Dawne Morningstar of the Kauai Humane Society got in some quality time with Hok Get at the shelter yesterday beside part of the huge collection of toys that have been donated to the dog.

Tanker dog has
home of plenty

Hok Get will get a new doghouse
and lifetime supply of food

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Hok Get has everything a tanker dog could want -- even her own life vest, a symbol of her plight at sea four months ago.

Her guardian, Michael Kuo, needs very little to prepare for Hok Get's return to Oahu tomorrow, thanks to the generosity of residents and others worldwide who have provided a lifetime supply of food, a doghouse and an array of toys.

"People are very thoughtful," Kuo said.

Accompanied by Dr. Becky Rhoades, executive director of the Kauai Humane Society, the 2-year-old mixed terrier is expected to arrive at Honolulu Airport at 9:58 a.m. tomorrow after completing her 120-day quarantine period.

Hok Get became known around the world after intensive coverage by international news agencies. She was left behind unintentionally on a crippled Indonesian oil tanker for nearly a month after April 2 when its crew was rescued by a cruise ship. The Insiko 1907 was adrift in the water 220 miles south of the Big Island on March 13 when an engine room fire cut the tanker's power and communications. The fire also claimed the life of a Chinese crew member, whose body remained on board.

There were three attempts at rescuing the dog, the third being on April 26 when crew members of the American Marine Corp. tugboat were able to remove her from the tanker.

Two of the three attempts -- one was by a fishing vessel in the area -- cost the Hawaiian Humane Society at least $50,000. A month later, the Coast Guard sank the tanker off Kalaeloa after workers pumped more than 296,000 gallons of fuel, oil and water from the vessel. Medical examiners have yet to make a positive identification on the crew member who died on the tanker.

After the crew members' rescue from the oil tanker, senior officer Chung Chin Po, who owns Hok Get, returned to Taiwan and decided to let his friend Kuo care for the mixed terrier while he was assigned to a new route.

"We are very excited and happy," said Kuo, who will be taking care of Hok Get at his home on the Leeward Coast.

"He's (Chung) excited that she's coming home. He trusts me that I would take care of the dog for him."

Because of his busy schedule, Chung is unable to visit Hok Get.

"He's very concerned about Hok Get," Kuo said.

During her stay in quarantine, Kuo visited Hok Get five times so she could get accustomed to him and his family.

"He's afraid of strangers. Maybe (it will) take time," Kuo said.

Along with the numerous toys Hok Get received, a spokesperson from IAMS, a mainland-based dog and cat food company, is expected to present a lifetime supply of dog food for Hok Get after her release tomorrow.

Two months ago, a board member from the Hawaiian Humane Society donated a doghouse to Kuo for Hok Get. After Kuo gets Hok Get situated at his Leeward Coast home, he plans to enroll the mixed terrier in obedience school.

Kuo thanked the Hawaiian Humane Society, the American Marine Corp. and others who helped rescue Hok Get from the derelict tanker.

"It's finally a happy ending. He can enjoy life in paradise," he said.

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