HONOLULU (KHON2) — For many people, their pets are part of the family and one Oahu household went through great lengths to rescue their eight-month-old dog named Max after he ran out and got lost in the Koolau Range.
It was a four-day search that brought neighbors together and they never gave up on the pup.
Grace and Shaun Moss said they had just brought Max home days before he went missing.
A neighbor Kimberly Way said she heard a bark coming from the Koolau Range. She shared what she heard on social media and a friend told her about a missing dog poster around her neighborhood. She got in touch with the owners.
Shaun said, “We could hear him bark — because of the mountain it was impossible to triangulate from where it was coming from.”
It quickly became a community effort to find Max.
Way’s husband, along with neighbors, pig hunters and the Kaaawa K-9 Rescue group all joined the efforts. More than 300 human hours went into finding the missing dog.
“But it stopped when they got to a ridge, and they could kind of hear that the dog was really close but they just couldn’t get any further because the brush was so thick and thorny that they just couldn’t advance anywhere,” said Way.
Another neighbor Jamie Neely was with his dog, Sam. He said the terrain was muddy and dangerous but he wanted to do everything he could to help.
Neely said, “If there’s a chance to get him you know make the best of it.”
On the third day of the search, the Honolulu Fire Department entered the conservation area by foot in hopes of finding Max. By this point, his barks had not been heard for more than 12 hours.
Shaun said, “This is not good. It is not good that he is not making noise.”
Phillip Kapu works daily in the mountains. He was sent a social media post about the missing dog and was told multiple attempts to rescue him had failed.
He thought his knowledge could come in handy, and it sure did. He initially heard a growl about a mile deep into the range, it was Max, his paw was hurt.
Kapu said, “I think seeing him hurt and knowing that his owners were waiting for him, it’s just all the drive in the world to just not care how heavy he was or care what I am going to have to encounter.”
Kapu carried 50-pound Max through the brush and mud, and finally, Max was reunited with his family.
Grace said, “Kim made a comment about him being an angel because we were all strangers and now we’re friends he brought us together.”
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Aside from a hurt paw, Max’s owners said he’s feeling a little tired but is doing well. The owners are just happy to have him back home.