Keoki provided me with 8 years of safety, guidance, and companionship which enabled me to have a meaningful and purposeful life. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) when I was 12. Like so many individuals who experience the symptoms of BPD I was unable to have and maintain relationships, my daily functioning was severely impaired, I couldn't hold a job or stay enrolled in school, and I had attempted to end my life over 20 times which resulted in 11 psychiatric hospitalizations. I didn't think I could reach the age of 30 and the truth is my friends and family didn't think I would either until I met a little abandoned puppy in an alley in Compton. I took him home, fleas and all, and my life completely changed for the better.
Since the first day I brought Keoki home, he taught me how to have empathy, care for others, and make meaningful relationships. I invested my time and money to have him certified as a service dog and my life completely turned around. His kindness and love empowered me to be in public spaces, including school and work, meet new people, get treatment, and help me cope with my suicidal ideation. Since he came into my life I stopped needing to be hospitalized to stay safe, he would be with me during intense moments of pain and I could find hope in knowing that he would be there with me in the morning. His assistance was invaluable and before he passed I had my own apartment, a full-time job, and loving friends and family.
On January 10, 2022 Keoki was attacked by two pitbulls and later died in the veterinarian emergency room. ABC and KTLA 5 covered the stories, which you can view here: Service dog dies after being attacked by two pit bulls in Koreatown and Koreatown woman mourns service dog that was killed by neighbors’ pit bulls .
After the attack, I brought him to the incredible heroes at Metropolitan Animal Specialty Hospital, where they worked tirelessly on repairing his injuries but were unable to revive him after he went into cardiac arrest after his surgery. I can't express my gratitude for the staff at the hospital who also have a social worker that has helped guide me through the process of trying to honor his life so that I may get my life back.
Since this catastrophic event, I have lost my job and have lost my apartment. My friends and family have been helping me stay safe during intense moments of suicidal ideation. I've been trying my best to grieve and be productive but without Keoki to help me cope with my symptoms of BPD it has felt impossible.
I am fundraising to ask those who may understand this pain and the challenges of having a mental illness, or may have had the pleasure of meeting Keoki, to help me honor his life.
With the help of the veterinary social worker, I have decided to have him buried, with a funeral service, and have a paw taxidermied. I also would like to pay back the generous friend that covered Keoki's medical expenses after the attack so that he could receive treatment. I am also asking for assistance to pay the legal fees I've incurred while trying to get justice for Keoki's death.
Thank you for reading Keoki's story and to everyone for all the love and support during this time! I am so grateful for every kind word, warm smile, and thoughtful gesture I have experienced since his death. Any form of support is appreciated, any small donation, or even a share on your social media, will make a difference.
If you would like more information about him, you can also look at his old instagram page @keokihoneyangel.