A Community Of Dogs

A view from the top of our condo building with Diamond Head in the background.

A view from the top of our condo building with Diamond Head in the background.

From the top of our condo, urban Honolulu looks to be an undifferentiated mass of concrete spreading out to Diamond Head in the East and the Pacific Ocean to the South.

In reality, this sprawl is an aggregation of smaller land parcels each with a distinct flavor and character.

In the olde days (note use of extraneous “e” to signify a really long time ago), the Hawaiian people had a complex scheme for land division.

Looking out to sea from the top of our condo.

Looking out to sea from the top of our condo.

A whole island, or mokupuni, was divided in smaller parts, down to a basic unit belonging to a single family.

Each mokupuni was divided into several moku, the largest units within each island, usually wedge-shaped and running from the mountain crest to shore. O`ahu was divided into six moku.

Each moku was divided into ahupua`a, narrower wedge-shaped land sections that again ran from the mountains to the sea. Within the ahupua`a, `ili were smaller divisions (two or three per ahupua`a) that constituted the estate of the chief.

A gathering of small fluff pups and their human companions, catching up on the news of the day.

A gathering of small fluff pups and their human companions, catching up on the news of the day.

It was a particularly clever approach to establishing sustainable areas , ecosystems really, that contained all the elements needed for survival from fresh water streams and high mountain fruits and vegetables to ocean areas, fish ponds and wetlands.

Today we have neighborhoods and Honolulu is well known for the variety and distinctiveness of its ‘hoods.

Max’s neighborhood is Pawa`a in the Waikiki ahupua`a. Literally translated, Pawa`a means ‘canoe enclosure, and it is thought that canoes were brought to this area from Waikiki. According to legend, Pawa`a is also the name of an ancient chief (aliʻi) who hailed from nearby Manoa Valley.

Sophie & Prince

That’s Prince Charming (the Dogfather) on the left and Max’s crush Sophie on the right.

Pawa`a is not only the crossroads of urban Honolulu, it is a community of dogs. Our condo and all those on the same block are dog-friendly. In our dense living environment, that means a lot of dogs and we all have gotten to know each other, at least by sight, and by wave of a hand clutching the ubiquitous poo bag.

The Poodle Girls,wearing their summer frocks. Bijoux on the left and Miss Luna on the right.

The Poodle Girls,wearing their summer frocks. Bijoux on the left and Miss Luna on the right.

We have a veritable infestation of canines on our block. We have pugs and pitbulls, Lhasa Apsos and Chihuahuas, German Shepherds and Shih-Tzu galore and, of course, plentiful numbers of mixed breed “poi dogs.”

It's fun when the elevator doors open to a floor and the folks waiting are presented with a car full of dogs.

It’s fun when the elevator doors open to a floor and the folks waiting are presented with a car full of dogs. Note the deluxe footwear of dog owners.

In our condo alone there must be a couple dozen pooches and most of the time we greet each other en passant as we dutifully head to the curb, bag in hand, to await whatever gift our pet chooses to bestow. Sometimes our schedules coincide and we gather in the building’s lobby area for a Yappy Hour, a Dog Party, a mingling of fluff-pups and owners.

There’s a certain subgroup that seems to congregate. The cast includes the pretty poodles Bijoux and Luna, the mighty Dogfather Prince Charming, Max’s Lhasa Apso girlfriend Sophie, and the Malt himself. These pupperoni are a civilized gang who happily merge, transact a perfunctory sniff of each other’s rear ends and then sit on the floor with their butts targeted to their owners.

Other small dogs are welcome and from time to time Stuart Little, a Dachshund/Pomeranian mix or even Miss Kiku the champion Yorkie may be spotted. You know these pupsicles; they’ve each been featured in this silly dog blog in previous posts.

While the dogs take their leisure, the owners gab about condo events and neighborhood matters, the newest restaurants and movies, who moved in and who moved out and where the best deals are for papaya and poke. In other words, the stuff of daily life, the common speech of folks living together.

He doesn't seem distressed so I'll go with the theory that this an affectionate sleeper hold on the Malt.

He doesn’t seem distressed so I’ll go with the theory that this an affectionate AJF sleeper hold on the Malt.

Ultimately, however, chat time is over and the elevator gets packed with pooches for the return home. There, Max gets either a warm hug from his Mama or strangled, I can’t be sure what’s going on.

Whether called an ahupua`a or simply the ‘hood, these small parcels of land and life define us and we, in particular, are enriched by the company of our dogs.

Categories: Max's Stories

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

37 replies

    • Thanks, Mark. Honolulu is a very compact place and we crowd a lot of stuff into a small area, especially when you consider the diversity of ethnicities that make up our population. We have many “mini-hoods” literally different on a block by block basis.


