Animal Shelter of the Week: Episode 57 – Kauai Humane Society

As Kauai’s only open-intake animal welfare organization they work hand-in-hand with their community to foster respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals. They have several programs to enrich the lives of their animals including their shelter dogs on field trips, volunteer dog walkers, cat socializers and more. The Kauai Humane Society also partners with several shelters on the mainland in their transfer program. This enables them to reach more adopters and find forever home for the animals.

“Welcome to the AARP, a animal shelter, the week podcast, where we introduce you to incredible organizations around the country that are focused on helping animals. We’re proud to be sponsored by Duterte dot com. Joubert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Let’s meet this week’s featured animal shelter. As Kawai is only open intake animal welfare organization. They work hand in hand with the community to foster respect, responsibility and compassion for all animals. They have several programs to enrich the lives of their animals, including their shelter dogs on field trips, volunteer dog walkers, cat socialize, er’s and much more. The quiet, Humane Society also partners with several shelters on the mainland in their transfer program. This enables them to reach more adopters and find forever homes for all the animals. Hi there, Tom, You. Thanks for joining me today. Thanks so much for having me. Well, of course, we’re looking forward to learning more. So you are the director of development at the Koi Main Society in Hawaii. Is that correct? That is correct. Her face. So you kind of Penis a picture about what it is that you guys do over there to organization. And what do you do in your role on a day to day basis? Okay, I’m happy to do that. So the Kuwaiti Humane Society has been the only open in take shelter on the island in the middle of the Pacific since 1952. So we are basically we have the honor of educating people and encouraging people to be responsible. Pet owners, we care for stray animals found the animal’s hurt animals. We have a very open policy. Any animal that needs our help, we’re going to do the best that we possibly can to get that animal to help that they need. And that’s good, because there are organizations out there that don’t take every case in. So you guys kind of see you, Mo. Yes. Yes. Okay, so what is your day to day roll look like? So I am the new director of development. And my role is basically to engage the community and our supporters to continue to receive donations to encourage people to participate in the activities that we do to donate their time, their treasure, their talent and really trained. Keep open communications between us and the community at large. I work hand in hand with our social media and marketing director and our executive director to make sure that we have the funds needed to provide the service is that we want to be able to provide. Okay, Perfect. So I mean, it definitely sounds like you stay pretty busy with organization. Yes, I don’t get to pet the puppies nearly as much as I like Thio. No, but you get to kind of create those events and figure out what can be done to find them home. You play a supporting role, and I’m sure you get to pet them on your downtime. So, do you guys take in all kinds of animals or is it just mainly dogs and cats have that look. Mainly, it’s dogs and cats. We have hot cases where we’ve taken in horse biz or farm animals that perhaps have been injured or neglected. We do ah, lot of community outreach when it comes to how to properly take care of your domestic heads. So we’ve had guinea pigs, we’ve had rabbits, we’ve had horses. We also Cartner with an organization called saver share waters. They’re working out of our building, and they do a tremendous amount of work with the native Hawaii seabirds to help facilitate rehabilitation is needed, or education on how to care for these animals or protect them. And, you know, so we’ll get cases in where maybe there’s been a down seabird, and so they’ll bring it into our shelter where they have a facility where they can do rehabilitation works so well, we might not care for somebody’s chicken or something like that. We do take care of birds, but that’s definitely you need saying that you guys could have there when it’s needed. And I mean, definitely That’s the first that I’ve heard of something like that. So that’s definitely cool. Yes, it’s very cool. Nothing like watching an endangered species. You know, an albatross that has been injured. Watched that road to recovery is amazing. That’s awesome. Well, I’m definitely intrigued. You guys do any type of sharing of that in you? Perfect. All right. You gotta follow us on social media. Definitely. I’m definitely gonna take a look at that. And I recommend our listeners do that too, because I’m interested. You know. Of course, the dogs and the cats are always intriguing. We love them. I own pets myself. But I mean, it’s definitely cool to hear, you know, just the different things that you guys offer. So that’s definitely a new one for me. So Well, that thing happy to share. All right, So I want to move into kind of what your community is like because I personally have never been to Hawaii. I’m sure some of our listeners haven’t. I kind of want to know what your communities like. What is it like for the people? And what is it like for animals on the island of Koh way? We are considered a rural community. We have a small population. Ah, lot of land. Ah, lot of agricultural land and the people that live here. We only have a population of about 72,000 people. 