The Kauai Humane Society (KHS) is a nonprofit organization that works to protect and improve the lives of animals on Kauai. Founded in 1965, the humane society has provided shelter, medical care, and adoption services for homeless animals. Of course, they need extensive funding to do that, and one of the ways they fund themselves is through one of the most epic programs of any human society in the country: the Kauai Humane Society doggy field trip program.
What is the doggy field trip program?
The dog field trip program through the Kauai Humane Society is pretty straightforward. Dog-lovers visiting near the shelter in Lihue can sign up to take a shelter dog on a hiking day trip to have some fun in Hawaii. Spending time with a human helps the dogs learn good trail skills, adapt to new situations, and have fun with someone who will love them like it was their dog — for a few hours at least. And all these skills help the dogs get adopted. The shelter requests a $40 donation for taking a pup on a doggy field trip, though it’s a request, not a requirement.
You’ll get to spend anywhere between four and seven hours with your temporary pup, depending on where you want to go. The shelter has a few suggested trails and nearby beaches.
There are some specific requirements for the program for the safety of the dogs. You’ll need to be at least 18 and you’ll need to keep your pup on a leash the entire time. Dogs must be transported safely (with seat belts or tethers in cars) and you shouldn’t introduce them to other dogs they meet on the trail. Most of the dogs are friendly, but it’s still safer to not risk any potential poor interactions. You also need to agree to get your doggy friend back to the shelter by 5 PM.
How to participate
Taking a dog from the Kauai Humane Society on a field trip isn’t hard. There’s an online form where you’ll choose the day and time you’d like to take a dog out for the day. You’ll then agree online to the various safety requirements and make your donation online. From there, the Kauai Humane Society will pair you with a pup based on where you want to go, which dogs are better with which people, how familiar you are with dogs, and a handful of other factors. When you’re out hiking, at the beach, or just out for a walk, be sure to take photos and send them back to the shelter.
Can you adopt your dog?
Well, yes, of course! If you’d like to adopt the dog you’ve been paired with, the shelter can make it happen. But if you aren’t in a position to adopt, you can still help in other ways. You can help your dog get sent to a no-kill shelter in the continental US (where there are more opportunities for them to be adopted) or buy something for your dog off the shelter’s wish-list, like a cozy new dog bed or a fun squeaky toy. Of course, good ol’ monetary donations are always helpful, too. And whenever you are ready to bring a dog into your life, remember to “adopt, don’t shop” can help keep loving, wonderful dogs from ending up in a shelter in the first place.