      • My dear wife Karen and I visited in 2010. We stayed on the tourist strip on Waikiki Beach, one night, after getting off the Norewegian cruise with ports of call at Maui, Hilo, Kona and Kuwai. I thought Honolulu rocked. We took the bus to Pearl Harbor, and walked the strip up by Diamond Head and down by the malls, visited the aquarium, ate grilled lobster and watched the U of Hawaii football game with locals at an outdoor cafe. Great memories, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Max, I just love the picture of Honolulu life, and your little furry friends. I have several furry friends on my street that I visit on a regular basis and a couple that live long distance also. The love in return that I get back is just unexplainable. Our Heart felt thanks for thinking of us,
    Buddy and Audrey

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Audrey! Furry friends are best! They are so fast to assess a new person and decide if that person should be allowed “in the group.” Pretty good judges of character, methinks. Best to you and Buddy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Max for the lovely note. Buddy and I find you e-mails so enjoyable, and interesting to read, We so look forward to hearing from you. Stay cool,
        Audrey & Buddy


  2. The social interaction looks so beautifully polished and civilised that I’m afraid poor Genis (not a gentleman by any standard) would be at a loss on your side of Paradise. He is more at ease in our overgrown bush and on the isolated beaches. Interesting history of property distribution and the development of the “hoods”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, Lois, we have a herd (technically a “clowder”) of feral cats that live on and around the property that are cared for by area residents. The cats do a good job of policing the rodent population and are tolerated well by the dog pack except for Sophie who is very much alpha female and feels obligated to attack cats at any opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back, Max! Your absence has been noted and we’ve missed you. As always an astute observation on the goings-on around paradise. I’m always impressed by biped footwear on the island, especially when accompanied by a fully decked out pooch. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • One thing that mitigates the cost of living here (at least to a small degree) is that we don’t need much in the way of clothing and footwear. Tee shirts, shorts and a pair of cheap slippers covers most events except funerals when you wear a better pair of slippers out of respect for the deceased.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. So then do you hear a lot of yappy barking from all the other dog-owners? Barking dogs awake me each morning at 6:30am from nearby yards. All the dogs look small. Is there a rule for the condos? I recall living in an apt and having to pay a $500 deposit for my blue heeler at the time. Small ones were cheaper. In any event, I can see why he likes Sophie. She’s obviously the cutest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Surprisingly our pack of wee doglets is a quiet group. You’re right – usually the little guys are indeed yappy but not in this case. We do not have size or weight limits on condo dogs and consequently have some big ones living here. Most Hawaii condos limit residents to 2 dogs/unit with neither dog weighing more than 20 pounds.

      Sophie is indeed a cutie but she is very alpha. Maybe that is what appeals to meek Max. On the other hand I have extensive experience with the Alpha Japanese Female (AJF) so perhaps submissiveness simply runs in the males of our little family.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Those pooches do indeed have much to do with setting the tone and ambiance of the condo. Without them, many of us may not have become friends. We always joke that we learned the dogs’ names before we learned the human names and the pups’ antics always provide fodder for a conversation.


  5. A small parcel of land may be good but the mutts need a large parcel of field also.
    I can just imagine travelling in a lift with several dogs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are, of course, “condo” dogs who thrive in compact environments. Faced with a large field, they would retreat to their owners legs and quake at the thought of venturing so far away from the sidewalk.


  6. It’s funny seeing all those dogs in the lift. I know there are some dog friendly apartments in Sydney but it’s not that common. At least,it wasn’t. I really appreciate our dog community and our almost daily chats. Losing Spitz has brought our community closer together and there’s also been quite a lot of concern about how he got poisoned. Ian was umming and arring about getting another dog straight away but we both came across an ad for a delightful dog Zac. Zac’s profile also mentioned that he gets on with cats and Ian has an old, rather fragile cat so it just seemed meant to be. I’ll have to post some follow up pictures. Here’s a link to the ad: http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/greta/dogs-puppies/jack-russell-australian-terrior-mix-super-cute-/1086693309 It’s closed now but thre’s still a little portrait. Zack looks like he’d just been to the salon and was airbrushed for this shot. Down at the beach, he’s a different dogs. Until Zac arrived, Bilbo had been the undisputed Ball King of the Dog Beach but Zac is just as focused, determined, fixated but he’s still virtually a pup and he moves so fast down the beach that his little legs whirl. Inevitably, he now gets to the ball before Bilbo who seems to have gracefully accepted that he’s been knocked off his perch by a younger rival. After all this ball chasing through the sand, Zac fluffy face had been schnitzelled with sand and he looked quite the ragamuffin. He hasn’t replaced Spitz and Ian and the dog beach walkers are still grieving and asking questions but when you’re a dog person, you need to have a dog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zac is a handsome pup with a cute furry face. It seems that there are two schools of thought on “replacement pups.” One group asserts that a dog who has passed must be replaced quickly while the other side adamantly rejects a replacement for an extended period of time. Both sides can offer some compelling arguments but ultimately it becomes a personal decision and there are no wrong answers. Fortunately Max is immortal but if he did pass, the AJF says “no more dogs” while I say “sure, let’s get another dog.” I think I’d win that argument but I’m not sure.

      In the meantime, if Bilbo wants some commiseration about what age does to one’s performance on the beach, have him give me a call.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ian and I had quite a talk about things. He really did want to find another Spitz but he was a cross between a German Spitz, a Fox Terrier and unknown and the lady who had bred him had stopped. I told him that if it were his partner who’d died and you went out there looking for an exact replacement, you’d be in deep water but people get a breed of dog and get numerous versions through life and no one batters an eyelid. We adopted Bilbo a week after our last dog passed away and I have to confess that we adopted Lady, before Bilbo went and she has actually revved him up a lot.
        I too can relate to lack of performance on the beach…not just due to age. I was never much of a bikini babe but we can’t be good at everything.


All comments are welcome, so speak! Speak! Good dog.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.