72,000 full time residents. We have over a 1,000,000 visitors a year. But only 72,000 people actually live here. So we’ve got a very I guess rural island vibe. We very community based. Our community engagement is tremendous as faras on a personal level and the support that a lot of our non profits. It is absolutely fantastic. But it is very farm and agricultural oriented, so that kind of create some unique challenges because often in that type of community, animals are seen as tools. And so our hunting culture and our backyard breeding culture is very prevalent. It has a very strong background, and one of the challenges that we run into is educating people, of course, on spaying and Neutering, which had never been a priority before. And now we’re noticing a trend of overpopulation or animals being abandoned because they aren’t doing their quote unquote jobs. Maybe they’re not good hunting dogs or something like that. So we really are trying to advocate for people to get their animals fixed. Those were definitely valid challenges for the animals. And, of course, if you’ve got that breeding going on, population is bound to follow behind that especially, you know, no spaying and Neutering. That’s a big thing. And I think it’s great that you guys were taking that time to educate. So that clearly intrigues me to kind of wonder what kind of educational programs are just programs in general. Do you guys all go to your community, so we basically are considering ourselves champions of the stain neuter movement. We offer a low cough, spay and neuter clinic. We have a financial assistance program for our low income residents. To be able to get those service is at a minimal cost. And of course, now we are always just looking for monetary donations to help expand that program to reach even more people. Okay, And so really, it’s just about education. We d’oh advertised Spence on our different social media platforms, radio platforms, that sort of thing so we can remind people how important it is to spay and neuter your animals. Absolutely. I know that I saw some of the programs on your website. I notice that you guys do some critter camps to get the kids and the whole What is that all about? I mean, is that just during the summertime are basically it’s during any school break. We actually have one that is happening for spring break and what it is. We invite kids to participate in our program. They come. They do normal camp activities, a lot of arts and crafts, but they also get to spend time socializing with our animals. They read stories to the dogs and cats. They make cat toys that they can put into the categories. They spend time walking dogs or playing ball with them. They also get to visit our vet clinics so they can learn about the importance of spaying and Neutering. Of course, they’re not watching any surgery, but they all get. They all get to practice being a vet, and you know that they have little stuffed animals. We have a couple like a resident Pat here that they get to, you know, listen to their heartbeat and things like that so that they can actually get their hands on and really helped develop that sense of responsibility and how these creatures are absolutely amazing. And we need to take care of them. Absolutely. That seems like some really awesome things. Like you guys really worked hard to get the kids involved in playing with the animals, and I think that that’s amazing. And I think it’s so cute that you guys allow them to be like a little practice that that z Oh, yeah, it’s adorable. Nothing like watching Amigo is our little three legged cat that lives here and he’ll have little bandages all over him because the kid’s got to practice. It’s pretty adorable. That is super cute. Oh, I love it. Oh, my goodness. All righty. So it seems like you guys were definitely in tune with what’s needed Educational y spaying and Neutering. Is there anything that you guys kind of offer outside of educational programs for the people of your community? So we, of course, do a low cost vaccine clinic and Microchipping clinic. It’s super important, especially with such a rural community where not everybody keeps their animals inside all the time that we encourage people to get their animals microchipped. Because I cannot tell you how many animals I’ve seen that have come in and the owner doesn’t have the microchip, we have no way of contacting them. So to anyone who’s listening, I hire highly advocate licensing and microchipping get it done. It saves lives all the time. So when you mention the microchipping, is that something that you guys have his mandatory for? Animals that get adopted out from you guys are Oh, absolutely Every animal that comes out of our shelter is microchip licensed Spain neutered and has all of their vaccines. Perfect. Now do you guys have that service is within your building? Or do you guys work with local bets? A little bit of boat, mainly. We have our vets. Service is for our shelter animals here on site. We do have that low costs a neuter clinic one day a week, Any extreme circumstances. We do work with some of our local vets, though, if it’s something beyond what our standard shelter care can provide, which totally makes sense. But when I hear of a rule community, I kind of just like to kind of know, Do you guys do that? Service is within your facility. Or how far do you guys usually have to drive in a rule area? You know, our island isn’t that big, but it’s not a huge distance. No. Well, that’s good. All righty. Well, those are just little things I liketo know and people for listeners. If they want to know all of that, it seems like you guys really are on track of things. You guys got good programs. Good standard. You know what’s needed of you guys? What are the challenges that you guys face? So some of the biggest challenges that we face are, of course, the fact that we are a small shelter on a small island in the middle of a huge ocean that basically