Maui, Hawaii, has an average temperature of 70 degrees and 276 sunny days, so it is the perfect beach vacation spot. It also has hundreds of homeless dogs looking for forever homes. The local humane society got creative and designed a program that encourages visitors and residents to take adoptable dogs to the beach.
What better way to take in the beautiful Hawaiian beaches than with an adorable shelter dog. Maui Humane Society’s Beach Buddies program allows people to take a shelter dog out for a day of adventure. The program takes place every Wednesday & Friday from 11 am – 4 pm.
While many people head to the beach with the dogs, the shelter encourages people to go on hikes or visit a dog-friendly restaurant for lunch. The dogs are just happy to be out of the shelter for the day.
People who are interested in the program are asked to sign up online, but must be over the age of 18. The program is free of charge but the shelter appreciates any donations to help care for the animals. The shelter has thought of everything and provides you with all the items you will need to have a blast. Each person will receive a backpack that includes a water bottle, bowl, towel, treats, poop bags and a seatbelt.
Each shelter dog sports a yellow harness and leash that say “Adopt Me”. The program not only helps socialize and exercise the dogs, but exposes them to more potential adopters.
Residents and visitors are not the only ones to take the dogs out, sometimes shelter staff joins in on the fun. Recently, Animal Care Attendants Mahie and Ashley spent their day off taking two shelter dogs to see the ocean for the first time.
The adoptable dogs, Erin and Frank, were spoiled with puppacinos and then spent the day soaking up the sun and hiking. They are both still looking for forever homes. Check out their day of adventure in the video below.
The program has been a huge success with many of the dogs adopted shortly after their outings, and some by the people that took them out.
One dog named Ruby Woo found her forever home with a couple that took her to the beach on their vacation. The Canadian couple from Vancouver fell in love with the sweet girl and adopted her. Roo, as she is now called, sent an update to the shelter to let them know she was doing well.
“When I went on my first beach buddies outing, I knew they liked me and that they would become my new Mom and Dad and when they left, they said they’d see me again. I wasn’t too sure and then I had a long plane ride to a new place and I found out they drove 5 hours to Oregon to pick me up. I was so excited when I saw them that I jumped in their arms and licked their faces as fast as I could. I’m pretty sure I even saw tears in mom’s eyes.”
Roo is just one of many happily-ever-after stories from the program. Animal shelters are constantly looking for ways to help shelter pets find loving homes, and Beach Buddies seems to be working. Hopefully, it will inspire other shelters to start similar programs. Adopt don’t shop!
Take a glimpse at what a day at the beach with a shelter dog is like in the video below.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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