Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Changing of the Guard

The flying community has lost one of our longest serving members. Kui Michelmore passed on April 7, 2015. For 16 years Kui served as the Top Dog of the Hawaii Paragliding Association. Kui was the beloved soul mate of Pete Michelmore, whose accomplishments in our world were enhanced by his four legged partner. She passed where she started, at David Michelmore's house, in the presence of David, Pete's brother, and Shirley Michelmore, Pete's mother.

When this furry black pup was dropped in Pete's hands many years ago, who knew what an impact she
would have on his life, and all of ours. She learned to climb ladders just to follow Pete up on roofs. She flew with Pete in the early years and she was hooked on paragliding. She would bark and beg to go as Pete launched and would be there in the LZ to greet him, and all who landed there. She got her last flight a few years ago, after a special harness was made for her. Her flight made CNN and local news stations around the country.

Anyone that has flown the hallowed sites of Oahu and has been chased down by the pup known as Kui, knows the feeling that I feel right now.

Kui knew she was pushing the limits of age, but would not leave Pete without a replacement. Then out of the blue, Koa, a black lab retriever mix, came into Pete's life, a few days ago. Kui took the pup under her wing and gave him the crash course. Kui was barely holding on when she introduced Koa to Uncle Dave and Grandma Shirley. Her job in life was done, and she left Koa to keep watch. Koa will have some big paws to fill, but he seems to be fitting in.

Kui was laid to rest on Michelmore ground, with family and friends in attendance. She was an awesome part of many lives and will be missed but never forgotten. Please add some of your memories to the comment section of this post.


Thom said...

On one of my first solo flights at Kahana I was chased down by Kui and greeted in the KeyHole LZ. I knew then that I was approved and officially a flying monkey.

Kui was super smart. One day, I stopped at the Gravity House on the hill in Kaneohe. We were going to car pool to Nanakuli along the way we would drop off Kui at Grandma's house. Kui did not know the plan but also did not want to be left behind. She was barking at the door of Pete's truck when I told her, "Kui, we are not taking Pete's truck, we are all going in my truck".

She stopped barking, cocked her head and stared at me as I told her this. I did not point or tell her anything else, in fact she may have never even been in my truck. But she stood up, ran up the driveway on to the street and up to the door of my truck. She sat there and stared back at me, like ok I'm ready lets go.

I couldn't believe it, she listened to me intensely and then I am guessing understood every word. I said Pete did you see that. Pete responded she's smart.

Aloha Kui, Fly the endless flight, See you in the skies.

Joey said...

Kui girl was one of a kind. She was a puppy at heart.

I will never forget the time I came home from deployment and Kui saw me come off the plane. She walked around the fence and came out on the tarmac to greet me with hugs and licks. It had been 6 months..

Another great memory was when Pete and Kui came over to my condo. Pete and I were down the street in the pool where Kui had never been. Kui wanted to be with us so bad, she managed to escape by opening a screen door (after clawing every single one), jumped over the 4' railing. Pete and I were in the pool when all of a sudden Kui showed up out of no where with a running leap right into the pool. All we could do was look at each other and laugh.

Kui was a part of all of us and will be missed greatly.

Aloha you little fuzzy bear.

Alex said...

Thanks for the heartfelt story Thom. Kui was the sweetest mellowest dog ever. I always loved how she would follow us out to the beach and then plop herself down right in the shore break, to cool down. And man did she love to greet us on our landing approaches! She is in doggie heaven now frolicking with Heeners, her beloved predecessor who probably broke the record for longevity at 20 plus years. But 16 years is not a bad run either! I'm glad that Koa has found Pete to shepherd him from here on out.

vin said...

sucks. Pete I am so sorry.

Anonymous said...

I remember hanging out with Kui at Pete's place when I first started learning. I volunteered to cut her hair and 3 hours later, I was still not finished but she just stood there patiently. What an awesome dog - Kui was truly great!

Anonymous said...

That last one was from Allegra :)

Bon Bon said...

I have so many memories of Kui...I could go on forever, but I'll stick with just a few.......

Kui did everything. She never wanted to be left alone. Always wanted to be included. She would get so sad when she knew she was about to get left behind; you could tell by the look in her eyes.

Kui was so special to me that I've been wanting to put a video together for her for a long, long time. When I found out she was sick, I knew I needed to take the time to sit down and do it. Then, suddently, Pete text me to share the sad news. I sat down that night and searched and searched for photos and clips, and completed it.

I tried to portray how any different things she was always willing to do with us. She enjoyed hiking, camping, swimming, cuddling, SUP, digging in the sand, getting buried in the sand (she tolerated it, at least), running on the beach, paragliding, chasing pilots who were lanidng, riding in cars, 'fishing' for bones in her pool, climbing name it. As long as she was with someone she knew, she was happy.

She was such a good, caring, happy doggie. I can't think of one bad thing about Kui.

I remember when Pete and Joey told me about her breaking out of the condo and running down the road to where they were, only to bust in the fence to the pool and dive right in next to them! That was amazing! She didn't even know where they were...but she was destined to find them. We called her Kudini after that.

I wish I could tell a story for every picture I shared of her - as each one has it's own background. There is one photo that isn't that great - but I love it. I took her camping on Secret Island with me, I was with my friends and their kids. Kui wanted to be their protector and it was obvious. We put a mattress on top of the picnic tables underneath "hammock city"....that was one of the kids' beds for the night and Kui jumped up on top of the picnic table with the happiest--proudest--face as if saying, "I am here to protect you." It was precious. One of the other boys decided to sleep out on the beach and we snapped a shot of Kui sleeping next to him later on in the night. The protector.

One time, we were eating a steak and we wanted to test her. We had survellance video and left the steak on a plate on the coffee table and watched her from the other room. She slowly looked around, as if thinking, 'are they really going to leave me alone, next to this steak?' She waited. She slowly looked around again. Slowly walked towards the plate. Looked around....then SNATCHED the steak and ran! We were cracking up!!

One time, I was "sick" in bed for several days....Kui stayed in bed with me and didn't leave my side the whole time.

...I took the photo on the cover of the story when I recently visited in February. That was the last time I got to hug her; and the time that I said goodbye to her.

She was, truly....the best dog ever. She has friends from all around the world from people who visited and met her and even they talk about how great she was and have shared their condolences to Pete, Dave, and Shirley. ...I'm sorry for your loss. Here is a video, for Kui; enjoy the memories:

~Bon Bon

Bon Bon said...

P.S. Great write-up, Sidehill. Either you're getting better, or you had a lot of help! :-P

Gravity said...

Thanks for the memories. I still can't hold back the tears when I see her face.
I built her a memorial garden in the back yard on top of her grave, and Koa the puppy and I hang out there with Kui every afternoon. It's a very peaceful spot.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for you loss, Pete. She was a cool dog!