FIRST PHOTO: After using sign language to instruct him to close the door, former U.S. Navy SEAL Kimo Akaka watches as his new assistance dog, Akamai, does the job Friday afternoon at the Assistance Dogs of Hawaii facility in Makawao. The 17-year veteran, an Oahu resident, suffered a stroke in 2011 that left him without speech and only limited mobility. Akamai has been in training for eight months and has worked with Akaka for the past week. The pair already are developing a strong bond. Using pen and paper to express his appreciation, Akaka said that Akamai will make a very big difference in his life, doing everything from small chores to dialing 911, if needed. Also Friday, another assistance dog wrapped up training and was placed with Pat Brilaut of the Hilo prosecutor's office. Faith, a black lab, is scheduled to be a courthouse dog, helping victims and witnesses, including children, get through the court process.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo