Dog found buried in sand shows remarkable resilience


Exactly one month ago, a dog was found buried alive in sand at a Waianae beach.

Leialoha was rescued just in time, and showing remarkable resilience.

Just as remarkable is the amount of love and attention Leialoha is getting not just from dog lovers here, but all over the world.

Leialoha looks much like any other pitbull mix, recovering from malnutrition, skin infection, and severe sunburn, much to the delight of her veterinarian.

“She’s just a completely different dog, the way she was and how abnormal her blood work was, and everything, it’s normalized within three weeks and she’s just doing spectacularly,” said Dr. Kelly Dowdall-Garberson, veterinarian at Aloha Affordable Veterinary Services.

Leialoha was found buried in sand on July 9 at Lualualei Beach Park. The story drew outrage, which quickly spread on social media.

“We never in a million years expected it to reach quite as far as it did. This beautiful blanket that was made specifically for her, a prayer blanket that actually came in from Canada,” said Kuulei Durand, executive director of Paws of Hawaii.

A foster family is taking care of her for now. But Paws of Hawaii is setting her up with a forever home. Durand says more than a hundred people have shown interest, from places both near and far.

“We had a countess from Austria actually say that she would send a plane to fly and pick her up and bring her there,” said Durand.

But the family chosen is from the Big Island, who Durand says has constantly checked on Leialoha’s condition from the start, and has sent her care packages regularly.

“You can already just tell they love her so much and they have a fantastic yard and home for her to come and live in. We’re actually gonna be flying over there with her,” said Durand.

The family has three other dogs, so Leialoha will have plenty of playmates. Paws of Hawaii will take her to meet with her new family in about a couple of weeks.

HPD has opened an animal cruelty case but there are no suspects at this point.

There’s a meet and greet event for Leialoha on Saturday at the Aloha Affordable Veterinary Services at Pearl Kai Shopping Center.

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