And one of the best parts was traveling to Hawaii with you're amazing Physical Therapist, Del, and his family!
Toliver was intrigued, but at first a little intimidated, by the Dolphins.
With your encouragement, support from our excellent Dolphin Quest behaviorists, and the benefit of target training he learned in agility class, Toliver gained the confidence to meet your namesake, Nahele face to face!
Nahele, which is Hawaiian for Forrest, was named after you when he was born at Dolphin Quest 3 years ago. While you have Skyped with Nahele before, this was the first time you were able to meet in person! Rascals both of you, you seemed to hit it off immediately!
After all the long months, years really, that Del has spent working with you, it was an incredible thrill to watch the two of you enjoy some playtime with Nahele's sister, Halia.
There was time to play Frisbee with Austin and enjoy your favorite drink, the Lava Flow, in the pool.
And family time with the dolphins.
This trip was an enormous milestone for you and has been a major goal for our family since your accident 5 1/2 years ago. The Dolphin Quest crew, some who have know you and Austin forever, were incredibly gracious and warm in their aloha welcome.
There was only one mishap. Early in the trip we decided to explore the Pu'u huluhulu (shaggy hill in Hawaiian) a volcanic Cindercone. As reported, the path starts off smooth and wide and, as is your style, you charge out in front. Unfortunately, 100 feet up the trail, the wide avenue suddenly turns into a rocky narrow goat path. Just as I call out to Austin to move up in front to spot you, your left leg gives out. In a heartbeat you stumble and fall off the path and down a steep ravine tumbling over the lava rock. Your left side may not be able to support you yet on the uneven ground, but your arms immediately flew up to protect your head as you roll away from us down the hill. We charge down the hill after you but can't catch up. Every parent's nightmare... To see your child in terrible danger and not be able to get to him. Where I fail to protect you, your guardian angels step in, placing a large Mesquite Bush 20 feet down the hillside carefully positioned to intervene, stopping your descent abruptly while sparing your precious noggin. Somehow your head is spared though your arms and leg were badly scraped. We gather around you, desperate to assess your mental and physical state. You are frustrated but alert, conversant and eager to get up. Getting you off the side of the Cindercone was challenging, but Austin leads you spider crawling back up to the path. After getting you safely down to the car we clean your wounds, which are thankfully superficial, catch our collective breath, and count our new blessings. Your repaired skull and your sense of humor are both miraculously still intact...enough exploring, once back at the resort, we decide to stay on level ground, with the dolphins, or in the pool!
Mary and Austin Searching successfully for your phone on the side of Pu'u huluhulu, just above your rescue bush.
No worse for the wear, "We will live to fight another day!" Austin