Who goes on vacation to Hawaii and ends up volunteering at the Kauai Humane Society?
Apparently Jim and I do.
Wait, deja vu. This is starting to sound just like the post I did on the Maui Humane Society.
Okay, we’re suckers for dogs in shelters. Someone at the Maui Humane Society had told us about the Shelter Dogs on Field Trips program at the Kauai Humane Society so when we arrived in Kauai from Maui, the first thing I did was to look up the program.
Every day except Sunday, between certain hours, visitors to Kauai can just show up and sign out a shelter dog and take them on a field trip to the beach or hiking trails. How great is that? This gets the dogs out of the shelter and also exposed to people who may want to adopt them.
We showed up at the Kauai Humane Society and were told we could go back and pick a dog. That was the hard part. We wanted to take every dog out. First we looked at the small dogs with the idea we would pick one since we are used to smaller dogs.
Then we decided to tour the big dog area and that was a mistake. Row after row of dogs in kennels looking at us hopefully, some barking, others whining. We had already picked out a few dogs we were going to choose between when we saw Myra.
Myra is an older dog at 8 years old and she wasn’t jumping or barking, just wagging her tail at us. We were told she had not been picked to go on a field trip yet, probably because she was older. I looked at Jim and said, we have to take her.
So we signed Myra out, they outfitted her with an “adopt me” vest, gave us a towel, treats, water bowl, water, and poop bags, and off we went.
We were in the middle of switching hotels so had all our luggage with us in our tiny rental car and Myra had to sit in the back with my suitcase. She kept trying to get into the front with us, so we decided to put the suitcase in the front seat, and I crammed myself in the back with Myra. Tight squeeze. Having only ever had small dogs, I didn’t realize big dogs drool a lot more when excited, and by the time we got to Kalapaki Beach, I was covered in drool. Must be Myra’s way of showing appreciation for springing her from the shelter. We bonded over the drool.
She loved the beach and ran with Jim up and down the beach. She had a lot more energy than she showed in the shelter.
Does anyone want to adopt me?
Next stop, we took Myra hiking on Sleeping Giant. It was a hot day so we didn’t go far up the mountain, but she really enjoyed it.
We took a selfie on the mountain.
Some hikers going down the mountain offered to take a picture for us.
Next we stopped in Kapa’a town and picked up some lunch and brought it to Kealia Beach. Myra did not beg or jump up to try to get the food. She stood quietly next to us while we ate and was rewarded with her treats. What a well-behaved dog! So much more well-behaved than Pinot and Lokie! She would make someone a wonderful forever dog.
After one last run on Kealia Beach, it was time to return Myra to the shelter.
We were sad to have to bring her back there but hoped that she had a good day out with us.
Both Jim and I enjoyed the experience so much that we went back 2 days later and took another dog out on a field trip. We stopped by to say hi to Myra first and she seemed to remember us.
This time, we picked a smaller dog, Cupid, who we were told had not been on a field trip either.
He was so happy to be out and in the car on the way to an adventure!
We took him to the beach first but he didn’t seem to like the sand so we ended up on a path next to the beach.
We thought a hike on Sleeping Giant might be better for him and it was. This little dog LOVED to hike. He was like a mountain goat, scrambling up that mountain so fast we could barely keep up with him. He climbed and climbed.
I thought I was in shape but compared to this dog, I was a panting fool. I made Jim take this picture of us, saying it was a great view, but in reality, I needed a break.
And another break (I mean another great photo opp).
And another break (I mean another chance for a selfie).
In this great article about a running club that volunteers at the Kauai Humane Society by having its members run and walk the shelter dogs, it mentioned that getting them out of their kennels, being with them, petting them and interacting with them will hopefully increase their chances of getting adopted. Kennel life can be stressful, and without that interaction, shelter dogs can pick up behaviors like aggressive barking and cowering in corners, that can turn off potential adopters.
Cupid gave me kisses of appreciation on the ride back to the shelter.
He seemed to be saying – can’t you fit me in your carry-on and take me home with you?
Please share this post with any animal lovers in your life, not just in case they are in Kauai and can take part in the Shelter Dogs Field Trips Program. You can look up your local shelters too to see how you can help walk and socialize the animals there. I think it’s a great bonding experience to do with your husband or partner, a family member, friend, or even a first date. You are helping out animals that appreciate it so much, while getting exercise for yourself, and bonding over the experience with someone else in your life.
What could be better than that?
Let me know in the comments what you have done to help at your local shelters. These animals need us!