I decided to go for a walk before doing anything else. So I put on my running shoes, put Little Nai’a’s (pronounced Ni-ah) belt and harness on her, and we were off. I held onto Nai’a’s belt as we walked down the driveway to the road. We were almost reaching the neighbor’s driveway when suddenly a monster dog Naia tried to sprint from behind. I don’t know where the dog came from. When I realized what was going on, I turned around, screaming for help. We went round and round. I didn’t know it was a purebred bulldog at the time. I just know it wants to kill my dog and I don’t know how to help Nai’a. A few months ago, I learned through trial and error that picking up a puppy puts the puppy in a worse position. She can’t escape and the other dog can easily approach her, but when I learned this lesson a few months ago, the other dog wasn’t really trying to hurt Nai’a. He’s just a little too loud.
I didn’t know what to do and no one came to help me. I screamed and tried to think, pulling Naia along and following me in circles. I finally have a productive idea. I kicked the attacking dog in the stomach with all my strength. The dog didn’t even pause for a millisecond. He just wanted to kill my nine pound white dog. It’s all blurry, but I know when the big dog has turned his jaw on my little one, and I know when he starts shaking Naia violently. I can’t untie the leash and let Naia chew like a hamburger. I feel guilty for not being able to save my dear little friend. I can’t quite explain how bad I feel about this. After what seemed a long time – I was still screaming for help – a young man ran out of the house next door. He ran to us, grabbed the black, raging dog by the collar and pulled him away from Naia. Thank God, strong and brave young man. When he pulled the dog away, the dog released Naia. I immediately took Naia to my left arm. She cried all the time, but when I picked her up she let out a sort of dog-like screeching sound, and a moment later – out of shock – she grabbed my left hand with her teeth and I tried to hold her tight in my left arm. Once the other dog was taken, I was in and out of consciousness. Trying not to pass out, I hit my head on the sidewalk and lowered my dog again.
Around this time, another man, Rick, ran out of his house. He asked me to put a towel on Nai’a to keep her warm. I went through the side door and Naia bit my left hand. She was too scared to let go. She didn’t know if the dog would come back. When I tried to let go of Naia’s mouth, she bit harder. I heard a man on the street yell at Rick that it was the blonde’s fault. I heard the man yelling to shoot someone with a gun. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This is a nice residential area. I feel like I may be dreaming and need to wake up.
When I finally set her down on the lawn in the backyard and covered her with a towel, Naia finally let go of my hand and her jaw. I’m lucky to have a towel on the lawn chair. I patted Naia’s forehead and front legs as I spoke softly to Naia. She was shocked. I stay with her. Rick came to the backyard and said he was calling around to see if the vet was open early in the morning. He arrived at the Maui Central Animal Clinic urgent care center and told them we would be bringing Nai’a.
I left Nai’a for just three seconds and grabbed my phone from the sliding door. I want to see if my daughter Priscilla can see me at the vet. Nai’a took the moment to enter the house and tried to find safety in the bedroom. She was bleeding on the floor and carpet. Her guts began to seep out of the wound in her abdomen. I covered her with a towel again and left her in the bedroom. Rick is ready to take us, so I want to pick up Naia again. She screamed in pain. “Put a big towel over her head and body,” Rick said. That worked. I put her in the car and Rick drove our seven miles to Nia’s vet who was watching me the whole time.
When we got to the vet clinic, Rick ran in and told them we were there. A confident veterinary technician stepped out. She placed a cloth muzzle on Nai’a’s face, then carefully picked her up and carried her into the building, where she immediately took painkillers. I am grateful.
The vet came out to talk to me. She asked me to sign an X-ray consent form. A few minutes later, the female doctor came out with a list of injuries and charges on a typed sheet of paper. She explained that as long as the bladder is not involved,
t is if the bladder is not involved and there is no infection.
I walked to the empty parking lot and cried. The sun has risen over the Haleakala Ridge. I tried to call Bob at work, but no one picked up. I cried and cried.
