The same day a woman was attacked this month while trying to keep her small dog out of reach of a charging pit bull in an Olinda pine forest, another dog was attacked in the Makawao Forest Reserve.
Casper, an 11 1/2-year-old female Dalmation, was recuperating and out of commission for several days after being attacked by two dogs at midday Aug. 2, said owners Scott Stephens and Janet Ghiselin of Kihei.
"We're really lucky they didn't kill her," Ghiselin said. "She was bleeding horribly."
Stephens said he was walking with Casper in the forest when he saw the two dogs approaching and put Casper on her leash.
When Stephens yelled out, "Are your dogs friendly?," they began running toward Casper, he said. One dog was a shepherd mix weighing about 80 pounds, the other was a mixed breed weighing about 60 pounds - about the same as Casper.
"The way they were looking at us looked a little intimidating," Stephens said. "I could only slow the big dog down. That's why the little one jumped on her first."
He said the owner of the two dogs "came running around when all hell broke loose.
"That's when we got control of the small one," Stephens said.
But then he said the larger dog jumped in, tumbling Casper to the ground. The larger dog had its mouth on Casper's neck when Stephens said he feared the worst.
"I had to stick my hand in the dog's mouth and prop it open" to get it off Casper, said Stephens, who also was bitten.
"Casper went running away. She didn't even fight back," Stephens said. "That's the sad part. She was basically yelping and trying to run away."
Stephens had to first find Casper, then he carried her out of the forest.
The other dogs' owner went with Stephens to the Makawao Veterinary Clinic, paying the $500 cost for the visit. The attack wasn't reported to police or the Maui Humane Society.
"My immediate concern was more about getting her fixed up than getting the police or Humane Society on him," Stephens said. "I just was making sure she got all the attention and was better."
Added Ghiselin: "This dog is the love of our life. We didn't report it because the man loves his dogs. It might have been just a real freak kind of incident."
Casper required stitches to her neck, side and thigh, as well as a tube to drain fluid from her thigh. She also suffered bruises and a hematoma on the bottom of her belly. Five shaved areas on her body required medical attention.
When she's healthy, Casper accompanies her owners while they work at an activity sales business at Maalaea Harbor. While she was recuperating from the attack, regular visitors at the harbor activities business were concerned that she wasn't there, Ghiselin said.
"People from all over the world know her," Ghiselin said of the fun-loving and beautiful black-and-white spotted dog. "They will come back for their activities every year."
Casper had her stitches removed Wednesday and has been back with Stephens at her work post for the past six years and pleasing customers.
"She's back at work in the harbor, so her friends can see her," Ghiselin said. "So she's happy and acting almost normal."
Stephens said he has hiked in the forest reserve often for the past five years, and it was the first time he had experienced a dog attack.
"It's just sad that people can't control their dogs, and they're going to let them off leash to attack people or animals," he said. "It's a pretty simple solution - keep your dog on the leash, or train them."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.