I’m so excited that the island of Maui is cracking open some new volunteer opportunities. I am visiting Maui in a couple of of months (can’t wait!) and love that this new program is launching. The Maui Humane Society has created two new programs for visitors to help out at the animal shelter to support rescue programs, and even provide ways for travelers to be of service to rescues on their way home.
Lots of folks stop in to the shelter while on vacation, simply to be around the dogs and cats while they feel pet-deprived being away from home. The shelter sees almost 10,000 animals a year, so there is never enough lovin’ to go around–local volunteers help fill the gap. Well now, vacationing volunteers can also pitch in with the Helping Paws Visitor Program on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. After an orientation, you will jump into fun stuff like dog walking, bathing puppies, brushing cats, and playing with the younger animals to help them get better socialized. Aw, what a burden–to spend an afternoon playing with puppies and kittens! If you want to get your hands a bit dirtier in service, there are also opportunities for maintenance and gardening help, cleaning, and office work. All of it helps these homeless critters have a better life (and supports the shelter’s important adoption and rescue programs, plus say and neuter clinics, cruelty investigations, and humane education).
When it is time to fly home, you can also play a unique role in rescuing and adoption. The Wings of Aloha Program pairs travelers who are willing to have an animal transport accompany them on their flight–these are pets who are going to adoptable programs in the mainland Unites States and Canada. As an island community, Maui has more animals than homes, and they regularly place animals in adoption programs elsewhere, where they can find great “forever home” placements. In the past several months, 200 adoptions of Maui animals have been completed in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Canada through this program. It is costly to fly an animal unaccompanied, but paired with a ticketed passenger, the price goes down significantly. You needn’t pay this price–all you do is contact the office at the Maui Humane Society in advance to confirm your flight plans, then just show up for your plane home. An MHS volunteer will meet you at the Kahului Airport, and will handle the check-in of the pet (they won’t be flying with you in the cabin). The partner agency will pick up and handle the pet at your destination airport, so it is trouble-free for you–you simply lend your name and ticketed presence to save a life. SOOOO COOL!!!!!
Great ways to make a complex system more workable–I’m really proud of this organization, and hope you’ll consider supporting them now, and definitely pitching in when you vacation in Maui.