I recently had the opportunity to dogsit for a cute pooch named Shadrach, on Kipapa Road, in rural Kauai. Even though I’ve been visiting Kauai for almost 30 years, this was an area I’d not yet discovered, inland about four miles, upcountry, on the east side of the island.
Kipapa Road is a dead-end street, with maybe 20 homes of varying size, age and upkeep. The rare one is abandoned, and possibly could be yours for the right price.
Residents are retirees, young professionals, children, first-year college students home for the holidays, cattle, horses, dogs, and an abundance of wild chickens. Friends live next door and down the street, share holiday meals, and know that if they ever need help or support, a neighbor will be close by.
On each of my five days on Kipapa Road, Shadrach and I would go for walks. Some days we would turn right at the end of the driveway, sometimes left. When we turned left, I could see the waterfalls cascading down the mountains in the distance.
Dogs are great. Even though he’d done these walks hundreds of times, he seemed to have a new-found delight for the smells along the way. It felt like I wasn’t the only one new to the street. He always stopped to watch the ducks, maybe hoping that this would be the day he would be free of his leash to chase them (don’t worry, Mom, Photoshop removed his leash in the photo below, not me).
The nice thing about walking a dog is you get to know your neighbors, and since they all knew Shadrach, many of them would stop and talk to me as they drove by, even though we’d never met. For five days, I felt like a part of their little community.
Many dogs live on Kipapa Road. On Day 3, I got a visit from Diggity (love that name!), a sweet neighbor pup who decided he didn’t feel like being home alone that day. Maybe he was the canine equivalent of a Welcome Wagon ambassador because he stayed the entire day. Through Diggity, I met his mom, who brought me delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice the next day.
I hope to get back one day to Kipapa Road and visit Shadrach and his mom, but until then I’ll be content to know that there are peaceful rural communities on Kauai, just a few miles but seemingly worlds away from the thousands of tourists. I feel lucky that for five days I was allowed to be a part of this secret place.