Kaua‘i Humane Society uses social media to connect people and pets

  • Jason Blasco / The Garden Island

    Mirah A. Horowitz, executive director of the Kauaʻi Humane Society, takes Truman, a whippet mix, out to play from its kennel at the KHS shelter near Puhi. Truman has flown to the mainland to unite with his new adoptive parents, Blake and Britani Hill, of Boise, Idaho, who adopted Truman after seeing him on social-media platforms including FaceTime, Instagram and Facebook.

LIHU‘E — Two weeks ago, Truman was clinging to life when the Kaua‘i Humane Society rescued him from a kennel in Koke‘e.

Truman, a whippet mix dog, was discovered to have 19 feet of nylon rope that had to be removed from his intestinal tract.

The initial prognosis for Truman was grim. Animal experts at KHS initially thought he would not survive.

After a successful recovery from surgery, KHS had what they dubbed “A Miracle Dog.”

Staff even found him a new home with Blake and Britani Hill in Boise, Idaho. His cargo flight to the mainland left Thursday after his initial flight was delayed because of the airline cancellations because of concerns of COVID-19.

The Hills, who are frequent visitors, utilized the KHS social-media and FaceTime options to find the dog that was the right fit.

Truman is the second dog the Hills adopted from Kaua‘i. Their first was Luna, a black dog they took from the islands eight years ago when they were here for a conference in Waimea Canyon.

The process of adopting Truman was smooth, Blake Hill said.

“They set it up for the mainland, and the process was smooth because they make it easy on you,” he said. “We knew that Truman was the one, and he just stuck with us.”

KHS Executive Director Mirah Horowitz, following the newly recommended social-distancing protocols, has officially shut down the typically busy office and kennels.

Anticipating the temporary shutdown, Horowitz and her team started finding ways to use social media and programs such as FaceTime, Instagram and Facebook to facilitate adoptions.

“We are trying to ramp up social media and do more online videos and online materials, which is a big shift,” Horowitz said. “It used to be people would be leaving with the animals. Now, with virtual meet-and-greets, that will be a change that we encounter in the next coming weeks.”

Currently, KHS is rotating its crews’ shifts so each team doesn’t have direct contact, and they’re busy working with families who want pets.

“One of the surprising things is how many people are willing to foster and adopt,” Horowitz said. “Having a pet when we are at the ‘stay-at-home phase’ can potentially help people during a difficult period.”

There isn’t a lack of people willing to adopt, which makes finding the right fit a priority for KHS, according to Animal Programs Manager Alexandria Taogoshi.

“We have to make sure the animals are gone faster and processed quicker,” Taogoshi said.

Horowitz and her crew make sure the pets and owners are the right matches.

Hill said utilizing social media and the new technology allowed him and his wife to assess available dogs.

“I think it’s huge,” Hill said. “If you can’t see them in person, you can see the dog’s personality and temperament in the video. The humane society did well and lined everything up from the start. They made sure they had their shots and everything they needed to fly the dogs to the mainland, including arranging travel. They just made the experience of adopting easier.”

  1. Robin March 27, 2020 10:12 pm Reply

    This is an island, I really would hope we get the dog and cat population under control. We need stronger spay and neuter requirements. Higher license fees for unspayed/unneutered dogs and cats and enforcement of licenses so people actually have to pay if their dog or cat isn’t spayed or neutered.

    Make a dog or cat more valuable so it’s not so easily discarded, mistreated or replaceable.

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