HONOLULU (KHON2) — He’s a cameraman, adventurer and the host of the television series “Everything Hawaii,” which showcases the diversity and tropical elements of the Big Island. Kawika Singson is also the person folks can call on to rescue their four-legged friends stuck in dangerous situations.
From rappelling off cliffs to squeezing into deep volcanic fissures, Singson has rescued three dogs so far, reuniting them with their families all with a happy ending.
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“Most of my followers know that I’m an avid adventurer who loves anything physical and I also love animals,” said Singson. “So they would tag me.”
On Monday, Feb. 7, Singson got a text early that morning to rescue a dog that fell in a deep hole, located in a heavily dense tropical forest just outside of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The dog had been in the fissure for about a day and a half.
“We found the dog thanks to Cody and his GPS — very smart of him. He had his GPS tracker on his dog,” Singson said in his video. “Without that tracker, that dog would have never ever been found. There’s no way.”
“Also, lucky I’m as small and skinny as I am because there’s no way any person bigger than I am would have fit in there,” he continued, “because as I went down, the crack got narrower and narrower. So I’m glad I’m kind of a small person. The dog was very happy to see me.”
Singson drove about 100 miles each way, hiked one and a half miles each way, and rappelled down 25 feet to rescue the dog — and those aren’t the only lengths he’s willing to go.
Last July, someone reached out to Singson about a dog that could be heard barking over a 120-foot cliff. The dog had been there for at least a few days.
“The homeowner could hear the dog barking but couldn’t see it,” he explained. “After a day or two, the homeowner called the authorities, but they deemed it too dangerous unless there was a human life involved. As a last resort, I was contacted. I said, ‘Sure!'”
Singson got his climbing gear and headed straight to Honomu to answer the bark for help. He says finding the dog was the easy part — and he did so within five minutes.
“Going up was very difficult, and I had no idea I was in heavily dense shrubs with heavy saturation of fire ants!” he said. “But as painful and itchy as it was, I was on a mission to save this dog. If I wasn’t there, there was no doubt that dog would’ve perished.”
Singson slowly worked his way up about 75 feet through fire ant infested shrubs with the dog in his backpack. He eventually left his bag behind and physically carried the 50-pound dog in his arms, all while trying to hang on to the rope and his camera.
Once Singson and the dog made it back up, he realized the severity of the fire ant bites.
“By the time I got back to Kona, the full effect of the fire ant swelling was in effect,” he said. “It took about three days of swelling and itching to subside.”
In another rescue scenario, Singson recalls there being chatter on Facebook for several days about a little lost dog named Shirley, who was old and mostly blind.
“She was last seen at the edge of a deep and steep gulch. It was assumed that she fell over the edge,” Singson said. “After several days of no sign of Shirley, I went out there after being contacted.”
When Singson asked the owner of the dog how many people came out to look for Shirley, he said no one — Singson was the first. After surveying the area, he decided to go down the steep gulch where the dog was last seen.
Similar to the Honomu incident, Singson rappelled down a 100-foot cliff and found the dog within five minutes once he reached the bottom.
“Poor little Shirley, she was shivering and scared. Remember, she’s old and blind,” he said. “She was in the middle of a dry riverbed.”
Singson adds that it was a good thing it didn’t rain because if the riverbed overflowed, Shirley would never have been found.
“Shirley was found directly 100 feet below where she was last seen. She sat there for three days and nights by herself shivering in the cold dark night,” said Singson. “I’m glad I made the effort to go and look. If I hadn’t been there, there’s no doubt that she would’ve never been found.”
Once he worked his way back up to the top, the owner was there waiting.
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“She actually started wagging her cute little tail and that just made my day,” he said.