Happy ending caps difficult beginning

Cammie — the lovable, neurotic dog Maui Humane Society refused to give up on — has found her forever home

Cammie enjoying playtime at Maui Humane Society. -- Photo courtesy Maui Humane Society

An older pit-bull mix with a checkered and largely mysterious past, Cammie faced an uphill journey in the quest for a forever home filled with patience and love.

In June, The Maui News featured an article about Cammie’s plight as a sweet, but challenged dog who was coming up on her year anniversary at Maui Humane Society — an unusual amount of time for a facility that boasts a 95 percent canine adoption rate.

While there were several people who expressed interest in Cammie after the story broke, none were able to make the leap from potential adopter to permanent pet parent.

But for MHS staff, it just meant something better was in the cards for Cammie.

“She’s a sweet, sweet dog, and I just know that the right person is out there,” expressed Nancy Willis, Director of Development & Community

Hanging out in MHS offices helped Cammie develop social skills. -- Photo courtesy Maui Humane Society

Outreach. Willis, like others at the shelter, liked to think of Cammie as a special girl with unique needs rather than a dog with special needs.

MHS didn’t abandon hope and Cammie continued her comfortable routine at the shelter, taking a page or two from the OCD  handbook.

Chief among the dog’s unusual idiosyncracies was a myopic attachment to kennel No. 12; an unyielding fixation with a singular route from kennel to outside play area; and a fascinating preoccupation with three (not one, two or four) toys.

Last winter, when persistent rain flooded parts of the shelter, Cammie was temporarily relocated to another kennel.

“She was so put out,” remembered Alice Bennett, a shelter volunteer who slowly gained Cammie’s trust. “[MHS staff] tried to comfort her with toys, which she usually loves, but to show her displeasure with the move, she pooped on the toy.”

Cammie gazes lovingly at her new mom, MHS volunteer Alice Bennett. -- Photo courtesy Maui Humane Society

Bennett chuckled at the memory.

“She’s just particular about certain things and has very human expressions,” she continued. “She makes me laugh.”

And that’s a good thing, because Bennett recently became Cammie’s long sought-after adopter — a desire that had been welling up in Bennett for months.

After repeated short visits and then overnighters to the volunteer’s home to see how Cammie fared outside of shelter and how she interacted with Bennett’s furry family members, Willis relayed the good news that Bennett and Cammie were a match. Cammie had found her place with someone she already trusted and adored — as did Bennett.

“Once Cammie likes you, she never forgets you,” Bennett explained. “She sees you, and her whole body just wags. She’s very loyal.”

You have to work at getting to be her friend. But when you finally get to that place, it feels like you’ve made it,” Bennett concluded. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

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If you’re interested in meeting adoptable animals at Maui Humane Society, please call 877-3680, ext. 210, email adoptions@mauihumanesociety.org or visit the adoption center Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1350 Mehameha Loop in Puunene.