner” could be fraudulent. Just food for thought.

  12. Mahina says:

    Any news?????????

  13. Michelle Helms says:

    please give an update! concerened out here on the East Coast

  14. Aileen Martinson Rinehart says:

    2011 is the last updates on this precious dog. Today is November 17, 2019!! What ever happened to this dog?? Hoping she has found a forever home…but no updates since 2011!! I live in Lynn Haven, FL and just came across this story today!

    • Baron says:

      I had heard an un-verified story that a group went to catch the dog with nets and ended up chasing it farther into the lava field. Didn’t see the dog after that, didn’t hear about any other sightings. If that was the case it was unfortunate as a vet had a plan to catch the dog. Also someone claimed they were the owner and the dog got loose when his car broke down in that spot. The supposed owner also said his dog had dementia which was the problem.

      I’m sorry there’s no conclusive ending to what happened.

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