Maui Humane Society Helping Paws Visitor Program

Who goes on vacation to Hawaii and ends up volunteering at the Maui Humane Society?

Apparently Jim and I do.  On the flight into Maui, I read in the in-flight magazine that the Maui Humane Society has a program called Helping Paws Visitor Program.  On Wednesdays and Thursdays at 1pm, visitors to Maui can volunteer 2 hours of their time to help walk or bathe dogs, or socialize with cats and puppies.  I immediately signed Jim and I up as soon as we landed, then belatedly asked Jim if he would mind.

Good thing he loves animals as much as I do and didn’t mind giving up some beach time.  So at the appointed time, we arrived at the shelter and were allowed to take a tour of all the dogs before the orientation.  I immediately gravitated towards the smallest dog there, a chihuahua mix named Dotty that reminded me of our Lokie.

During orientation, we were given an overview of the Maui Humane Society and for us dog walkers, told we could pick any dog that hadn’t been walked yet today to take out.

Here is Jim at the orientation.  We weren’t the only visitors that think this is a great program and willing to give up some of our vacation time to help these animals.

Maui Humane Society

For our first walk, we picked Dotty and her cage mate, Charlie.  We were told they were picked up by animal control from a horrible situation.  The volunteer we spoke to didn’t know all the details but said that the conditions they were found in were deplorable.

I could tell Dotty was very nervous and at first didn’t want to have her harness put on.  I worked with her, the way I did with Lokie when she first came to us, and Dotty let me pick her up and we were able to get the harness on.  Once outside the shelter and out in the open air, she turned into a completely different dog.

Here is a short video of Dotty and Charlie, tails up, running and happy to be free!

We took them for a walk on this long stretch of land next to the Maui Humane Society.

It was beautiful and quiet and the road seemed to stretch on forever.

Dotty ran and ran, with Charlie following along, both so happy to be out of the cage and free to run.

After the run, the dogs took a rest and Dotty jumped right into Jim’s lap.

And gave him kisses.

How can you not fall in love with these dogs?  It was really hard to bring them back to their cage and to leave them.  We looked like a happy family.

Jim and I wanted to take out another 2 dogs to give them some outdoor time, and the volunteer suggested Benji and Oreo.

It turned out Benji loves to run, but Oreo seemed really depressed and didn’t want to move, so Jim took Benji on a run and I stayed with Oreo.  She was an owner surrender and I think she was looking for her owner.  Oreo is the saddest dog I have ever seen.  Look at those sad eyes and those ears.

She only walked for a bit, and then just stood still on the sidewalk, so I picked her up and held her for a while, trying to give her some cuddle time.

We found out while we are there that Maui has a pet overpopulation and lack of adopters because it is hard to have a pet on Maui (it’s hard to find landlords that will allow pets).  Because of this, the Maui Humane Society created the Wings of Aloha Transfer Program, which flies pets to the mainland where there are animal welfare partners and new owners waiting for Maui’s homeless pets.  This gives the pets a second chance at a life that they truly deserve by transferring them to adoption guaranteed rescues and shelters. 

Jim and I both wished we could spend more time at the Maui Humane Society and walk more dogs.  But it was time to say good-bye to the four we interacted with, Dotty, Charlie, Oreo and Benji.

Maui Humane Society

If you ever find yourself on Maui, do look up the Maui Humane Society Visitor Program and volunteer just 2 hours of your time.  I guarantee it is worth it and will make you feel good to help give these animals at least some freedom and love.  It was the most worthwhile thing we did while on Maui, and one that we will remember the most when we think back to our Maui vacation.

We still think about those four and hope they have found their forever homes.


  1. Susan on February 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

    What a great thing you and Jim did to
    give up time on your vacation.

    • pinotbylyn on February 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      We didn’t feel like it was giving up our vacation – it actually enhanced our vacation. I think at first Jim thought I was a bit nuts to sign up but afterwards, he said he is so glad I found the program and that we did it.

  2. Elaine on February 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Such a beautiful story Lyn!

    • pinotbylyn on February 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Wait til my next post – we did the same thing, but even more with the Kauai Humane Society 🙂

  3. Heather Hamilton on February 16, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I’m so proud of you guys.
    What a beautiful thing you did!
    I don’t know how you didn’t come home with a new pup.

    • pinotbylyn on February 16, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Jim kept asking if I thought Pinot and Lokie would like Dotty. He wanted to bring her home!

  4. Janet on February 16, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time…you guys rock!

    • pinotbylyn on February 16, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      It was heartbreaking. We would have stayed there all day and walked every single dog if they had let us. I just went on the Maui Humane Society Facebook page and saw that Oreo the sad little black dog got adopted! So she’s not sad anymore!

      • Tracy Serafini on February 18, 2015 at 9:09 am

        You guys are so awesome! <3
        I will definitely be doing this when I go back to Maui. I will also look for other shelters to volunteer at while on vacation. Great idea!

        I'm sooo happy that Oreo got adopted!

        • pinotbylyn on February 21, 2015 at 9:13 am

          Yay for Oreo! Actually, the Maui Humane Society told me all 4 dogs got adopted so very happy for them!

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