By Barbara Bennett


Koko, Maka and Barbara in January 2012.

As I sit here, quietly watching the wild cats in the neighborhood munching down the cat food I put out daily on my patio, it reminds me of my pets, Maka and Koko, who are now gone.

Loving my two boys, Koko and Maka, made me realize just how lucky they were to have such a caring, warm and safe home.

They were three years apart, and both joined our family at seven weeks old. Last year, at 10 years old Maka, passed in away from kidney failure, which was shocking to me — despite owning many dogs over the years, I was not aware of kidney disease in dogs. Koko was 12 years old in 2012 when he was diagnosed an enlarged heart. He passed away quietly six months later, at age 13.

I look forward to watching the homeless cats feeding every night on my patio. It helps me to cope with missing my little guys, just sitting and watching them get a good nourishing meal, and also by knowing someone cares about them. After their meal, they quickly return to their hiding places in the thickets of our neighborhood.

Many people are dedicated to protecting and saving of the lives of Kaua‘i’s feral cats, and none more than the Kaua‘i Humane Society. I’ve learned a lot from using KHS’ boarding facilities over the years.

Having raised six children, I’ve had pets most of my life. I felt it was important for my three sons and three daughters, as they grew up, to have their own pets, so we always had a menagerie of animals, especially when we moved to a 15-acre ranch in Florida.

It was a short-lived experience wanting to live off the land by raising Yorkshire and Duroc hogs, rabbits, chickens, ducks and pheasants. Outside the barnyard, we were proud owners of beautiful red Siberian dogs. But the grain prices went up, and making a living off the farm came to a quick end after three years.

I’ve learned even more from my friendship with Orianna Skomoroch, who has served on KHS board for many years. Orrie’s stories about saving animals and creating adoptions are moving and very interesting. The arrival of mistreated animals, dogs and cats, tugs at my heart as it does for most of you who care about our pets.

Now that my six children are grownups and have their own families, the emptiness I felt after they moved out was very much fulfilled by having Maka and Koko in my life. Now that they are gone, these wonderful ferals are a small replacement.

The three of them are distinquished by their colors of gold, black and white. They are old enough to fend for themselves. I don’t see their mother very often, and I’m not sure she is still in our neighborhood or has moved on.

Mahalo to KHS, and with the support of our island, we encourage them to keep up the good work, dedication and passion to give homes and care to animals on Kaua‘i. If you can’t care for a pet, perhaps you could consider a small donation to KHS. I know the dedicated folks who volunteer and work there would greatly appreciate your acknowledgement. I encourage the continued support of this wonderful organization.

Wishing you Joy, Happiness and Blessings during the Holidays.

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