KHS raising money for GPS devices for field trip dogs

PUHI — Cinnamon Girl rolled around in the grass on when she went outside for a walk and to try on an Adopt Me vest at Kauai Humane Society.

“She got out of surgery a while ago, she’s probably really happy to be out here,” said Kalynn Zimmer, staff member. “She’s such a sweet girl — loves to cuddle. She’s cinnamon and sugar.”

The one-year-old pit bull mix wasn’t going on a field trip, but three or four of her fellow canines were.

The animals get some time outside thanks to the KHS field trip program that started in 2013 and has proven to be wildly popular. Thirteen dogs were out on Wednesday.

“We didn’t do any advertising and the idea caught fire,” said Laura Lee, KHS development director. “It’s popular, and the dogs love it.”

But, dogs going on day trips with strangers can pose a few risks, such as the dog running away.

It’s only happened three times in the four years the program has been active — and all three dogs were found.

“All three of the dogs; Raphael, Sonja and Ethan, they were big dogs,” Lee said. “Sonja smelled something and just took off. Ethan was skittish and ran away. Raphael was gone for two months.”

It took hours of dedicated work from staff members and volunteers to find the escapees, and Lee said there’s a better way to keep track of field trip dogs — GPS collars.

“GPS would be ideal for field trip dogs and possibly foster animals,” Lee said. “We’re looking into Garmin units.”

The GPS devices come with a home base unit that carries a $600 price tag, and each individual collar costs $200.

KHS is aiming to purchase 20 collars for field trip dogs and another 10 for foster dogs. They’ve already received $1,500 in donations for the devices.

“We’re working on grants now and asking people who are taking animals on field trips to donate, even just a little bit, to the GPS,” Lee said.

KHS is also gearing up to revamp their vest supply, because the current Adopt Me wear is worn out.


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