Rally around KHS in time of need

If you ever wonder if the folks at Kauai Humane Society are making a difference, stop.

They are.

That’s not opinion. This is a case where numbers tell a story.

Here are some figures from 2018 at KHS:

• 426 dogs, 471 cats and 13 guinea pigs were adopted.

• The transfer program was a great success — sending 388 dogs and 397 cats to rescue partners who were able to get our animals adopted.

• Reunited 99 cats and 379 dogs with their families.

• Provided free spay and neuter services to 374 dogs and 813 cats in our community, and spayed/neutered an additional 828 dogs and 938 cats throughout the year.

​ “So many lives were saved in 2018 because of your support,” wrote Mirah Horowitz, KHS executive director. “And so many more will be saved in 2019. In fact, we are already hard at work for 2019, making a difference for animals who are already at the shelter as we speak.”

That’s all good news. Unfortunately, as TGI’s Jessica Else reported in a story Sunday, the shelter is overflowing with dogs and cats, and is in need of more volunteers.

Recent numbers show that KHS had a record 226 dogs and 377 cats at the shelter at the end of November.

In addition, the Kauai community was caring for 27 kittens and one dog in foster care at the end of November.

Compare that to November 2017, when KHS was caring for 186 dogs and 268 cats at the facility.

We always encourage people to consider adopting a pet, as many are in need of a home. On that note, if you can, please do. While animals can complicate our lives and at times be expensive, they make our lives better. Pets can be priceless. Just ask any long-time pet owner.

But we must also add that if you don’t own your home, it is more difficult to find a rental property that allows pets. Some have had to surrender their pets because they had to move and couldn’t find a rental that allowed dogs or cats. As we all know, the rental market is tight. Adding a pet to the process makes it even tighter. So, if you expect to be looking for a new rental, consider whether it’s a good time to adopt a pet.

On that note, we encourage more landlords to allow pets. A reasonable damage deposit is a fair way to be sure the pet owner is responsible and the property will be maintained. Many ads for homes bluntly say, “no pets.” While we understand the concerns, we also understand that there is a connection between people and their pets that, if possible, should be honored.

Finally, we encourage people to volunteer at KHS. Try as the staff and volunteers there do now, they can’t do everything that needs to be done. One vitally important task is simply spending time with the dogs. Take them on walks. Exercise them. Groom them. Sit outside with them. Give them a break from their kennel. It’s that kind of socialization that helps dogs adjust to shelter life and learn behavior that improves their chances of adoption.

If you were wondering, here are some of the volunteer opportunities available at KHS:

• Entertain a feline: Cats and kittens long for loving attention. Play with active kittens and cats or just have an adult cat curl up on your lap.

• Foster a pet in need: Invite a litter of puppies or kittens into your home for a few weeks socialize and have them mature to adoption weight and age.

• Special events: Assist with special events and community outreach programs that advocate animals, educate the public, and raise awareness of the Kauai Humane Society and its mission.

Take pictures: Increase an animal’s chance of adoption by photographing our animals for publicity materials and our website. This is a weekly commitment of 2 hours for 2 volunteers (a handler & a photographer).

• Volunteer from home: Donation collections, outreach, behavior helpline, and adoption follow-up calls.

• Introduce dogs to Kauai: WOW Team (Wags on Wheels) visits communities and events around the island to introduce shelter dogs to potential adopters. Or sign-up to take KHS dogs to Petco and Natural Pet.

• Front Desk/Office Assistant: Assemble adoption folders, greet visitors, or help with filing.

It’s not demanding to be a volunteer, either. Orientations are about three hours and include a tour of the facility and hands-on training. General volunteer orientations are held at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month.

We have long said KHS has one of the toughest tasks on this island. We believe under the leadership of Mirah Horowitz and Board President Diann Hartman, KHS is moving in the right direction and giving pets chances to find that permanent home that they deserve. We encourage the community to rally around their efforts.

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