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Hawaii Island Humane Society: Dog Field Trip/Short-Term Fostering Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We used the money to purchase sturdy, safe, functional harnesses in a range of sizes for all three shelter locations. Shopping on Amazon, and purchasing gently used harnesses, allowed us to purchase 19 harnesses for our shelters. More harnesses means more opportunities for dogs to go out on field trips, as we had previously been limited by the amount of supplies we had available.

The purchase of the harnesses allowed us to grow our Field Trip for Shelter Dogs program, and meant that more dogs could go out on any given day. It also did something more than expected, which was that, by the Field Trip program growing, it brought much-needed levity and happiness to our staff. We love seeing animals go out of the shelter, even for a day. It paved the way for more hope for the future. We are now looking to grow our Field Trip program even further, and this wouldn't have been possible without the additional supplies!

How many pets did this grant help?

Countless! Because we used the grant to purchase harnesses, which we can reuse, the impact of the grant was that we immediately saw an increase the number of animals who could go out on a field trip on any given day, and that impact endures.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Our Field Trip for Shelter Dogs program is thriving. As we grow, we are able to support more dogs and their journeys to forever homes every day. Each field trip is special, as it’s an opportunity for dogs to not only get out of the shelter, but to make a connection. It’s challenging to pinpoint one specific story because each dog matters. Since we are located in Hawaii, our field-trip participants are often only visiting our island. We often hear the same lament: “Oh, I wish I could bring him/her home!” We’re proud to say that we can make that happen! Like for senior dog Boogie (first photo), who went on a field trip with a couple on their honeymoon, and ended up being the missing piece in their life. He was adopted and traveled home with them all the way to Boston.

Or for Ehu (second photo), everyone’s favorite shelter pup, who was a docile senior lady diagnosed with advanced arthritis. Ehu went on a low-key field trip with a couple from Alaska and they just couldn’t part with her. She made the long trek home to Alaska and is now learning how to pee in the snow with her new pack of rescue dogs.

And locally, we have been using our field-trip program as a means to advocate for the dogs who really need a break. It allows us to get to know them better, snap photos, and involve the community in rallying for the dogs who really need a chance. We’ve developed our Field Trip All Stars list, which means that our dogs with the longest length of stay are a priority for getting out. It has opened up a whole new world for us and our dogs.

Further Reading