means everything costs more. So we’re always on the lookout for extra funding, additional funding, grands, different things, different ways that we can engage with potential donors are cost of operations are so much higher than maybe some of our mainland peers just for the fact that everything has to come here. All of our supplies, all of our equipment, everything has to come here. So that does add up very quickly. For instance, Kennel Crate that we would use to get an animal to the mainland is probably twice a CZ, expensive as it is anywhere else. And then we also have B flight costs. So we worked with some shelter partners, and we transfer animals from our shelter to shelters on the mainland to increase their chances of adoption or being fostered. And just think about how expensive it is for you to fly to Rio. Now we’re sending animals. Did he that thankfully, we’ve got some amazing partners, amazing donors who help us offset those costs and it’s not. White is expensive to fly an animal as it is a person, but it does still cut money on. And then there’s also another challenge that we have is volunteers. We have a wonderful volunteer base, but it’s significantly smaller than what you would find at most shelters on the mainland, just for the sheer fact again that it’s so expensive to live here. Most residents usually work two or three jobs that doesn’t free up a lot of time. Thio have time to volunteer, and the residents that do maybe come here as what we call snowbirds. People who come during the winter. Then they’re gone during the summer, and that leaves a big hole where we’ve counted on that help, and we’ve been able to accomplish more than we would during the summer when there’s not as many volunteers here. So we’re always on the lookout for volunteers. That’s crazy, and I think that that’s one of the things that I take away from. These podcasts is just learning about the different areas and what you guys struggle with, and to be somewhere where it’s that expensive, where people are having to work 2 to 3 jobs. It’s like holy smokes like over there. Like because I looked at it. Pictures of your facility means beautiful, and it looks like it’s in such a beautiful area. I’m like, Okay, so how do you guys keep things going? You know, do you guys to put on any type of like fundraising events? Are I know you have one coming up in March. The kitten shower? Yes, every spring we have a kitchen shower. It’s very similar to a baby shower, but we at times will have hundreds of kittens that come in either with their moms more often than not without their moms. And so we actually do a kitten shower so we can get supplies that we can give to our foster parents. And they then have everything that they need to take care of these kittens until they’re big enough to come back to the shelter and be put on the adoption floor once they’ve been fixed. Oh, my good news. How cute is that? Nothing like snuggling. A baby kitten wagon is like cats are my weakness has three. Well, come on over. We’ve got some for you. My husband would be Oh, man, he’d be like, No, don’t go! No, I love that I have honestly never heard of an organization putting on a kitten shower and, you know, just as well as I do that kittens around springtime are everywhere. A shortage in Guineas. So no, but I think that that’s awesome. So you guys put on any other type of fundraising events to kind of bring in an extra revenue. Of course, we’ve got all kinds of events that we d’oh. We have a sense of gathering that we’re doing one of our board members houses and a couple weeks, and it’s basically a way to reach out to a portion of the island that I hate to say is really far away from us because it’s about an hour and 15 minutes away, so it’s doesn’t seem like that far, but for a lot of people, it really is. So it’s a way for us to reach out and talk to them and share the work that we do with them so that they can hopefully become more involved. But I think that it’s great you guys take that time and you still want to make sure they feel included. So all right, that’s definitely needed. So I’m kind of curious. I know that you mentioned that each island kind of has their own organization. Do you guys have any? Any rest on the same island is you that you kind of work alongside Or do you guys just go away? The other mainland’s We don’t have any partners here on island like we would transfer animals, too. But we do have some partner organizations that we work with if we have an extreme case similar to if we had a that case that perhaps we didn’t have the equipment here, we would take it to an outside veterinarian. We do have a couple partner organizations that we work with If, for instance, there’s a dog or a cat that for some reason just need something that we can’t offer them, then we can partner with them. So I kind of want to just transition just a little bit. And I know that you have mentioned your critter cams where the kids get to make toys for the cats and everything. Do you feel like you guys do any type of enrichment for the animals that some organizations might say is unique. Oh, yes, I don’t know. I invite everybody to look at our website. We have a field trip program, and it is our shelter dogs on a field trip program that I absolutely love. It’s not as unique as it used to be. We were one of the first shelters. Thio organize it several years ago, and basically what it is is you can come as a visitor or as a resident and quote unquote rent a dog for a day. There’s a small $40 donation that we asked for to help provide the supplies that we need to keep the program going. But you get to come take your pick of which dog that’s available for field trips and then take that dog out on an adventure. You can take it to some of our beaches. You can take it on hikes. You can take it to