The Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation is uniting with animal lovers and animal welfare organizations globally to participate in a Remember Me Thursday candle-lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday at Whole Foods Market in Kahului.
The candles, which will be lit at the exact same day across the world, will honor the millions of pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home. The campaign hopes to shine a light on the millions of healthy pets still awaiting adoption and encourage communities to opt to adopt and reduce the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year.
The Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign is championed by Mike Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, and creator of both the International Pet Adopt-a-thon and successful Home 4 The Holidays program.
In partnership with national animal organizations, the program has placed 8.3 million pets in homes since 1999. He is joined in partnership with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, which represents more than 150 animal welfare organizations in New York, N.Y., and by other animal organizations worldwide.
The Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation invites the community to come early and make a pledge in honor of a pet or person or a memorial to loved ones lost by placing a leaf on its "Tree of Life."
"There are approximately 7 million pets in homes throughout the U.S., but only 30 percent of these pets come from rescue facilities. The rest come from pet stores, puppy mills and breeders," said Dawn Hall, Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation co-founder. "Millions of beautiful, healthy orphan pets die every year without the benefit of a loving home, simply because the public is not aware of how truly amazing these animals are."
"The team here at H.A.R.F. sees so many wonderful pets that are simply abandoned because their owners had to move or didn't understand the time and care that a pet requires," Hall said. "These pets can be purebred, well-behaved, loving animals but they don't get a second chance because there is so little awareness of the types of animals available at local rescue facilities."
The Remember Me Thursday candle-lighting ceremony kicks off with an opening address from Maui County Council Member Mike White, and H.A.R.F. co-founder Penny Dearborn will light the first candle.
Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation can be reached at P.O. Box 515, Puunene 96784.