HAWAIIAN HUMANE SOCIETY
Peaches' new family got their first look at the pooch online on the Hawaiian Humane Society's "Pets of the Week" page at www.hawaiianhumane.org
Humane society site gives fast answers
In 1897 the founding members of the Hawaiian Humane Society traveled on horseback to raise public awareness about the proper care, feeding and humane treatment of animals. In the 21st century, the nonprofit organization is still providing important information relating to pets, this time at lightning speed. Everyone with access to the Internet can get answers to their animal questions, day or night.
"Our Web site is helpful in so many ways," said Pamela Burns, CEO and president of the humane society. "We get positive feedback from those in our community and around the world. The site has been online since November 2000 and has helped many people and their pets over the years."
The home page highlights direct links to the hottest news, events and "Pets of the Week." Section topics are clearly listed at the top and bottom of each Web page for easy navigation.
A touch on the "Pets of the Week" button leads to a listing of animals available for adoption, with photos. The list of about a dozen each of cats, dogs and other pets is updated each Tuesday. The section will be expanded the section later this year to include every animal available for adoption.
Another frequently accessed section lists Oahu's dog parks and beaches. Oahu has four off-leash dog parks, one at the humane society. The Department of Parks and Recreation allows dogs on leash in 37 parks. In October 2004 we published a list of more than 100 Oahu beaches that allow leashed dogs, including PDF maps that pinpoint the spots.
Publishing the list of dog-friendly beaches was a personal triumph for Burns, who spearheaded the project in 1999.
"Enjoying Hawaii's shoreline is part of island life, and with dogs in more than 35 percent of Oahu households, the community welcomes this resource," she said.
The "Lost & Found" section of the Web site offers helpful advice and forms for reporting animals to our database.
Those who lose a pet often need instant advice. The Internet has not replaced the telephone, however, and everyone is encouraged to call with their report at 946-2187, ext. 2.
An additional feature that allows Web visitors to view all known lost and found animals will be online soon.
Photos and information will be accessible almost as quickly as the pet is received, and will be updated just as fast. Keystrokes from the customer service counter will be linked to the animals' records online.
"Pets can return home faster by combining the Web site and our staff to match up the reports -- for happy homecomings," Burns said.
Once an animal is adopted or retrieved by its owner, the records will disappear, making it a truly dynamic resource.
The "Pets in Housing" section offers valuable tools for families seeking a pet-friendly rental. Families can search for units currently available for rent and study its amenities, pet policies and monthly rent. Forms to assist renters and landlords are found in this section, too, all helping to designate more rental units as "pets possible" instead of "no pets."
"Some landlords find it easy just to say 'no' rather than 'pets are possible,'" said Cynthia Keolanui, humane society advocate for pets in housing. "It's important for landlords and property managers to know that 'no' means you've eliminated 56 percent of Oahu's families that include a pet."
Despite all the Web site offers, it's still important to pay us a visit. "Technology is great, but it can't replace the soft purring of a kitten or the snuggle of a puppy," Burns said. "When you're looking to adopt, visit us in person."
Here is a sample of what else you'll find at www.hawaiianhumane.org:
» Learn about issues in animal welfare and check the status of pending legislation that relates to animals.
» Learn about volunteer positions at the humane society; print out an application form.
» Become a more knowledgeable parent for your pet by reading articles about animal care and behavior.
» Get directions for each month's Paws on the Path hike, held on the last Saturday of each month. Look in "Events."
» Access "Donate and Buy Products" to order a T-shirt, donate your automobile or see what's on the society's Wish List of items to donate.
» Read the laws that relate to animals via easy-to-understand summaries as well as direct links to city and state laws online -- and what you should do if you see a problem.
» List your pet-friendly rental property at no charge. Fill out the online form and wait for your phone to ring.
» Find out about how to schedule your pet for Honolulu's low-cost Neuter Now program. Learn how to reduce overpopulation through free feral cat sterilization.
» Read every "Pet Ohana" printed in the Star-Bulletin since the column began in 2001.
"And that's just the beginning," said Burns. "There's so much more that the Web site offers -- and it's all accessible 24 hours a day. We know you'll find it very helpful and even entertaining."
"Pet Ohana" runs the first and third Fridays of the month. The Hawaiian Humane Society is a nonprofit agency dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals. They are at 2700 Waialae Ave. Call 946-2187.