go get a shave ice. You can take it to go grab lunch and just spend the day it gets the dog out of the shelter, or so that they can work on their social skills and get plenty of exercise and sunshine and just have a wonderful adventure. It also really increases the visibility of those dogs. And we’ve noticed a huge uptick and our adoptions and the positive feedback that we get not only from the people who participate in the field trips with our dogs, but the people who see the dogs on the field trips. Actually, I was watching before I got on the interview with you. I was watching a video that a news team came over in posted, and it’s up on their YouTube channel and it was all about the field trip program. And we’re noticing more and more people doing that and sharing our story on their social media pages because they like the field trip program so much. What’s not to love about that it gets the way is a great thing, you know, because the dog gets to get out. It’s great for the people that take them out. I love these type of programs because for people who can’t foster or people who necessarily don’t want to be in a shelter all day, which volunteering, But let’s face it, they’re right, people that don’t want to do that, but this is a great opportunity for them and It’s just basically opening up those opportunities for volunteers, which is great. And the fact that you guys were getting so much positive feedback and engagement that that’s a huge win for your guys is organization. Theo Exit is there are days when we actually run out of dogs, where all of our field trip eligible dogs have been taken out for the day and that it makes you want to cry. It’s so special and, you know, to see these dogs who had the best time playing in the mud or running in the rain or playing at the beach. And then they come back and they’re nice and tired, and they it enriches their lives in a way that we wouldn’t be able to do without this program. It’s just jaw dropping to me that you could just some days you just all over out there having fun. They’re all out and it’s really good. You guys are definitely on point like that. The test there are some organizations are struggling with this one a little bit, so I find it awesome that, you know, one of your challenges is that you are lacking those volunteers. But yet you have this program that’s booming, that’s really awesome. They kind of like cancel each other out a little bit. Hopefully, yes, it’s definitely making a difference. And it’s helping you guys get more visibility and being noticed a little bit, so move a little bit. I know that you had mentioned that you’re new to the position that you’re in, but you’ve still been involved with this organization for quite some time. How would you say that your organization has changed over the years? It’s a vision for the future. We are really doing everything we can to improve the quality of care that we’re able to offer. Whether that means, you know, having dogs go out on field trips or expanding our cat areas. Or one of the things that we’d like to accomplish over the next year or so is expanding our play yard and just really moving forward with making sure that we’re on the right track to become a no kill shelter. We’re really focusing on providing the highest quality of care that we can while having the highest possible live outcomes that we could possibly can. That’s a huge thing to work on and It’s not easy for anybody who’s listening, who’s not in this industry. Yeah, tough. And you know, there’s goods and bads from being in the animal welfare industry. And that’s why it takes such strong, important people to do what people like you do because it’s rough. Well, im thanks you. Of course I want to know more about you specifically. How did you get started? You know, because I’m not in just your position. But how did you know? Like hey, I wanna work and help animals and do this. Did you start out in the animal fur industry and kind of continue on that, or did you do something totally different? I did something totally different, but I have always been an animal lover. My house is a menagerie of animals. I have two teenagers, a dog to cats, an African grey, parakeets and turtles. Animals have always been a huge part of our life. And when we first moved to this island nine years ago, we my kids came to the critter camp. We volunteered here. We took dogs out on field trips and walks. And so we’ve always been kind of on the outside of the Kwai Humane Society. And then when this position opened up, I could not think of a better place that I would want to be and help encourage these successful outcomes. And I have finally stopped crying when people take dogs out and get adopted. So I like to think that I’m getting a little stronger. So, yeah, I mean, that’s hard. I think that’s one of the things that I always say is I would love to foster more animals, but I have such a big heart that I get so attached to him. So I totally get what you mean by when they get adopted. You’re happy, but you’re secretly crying and a correct. Yeah, we fostered. Gosh, I don’t know, maybe 20 kittens since we’ve been here, and it’s always that bittersweet when it’s time to let them go. But it’s always so exciting when you see that adoption happen. It’s just amazing. There’s nothing better. Yeah, definitely. So how many animals would you guys say that you guys have in your care? At any point in time? You have, like, an average number. I was saying between 202 150 0 my goodness. So you guys are definitely huge. A busy. Yeah, but I mean, that’s great. And it definitely sounds like you guys offer great enrichment for them. And you guys are very in tune with their needs and everything, so that’s always comforting to hear when, especially when you have that amount of animals. So what is something