The veterinary technician’s assistant came out and said that the doctor asked her to tell me that whatever I decided was not wrong. She said that maybe Naia’s spirit was broken. I’ve never heard that expression about animals, but essentially that’s what I felt and cried about. I know Naia will be too scared to go anywhere now. She would be afraid to walk through the backyard fence alone. She doesn’t want to go out for a walk. After that horrific attack, she knew I couldn’t protect her. She knew it was a dog-eat-dog world, and now I know it too. I could get pepper spray, but she didn’t know she had extra protection. She would spend her life in fear – assuming she could be repaired by doctors without complications.
I decided to let the doctor give Nai’a a lethal injection, and with all my heart I hoped to send her to a beautiful place where I might one day see her again. I believe it is – for good people. I think this must be the case with animals.
Priscilla and my two grandchildren, Jesse and Calissie – and Tika, Nia’s canine friend – were with me when the doctor came in to give me an injection. By then I had been alone in the room with Naia for 20 minutes before Priscilla and the kids arrived. I stroked Naia’s forehead and paws and told her she was a very good dog. She had a small towel on her chest and stomach with her internal organs hanging out. She kept looking me in the eye. Even with heavy painkillers, she would whimper and scream in terror if I stepped 10 inches out of her field of vision to get another Kleenex.
I miss her. I miss her presence. I miss her patience. When we were home, she always looked at me calmly, waiting for signs that we were going to drive or go for a walk. When I feed the chickens on Piikea Street or the feral cats in town, she likes to jump in the back seat of the car. Nai’a likes to walk on the beach, on the street and in the park. She especially loves life when we are at Kenolio Dog Park at night where there are only her best canine friends. Then I would let go of her leash and run. She is the fastest. She ran so fast she seemed to bounce across the grass like a dolphin bouncing across the water. That’s why Priscilla named her Naia. Nai’a means dolphin in Hawaiian.
To his credit, the bulldog’s owner took him to the Maui Humane Society an hour after the attack and demanded that he be euthanized. They admit that this isn’t the first time their dog has attacked a puppy. Later I learned from the lady who owned it that they kept him locked up for two years of his life. The woman and her husband work outside the home all day, five days a week. A few days later, February 22, was one of them, and their dog managed to relax.
I am not angry. I’m sure bullfighting enthusiasts want me to feel sorry for the poor pit bull who was not properly socialized through no fault of his own. I’m not there yet: maybe someday. Now I’m sad that Nai’a is gone. I can only find comfort in the thought that not a single child has been attacked on this street yet.
I have two suggestions for anyone looking to get a dog – if it’s not a pit bull or a pit bull mix. I recommend that you all stay at home with your dog and never go for a walk. This is the safest solution. Do not? Well, my second suggestion is this one. If a person has a dog that they really want to protect, then they should have a personal plan for this kind of emergency that can come quickly like Nai’a. If I had a can of pepper spray in my free hand, I could spray the bulldog in the eye and safely walk away with my dog. Sure, yes, Nai’a may have gotten into her eyes by accident, but she will survive. Aside from pepper spray, there are other products that will not kill aggressive dogs, but will cause them enough pain that they will trip and forget the desire to kill your dog. Pepper spray is an option.
If there’s a better solution, I’d love to hear it. I won’t have a dog anymore. Even if I buy the biggest, well-trained dog on the island, even if I learn my lesson of being the best owner and trainer of a large dog, I don’t believe this dog has a chance with a dog that isn’t quite Social , who pulls out all the stops with my dog and is after one thing: killing.
There are hundreds of bulldogs and bulldog mixes on Maui. It is said that these dogs were bred here
Wild boars are found inland, but for the most part people who buy purebred or mixed bulldogs here – and those who keep them here – do so to improve themselves. They think it’s something – I don’t know what – but it’s a special feeling to have this bulldog in your own family home or property.