In April, the Maui Humane Society will introducing two new programs for visitors who want to interact with and help homeless animals while vacationing on Maui.
"We have visitors stop by our shelter on a daily basis, just wanting to be around the animals," says Jocelyn Bouchard, chief executive of the Maui Humane Society.
"Until now, we didn't have any organized way for them to get involved here, unless they wanted to adopt a pet. As with most animal shelters, we are challenged with limited facilities, funding and staffing, and we rely heavily upon volunteers. We are excited about these new programs, as they are a win-win-win for all concerned - our visitors who love animals, our staff who appreciate the volunteer help and most of all our shelter animals who benefit so much from interaction with compassionate people."
“Jeffy,” a former Maui Humane Society shelter dog, was adopted in Canada through the Wings of Aloha program.
Maui Humane Society will introduce the following two new volunteer programs for Maui visitors:
*Helping Paws Visitor Program. Beginning April 3, visitors can offer a "helping paw" at the shelter every Wednesday and Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. Each half-day session will start with a brief orientation followed by pre-planned activities such as walking dogs, bathing puppies, brushing cats, or playing with puppies and kittens - an important part of their socialization.
For visitors who are interested and willing to help Maui Humane Society in ways other than animal interaction, there may also be volunteers needed in such areas as maintenance, kennel cleaning, gardening or office work.
Participants in the "Helping Paws" program must arrive by 1 p.m. on the designated days. It is recommended to wear close-toed shoes and comfortable clothing that volunteers don't mind getting dirty.
Children ages 10 to 17 are welcome but must be accompanied by a supervising parent for the duration of the volunteer session.
For visitors who wish to create their own specific, individualized volunteer project or for groups who are interested in volunteer projects at Maui Humane Society, contact email@example.com or call Maui Humane Society's volunteer department at 877-3680, ext. 14.
The Helping Paws Visitor Program is limited to visitors only. Maui residents are welcome to join Maui Humane Society's ongoing volunteer program, which requires a separate and more thorough orientation process.
* Wings of Aloha program. Last year, the Maui Humane Society created the Wings of Aloha program to fly shelter animals to areas in the U.S. and Canada where, working in partnership with local rescue organizations there, the pets are guaranteed adoption, according to a news release.
Nearly 200 homeless Maui pets have found families in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Canada through Wings of Aloha, the release says.
The program is being opened to visitors this year.
Airfare for an animal is costly, but if a shelter pet flies under the same reservation as a ticketed passenger, the cost is significantly reduced.
Maui Humane Society is seeking travelers who are willing to help by having shelter pets accompany them on their flight reservations. Travelers need not do anything but contact Maui Humane Society in advance to confirm details then show up for their flight. Maui Humane Society staff will meet the passenger at Kahului Airport and will handle the check-in of the pet. (Pets do not accompany travelers in the passenger cabin.) The animal will then be picked up and cared for at the destination airport by the partner agency.
Maui visitors who want to help transport an animal to the U.S. Mainland or Canada through the Wings of Aloha program, email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Wings of Aloha" in the subject line. Provide your travel date from Maui and destination airport. If Maui Humane Society is able to arrange an adoption transfer at that destination, it will contact visitors to finalize the details.
The Wings of Aloha program is funded solely through private donations, and often there are agencies on the Mainland awaiting Maui Humane Society shelter pets for new homes, but there are no funds to send the animals. For more details on the Wings of Aloha program or to make a donation, visit www.mauihumanesociety.org/content/503d4d068ec8a/wings_of_aloha_ - _program_description.html.
Visitors may also adopt a pet from the Maui Humane Society and take it home.
"Visitors often fall in love with one of our shelter pets and decide to adopt it," notes Bouchard.
"Of course, we always ensure our animals are going to loving homes, but the adoption application process is simple, and transporting your new pet with you to your home city, even internationally, is usually not complicated."
The 60-year-old Maui Humane Society is a private, nonprofit organization and the oldest and largest animal welfare agency on the island, the release states.
Maui Humane Society has approximately 10,000 animals come through its doors each year.
Its services and programs range from adoptions and spay/neuter to cruelty investigations and education.
For questions regarding visitor volunteer opportunities at the Maui Humane Society, email email@example.com or call the volunteer department at 877-3680, ext. 14. For information, visit www.mauihumanesociety.org.