that you wish people knew about your organization? I would say that I want people to know that we are really focusing on positive outcomes. We are really focusing on making sure that the animals in our care are being cared for, very similar to what you would do in your own home. We love on them. We spend time with them. They’ve got great food, great enrichment activities. A lot of them get to go out on field trips. These air well cared for animals who have no time limit. And that, I think, is something that maybe wasn’t always true in the past. And I know often, unfortunately, it’s not true in other shelters. And so it’s something that we’re really proud of, whether that’s the animal gets adopted from here or it gets transferred to one of our partners that we work with. The ultimate goal is to have as many possible life outcomes as we can. That’s so good to hear. You know, it’s a rough business out there in the back, Back in time to make sure like this animal is loved are gonna stay here. They’re in your care. They’re gonna stay there until they find a good loving home. Correct. That’s awesome. So one of the things that I kind of trailed off a little bit was Bring Richmond. Do you guys do any type of behavioral training’s or anything for some of the dogs, or maybe even the cats that come into your care? We do spend a lot of time, especially with cats, because we do have, Ah, hi, feral cat population here on the island. So some of the cats that we get in they’ll tolerate people, but they don’t love them. And so we spend a lot of time really trying to get to know their personalities. We have an amazing animal care staff that knows the animals in and out, and they really take the time. You know, this one might not like loud noises. This other cat might not like being alone. This other cat might not like being with other cats, and so they really focus on making sure that the needs of the individual is being met and then, especially if they’re not really fonder of people. We spend a lot of time safely getting them used to the idea of being with people because that could be the first time that they’ve ever had that. And so how do you positively reward that type of behavior when they allow you to be pet in that sort of thing? I really heard some amazing stories from the staff about watching these animals turn around. It’s pretty impressive. That’s good. And I love that. You kind of mentioned, you know, the feral cats, because I feel like there’s so many people out there that just don’t know that some cats just don’t want to be loving House can sit on the couch, you know, like you think of the right and you think like this fat, lazy cat that’ll play every now and then. But some of us just don’t love it. So the fact that you guys take that extra time to know each one and know their likes and them. And I love that you brought up a positive rewarding for letting them pet you because that’s a huge milestone for some of these guys. So, yeah, well, that’s a good one. So I love that you’ve got those training enrichments for them. So I definitely want to hone in on the fact that you guys need some volunteers. You’re looking for some. How can somebody go about getting in contact with your organization To volunteer to adopt Foster Anything like easiest thing is to visit our website kwai humane dot org’s and that has all of the links on there where you can register to be a volunteer. You can find out more information about our foster program. You can look at our Amazon wish list. You can find ways to become more involved whether that signing up to be on our newsletter or making a donation. There’s plenty of information on our website that can be viewed, and we definitely encourage all of your listeners to check us out and learn more about the work that we do here. Definitely I 90 that anybody who’s lets me go check him out, go look at their Facebook page that once I they’ve even got some happy tails on their website that I saw. Those are always awesome, though look at that’s one of my favorite things. So I’m so thankful that you were able to come on the show today and share with us a little bit about your organizations. You’re up to your downs, ins and outs. I love it. Is there anything else that you would like to add before we wrap things up today? I definitely want to invite all of your listeners to our annual gala happening September 26. So you have plenty of time to book your flights and hotel. You can come to our annual gala. It is our biggest fundraiser that we have for the year. We have, of course, food and drinks and music and live and silent auctions. You also will be able to see our dog fashion show, so we have a whole runway set up where people can strut their mutt and basically walk with either one of our shelter dogs or your own personal dogs and show off some skills and some adorable fashion. Oh my goodness, that sounds like so much fun. I really excited that just for me. But I’m eating the animals too. I mean, who doesn’t love to just strut their stuff on a run? Yeah, it will be a wonderful time. So it started. Scheduled in your vacation September 26. We will be having a good time. Her pigs and those of us who, for whatever reason, can’t make it please post pictures we would love. Oh, yeah. Thank you so much for joining us today. And we look forward to catching up with you soon. And thank you so much for sharing everything about your work today. All right, Well, thank you so much for having me and allowing me to share our story and really just have a wonderful time visiting with you in talking about everything. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, joined the air p a. To take advantage of all the resource is we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.”

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