January 25, 2017

Heaven Is Calling...

I posted this eulogy exactly two weeks ago on my Facebook page. I wasn't sure about publishing it here on Insights and Sounds (especially after sharing the passing of our puppy Alyeska), but Lohelani was such an important part of my life that I feel the need to honor her in whatever way I can...

Lohelani, which in Hawaiian means "to hear heaven's calling" was actually born in Honoka'a. Her owners were selling Lohe and her siblings out of a truck in the parking lot of the Parker Ranch shopping center. Having visited the Big Island regularly since 1987, it was inevitable that I would find my sweetheart in a place that is so special to me. I needed to purchase a small crate and an airline ticket to bring her back to Oahu, but her price tag of $25.00 made me feel like I got the deal of the century.

Lohe was super shy and she hid under the seat of the car rental all the way to Hilo. I stopped a couple of times on the road just to make sure she was okay. Back in Honolulu, the bargain puppy proved to be otherwise. I used my tax return to install an expensive wire fence to keep Lohe from uprooting my dad’s favorite plants. In the same week, she got stung by a bee giving her the look of a comical platypus (nothing a $300.00 vet visit couldn’t cure). Being a bachelor, Lohe and I spent much time and adventures together. On our first trip to the North Shore, the pup left a big pile of excrement on the back seat of my truck. It must have smelled bad to her too, because she came up front and stayed there for the entire drive. 

My girl took the arrival of a new woman to the house, my wife Sue, very well and somehow managed to transition into an inside house dog. She even took the arrival of puppy Juneau well, although the early adjustment period was tough for both of us. Being an only dog for the first seven years to having a little creature suddenly jumping on you every other minute was daunting. I slept on the kitchen floor the first night we brought home Juneau just so I could keep them apart. I remember going up to Lohe that night, kissing her on the head, and apologizing for bringing home another dog. She answered me with her soulful, quizzical eyes and the sound of silence. But I knew she would be a good sister to Juneau, and she was.

In the intervening years, Lohe was sometimes the neglected child due to Juneau being the princess of the family. She would defer to Juneau in all things, whether it be drinking from the water dish, or entering/exiting the house. One area Lohe still ruled was receiving hugs and treats from outsiders. Unlike Juneau, Lohe loved people and the attention.
In the past couple of years, Lohe began exhibiting lumps on her underside…fatty tissue that caused enormous swells. Although an exceptionally strong dog, the most recent surgery really took its toll on her health.
In late December (as most of my friends on FB know), Sue and I welcomed Sitka into our home. A rambunctious and rascally pup, Sitka immediately grew fond of Lohe and followed her around like the much revered older sister. I often wondered if Lohe thought to herself, "You're putting me up with another one of these things???" But as she was with Juneau, Lohe was extremely patient and enduring. Even in her declining health, she put up with lots of playful bites, jumping, and general annoyance that one expects from a puppy.

Lohelani went to sleep at 9:37 am on a Wednesday morning...having at last answered heaven’s call. She’s now young and healthy again, meeting her new sister Alyeska for the first time and getting a ton of treats and hugs!
There’s a debate I often hear among Christians about whether dogs (or any pet for that matter) go to heaven. The bible remains quiet on this subject, so anyone's guess is as good as mine. But I think it's incredibly clear to me that God, in His infinite wisdom, created dogs to bring a piece of heaven here to earth.

Until I next see you again my girl, always know how much happiness and love you brought into our lives...

Nov 2002 -Jan 2017

  (Photos Copyright 2017 Len Yokoyama)


Mark Taft said...

Len, what a wonderful tribute! I can hear the love and the pain but ultimately, the love. You're right- what a gift from God our animal friends are!

Len Yokoyama said...

Mahalo Mark for the kind words! It was a tough one to write and re-post, but when I think of all the love and good times Lohe and I shared...the little pain is more than worth it. Thank you for allowing me to share my stories here on I&S! And most of all thank you to our awesome Creator for giving us the blessing of pets!