An impressive black and tan German Shepherd dog, she was named after the small town of Kona, located on the big island of Hawaii. Its meaning, leeward, refers to the dry side of the island, and it’s an expansive section of coastline. Her family had fond memories of their time on the island. Now four, she had lived with her family since she was eight weeks old. Sadly, her human mom had contracted a progressively debilitating disease. And Kona’s love of being glued to her mom now meant that even a slight unintentional bump from Kona could cause her mom to fall and be injured. After much anguished soul-searching, the family finally knew that they must relinquish her to rescue. When they brought her in, they shared a huge album filled with photos documenting Kona’s world so that our volunteers would know her history and her life. The couple tearfully shared story after story about their beloved dog and their memories of her. And when it was time to leave, they walked away with their heads hanging and their hearts heavy.
We quickly placed Kona in a foster home with an older dog and a cat. Cats were new to Kona, and she tried to practice restraint, but if the cat ran, Kona would follow! But she adored her new foster mom and was always at her side. Kona tipped the scales at about 100 pounds, so you can imagine the challenge of navigating your home with a large dog underfoot. In addition, Kona was a pro at counter surfing, hand mouthing, couch jumping, and dinner stealing. So a refresher in House Manners 101 was in order. But she was smart and willing and fast to learn, and she flourished in her foster home. She loved car rides, long walks, fun toys, and napping in her cushy crate.
I tuned into her and asked her what she was looking for in a home. Her answer: to be accepted for who she was. On her terms.
As we got to know her, we learned that she had a special talent for opening gates. And on her occasional visits to doggie daycare, it wasn’t uncommon for her to open the gates connecting the play areas of the big dogs and the little dogs to let them mingle. She also managed to let herself out of the playground by opening two gates in succession. Maybe she was channeling her inner Harry Houdini? Unfortunately and perhaps due to missing her original family, Kona developed separation anxiety, and it was challenging for her to left alone.
So we searched for a quiet home with another confident dog and humans who were home a lot. The brilliant part of this story is that a couple became interested in Kona as a companion for their dog Buck. They had tons of experience with separation anxiety since Buck suffered from it, so Kona’s issues wouldn’t be daunting for them. Here’s the twist. The couple thought that Buck wasn’t very playful, and they were looking for a mellow companion for him. Turns out the reason Buck wasn’t playful is that he never had another canine to play with! Things are party central in Buck and Kona’s home now, and from reports the first night was pretty wild. But all is settled now, and everyone is happy and in love. And no more separation anxiety for Kona! In addition to opening gates, Kona loves water. Her new home has a fish pond, and splashing around in it has become one of her favorite things, although Buck was always a little indifferent to it.
We hear that things in her new home are going beautifully. Kona and Buck are bonded playmates. And that fish pond that Buck never was interested in? Well, apparently Kona showed him how much fun that could be. Luckily, Kona’s new family thinks that the dogs’ penchant for the pond is adorable!
When I tapped into Kona to ask her why she thought her new family chose her, she offered me one word. Adequate. Which means acceptable in quantity or quality. I’d always thought of the word in terms of “that will do.” I now have a different understanding of it. In Kona’s world, it means to be accepted for what you are. Wholly accepted. Worthy. What a beautiful word. And exactly what she was looking for.