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A Soldier’s Know-How Pays Off: Man Leads Rescue of a Dog Trapped on a Hillside in Hawaii

Mysterious, distant barking kept people up at night. Fortunately, those people were soldiers.

Michael Leaverton  |  Apr 26th 2013

For two days, residents who lived in the Aliamanu Military Reservation on the Hawaiian island of Oahu heard barking — faint, plaintive barking, which needled their souls.

Divina Rocco and her family couldn’t take it anymore.

“The dog sounded like it was in distress,” she told, “and it was distressing us.”

Her husband, Roy, and a bunch of neighborhood boys headed up the hill to look for the dog. They found nothing other than a lot of wet, dense, dangerous Hawaii hillside. They came back down. Roy couldn’t let it go. He hiked up two more times alone, but again couldn’t find the dog — just more of that sad, lonely barking.

“He kept trying to think of different ways and he couldn’t sleep because it felt like he really needed to rescue that dog,” Divina said.

The next day, Roy and Divina hiked up the other side of the mountain and got lucky — they spotted the dog. He was stuck on a ledge, on the side of a hill on the military base.

They dutifully called the military police, who called animal control. That set off a chain of events that went … nowhere. Apparently, no one had the proper equipment to do the rescue.

“They pretty much gave up on it,” Divina said.

Roy didn’t. He was a solider himself. He got some some fellow soldiers from Schofield’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, got some rappelling gear, and hiked up the hill. They saved the dog themselves.

Soon they were all safe on the ground. The dog — a girl — was fine, just a little shaken and hungry.

“She’s in good condition, thank goodness,” said Divina. “I was really extra worried about her because last night it was raining cats and dogs all night long.”

The dog was transferred to the Hawaiian Humane Society, and unless an owner comes forward, she’ll be available for adoption. Thanks to her news exposure, she probably won’t have much trouble.

“I think the dog was probably really scared and would have just stayed there and probably starved to death,” Divina said. “It breaks my heart to even imagine an animal or any creature to go through that.”


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