Kalvin was a stray found on the West Side of Kauai by groomers, Kathleen and David Gissing.

Kalvin was a stray found on the West Side of Kauai by groomers, Kathleen and David Gissing.Story excerpt from “Some Dogs I Know”                                                                                                                                                                          By Kathie Gissing

Excerpt from “Some Dogs I Know” by Kathleen Gissing

It’s probably a no-brainer that being a mobile dog groomer in Hawaii has many great perks. In fact, we often compare with several friends to see who has the best gig: kayak tour leader, scuba instructor, massage therapist, head chef, newspaper reporter. Let’s face it, most any job in Hawaii is a good job, because it’s in Hawaii!

One day we were driving and enjoying the views of the West side of our little island. It’s a location we only visit every six weeks. We have certain areas that we groom weekly, so while the views are still great, they are more common to us. While we were enjoying the

morning commute, listening to oldies (I must take this moment to comment that if you are looking for hip, current music – this isn’t found in Hawaii) and minding our business, we suddenly saw a little black and white dog running along the highway on the opposite side and direction. Stray dogs are an unfortunate but occasional sight in our travels. We do our best to help and if we’re unable, we contact the local Humane Society.

Back to the little black and white runaway. We turned around, which isn’t always an easy thing to do in our 19 foot extended, passenger converted van and went in search of the frightened pup. We couldn’t find him. We turned back around and headed toward our original destination. Then we saw him again! Rather than turning ourselves around one more time – we found a place to pull over, and as stated before, not an easy thing to do. I grabbed a leash and crossed the highway, pursuing the dog. I went slowly so as not to chase it into the traffic. The dog ducked into the bordering cane field. I came to the place it entered and saw it sitting on the other side of a irrigation canal looking at me. I called to the pup, which I now saw was male. He very timidly lowered his head and began slowly wagging the part of his tail that wasn’t frighteningly tucked underneath him. I talked softly to him, approached with much care and patience. He remained there while I crossed the canal and then he allowed me to pick him up. To this day, I swear he looked at me with the most grateful eyes I think I have ever seen on a dog.

I took him back to the van and gave him some food we keep on board for treats. The poor little guy was so skinny, his skin pulled tightly over his back and ribs. You could almost count the vertebra and rib bones. I’m guessing he had been on the run for awhile.

He rode with us as we continued to work, as we still had 3 clients to groom and the Humane Society was in the opposite direction. He sat in the front of the van and drank water and napped while we worked. We took him home that night because the humane society was already closed by the time we were back on their side of the island. Once we got him home we weighed him. Eight pounds! (Just to give you an idea, today he is at a healthy weight of 14 pounds). We fed him, bathed him and loved him.

Unfortunately, the right thing to do is sometimes not the easy thing to do.

After much talking and deliberation, we took him to the Kauai Humane Society the next day. We placed him in their care for a week to see if someone would claim him as lost. It was so hard leaving him there because he seemed so happy to just stay at our home.

How do you explain to a dog that has been through the ringer that he wasn’t out of the woods yet? But as life is, we knew if he was meant to be part of our family, it would happen.

A week went by, and we got the call that no one had claimed him and he was ours to take if we still wanted him. If we still wanted him? Of course we wanted him! Now there is one thing I didn’t mention before…for the one night he stayed with us before going to the humane society, my mother came over to meet him and fell immediately in love with him.

She was currently without a dog as her 15 year old Llasa had passed away about six months prior. She had been coming over to our house almost daily and taking our dog, which she calls her grand”dogger” for walks. My husband and I both decided that perhaps both Kalvin and my mom might just be a good match. The only thing was to get my Dad’s approval. He of course had heard all about Kalvin’s plight and played the indifferent emotionally-detached guy. But once he found out that Kalvin could be adopted, he gave my Mom the ok, and we delivered Kalvin to their door that very day. This was 3 days before Christmas!

Today we like to say that Kalvin has won the doggy lottery! He lives with my parents who take him everywhere with them. He has his own spot in the car in his own doggy seat (right behind my Dad), his own spot on their bed (on my Dad’s side) and his own cushion on the leather sofa (you guessed it – on my Dad’s side). He adores my parents and has them wrapped around his little black and white paws. He has play time with our dog on a regular basis. He has a few issues, but seems to be overcoming them. For instance he still has a ravenous appetite. He doesn’t like the sound of cars on the road and for some reason doesn’t seem fond of sugar cane fields. Other than that he is always happy and appears to be smiling the “good life” smile, even while eating and playing. He is proof positive that we can forget the past if we chose to and be grateful for today! He is a welcome addition to our family.