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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, August 31, 2002

Castaway canine Hokget heads to new home in 'Ewa

See video of Hokget's arrival from Kaua'i (RealPlayer required)
Previous story:
Canine castaway moving to new home

By Shayna Coleon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hokget, the celebrity canine.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

Hokget officially became a pet pooch again yesterday, cradled in the arms of her new owner at Honolulu International Airport.

The nearly 3-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix, made famous by her plight aboard a derelict ocean tanker for 24 days, began her new life with Michael and Helen Kuo after completing 120 days of quarantine.

Kuo held the dog in his arms like a baby while speaking to more than 30 people from the media and public during a press conference.

Hokget, the castaway pooch, received a warm welcome yesterday from her new owners, Michael and Helen Kuo of 'Ewa Beach, at Honolulu International Airport. The 3-year-old terrier-mix completed her quarantine period on Kaua'i.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

"Hokget will definitely be a big part of our lives," said Kuo, a longtime friend of the dog's former owner, Capt. Chung Chin-po. "If it wasn't for the effort many of you made, this would not have been possible."

Chung was the senior officer of the tanker Insiko 1907, which was disabled by a March 31 fire in its engine room. Chung and most of his crew were rescued by the passing cruise ship Norwegian Star on April 2. But the dog and the remains of a crewman who died in the fire were left behind.

Hawai'i animal-lovers learned of the abandonment and the Hawaiian Humane Society led a massive effort to find the tanker and save the dog.

Hokget, whose plight made international headlines, was rescued April 26 by the crew of a tugboat sent to tow the tanker to Honolulu from about 250 miles east of Johnston Atoll.

"It was just the circumstance that the dog was floating around on that ship all by itself," said Gina Kawananakoa, who was so moved by the saga that she pitched in to help pay for the search. "When I found out that the boat was adrift with Hokget on it, I felt like I had to do something," she said yesterday as Hokget was being welcomed at the airport.

After Hokget was rescued, she was delivered to quarantine at the Kaua'i Humane Society, where she spent almost four months in a spacious room in Kipu.

"I love this dog," said Becky Rhoades, executive director of the Kaua'i Humane Society. "She spent 24 days all by herself, and that shows the spunk of this little dog."

During her stay on Kaua'i, Hokget was visited by tourists and school groups, and singer Henry Kapono even wrote a song about her.

Pamela Burns, president of the Hawaiian Humane Society, said she was surprised at how much fame Hokget received in the past five months but was pleased to see Hokget finally settled with the Kuos.

Kuo said he readily accepted when Chung asked him to take care of Hokget because the captain's duties in Taiwan would keep him from claiming Hokget.

"Capt. Chung said, 'never lose hope,' and that's what this rescue effort was about," Kuo said. "Now, we can give her a better life."

The 22-pound dog looked nervous and was trembling under all the attention she was receiving yesterday, but Kuo said he would take Hokget to her new home in 'Ewa Beach to calm her.

Awaiting Hokget will be a dog house, a lifetime supply of dog food and maybe even a "cookie or a treat," Kuo said with a smile.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.