Sunny Gets Her Wings–of Aloha

On November 15, 2014, the good people at Maui Humane Society put young Sunny The Wonderdog on a plane for Vancouver, WA, where she would soon become a Pacific Northwest treasure.  She was welcomed to the Mainland USA by the equally good people at Tender Care Rescue, an organization that frequently takes in Maui’s finest and finds them good homes.  Sunny’s trip over the ocean was made possible by the Maui Humane Society’s Wings of Aloha program, an effort funded by private donations and cooperating agencies like Hawaiian Airlines and Alaskan Air.

Within about a week, Sunny found her forever family at an adoption event organized by Tender Care, and took her freedom ride home.  For her foster family back here on Maui, her departure was bittersweet.  Sunny had become a big part of our lives during her stay, and then one day, she wasn’t here anymore. And that is just one of the wrinkles in the rich tapestry that is animal fostering.

Now that we’ve been through a few foster experiences, we’ve become old friends with the grief of letting go of temporary family members that make permanent marks on our lives and hearts. (And sometimes, our furniture.) We’ve decided to resign ourselves to the sadness and joy of a job well done; keeping the foster loop open saves lives and makes good on the promise that homeless animals will know human kindness in their lifetimes.

And thank goodness I’m not alone. If I cry in the parking lot for 20 minutes or so–just hypothetically–after leaving certain small, brown puppies with the shelter staff, I know that most of the people inside the building have been there, done that. It’s a wash, rinse, repeat situation.

Now that we’re in between washes, rinses and tears, we will look to the east–way east–and know that Sunny and those like her are safe there. From one paradise to another, we say, “Aloha!”

Sunny’s Time to Shine

What do you say we spend our life together?

What do you say we spend our life together?

Our little Sunny, who came to us hairless and homeless two months ago, is now up for adoption.  It’s time for Sunny’s new fur-ever family to take her home and shower her with the love that she will return to them tenfold.  Who will it be?

Sunny’s come a long way, baby.  She’s learned how to be a nice family dog with manners, without losing any of her playful, free-spirited personality.  She made countless human and dog friends along the way, and made us laugh and shake our heads when we looked at her adorable face.

If you would like to meet Sunny, please visit the Maui Humane Society Monday through Sunday, 11am to 4pm.  Off-island and mainland adoptions welcome. Just call (808) 877-3680 or email  to learn more.

Sunny Gets Fit

Sunny (left of Dustin) and Kissy (right) rest and relax after their PoochFit run.

Sunny (left of Dustin) and Kissy (right) rest and relax after their Pooch Fit run.

What do you get for the dog who has everything, including playful energy to spare?  A session with Dustin of Pooch Fit!  This week we treated Sunny and her Best Foster Friend (BFF) and Maui Humane Society alum, Kissy, to a 30-minute run with their own personal trainer.  They came back thirsty, tired and extremely happy.   You can learn all about Dustin and the Pooch Fit revolution in this interview at Celebrate MauiSunny will be adoptable soon. If you’re interested in learning more about this playful pooch who went from homeless and hairless to foster fitness superstar, please call the Maui Humane Society  at (808) 877-3680. Inter-island and mainland adoptions welcome.  Just do it! 

Almost Ready

At about five weeks in foster care, Sunny is on the home stretch to being an adoptable dog.  We told her to get some rest and grow some new fur, and she did–what an obedient gal!  Here are yet some more before and after photos because, really, who doesn’t love dog makeover magic?



Now that Sunny has demonstrated her house-training skills by letting me know when she needs to go out, we decided to sunny in a conetry letting her sleep in our bedroom at night instead of her crate.  So we picked up all the delicious slippers and shoes, all of Grumpy Buzz’s stuffed bears, and placed an extra dog bed next to our own.  We settled down, her with her Kong toy, I with my magazine, and we all slept very well all that night.

Now that she’s experienced sleeping with the big dogs at night, of course, there’s no going back, even after Sunny was yolked with the dreaded Cone of Shame for a few days following her spay surgery. We listened patiently to her knock around in her plastic party hat all night when curling and re-curling up into her bed, but after that, all was well.

Sunny is now spayed, de-manged, trained to sit, stay and heel, house-trained, crate-trained and ready to take whichever soft spot you have for her at bedtime.  She doesn’t even mind if you snore.  Don’t snooze! Call the Maui Humane Society to arrange a visit with little Sunny.  Inter-island and mainland adoptions welcome.  Please call (808) 877-3680 to learn more.

Spay Day

Ohai! Just testing Buzz's bed to make sure it's soft.

Ohai! Just testing Buzz’s bed to make sure it’s soft.

Today Sunny is spending the day at the Maui Humane Society for spay surgery, a welcome event, given that a heat would no doubt stress the tenuous relationship between her and the 10-year-old grumpy growler: Grandpa Buzz.  Buzz will occasionally–begrudgingly–let Sunny use his nice, soft bed once in a while, but let’s be clear: He’s no Hugh Heffner.

At day 24 of foster care and medication, Sunny is looking and feeling great. Almost all her fur has grown in, and she’s learning her manners like a pro.  Most recently, she’s proved proficient at understanding the “kennel” command.  We use it when it’s time for us to leave her in the house and at bedtime. When once we would have to use all of our powers of persuasion, and quite a bit of muscle, to coax her into her kennel, now we have only to wave a tasty treat about and say, “Kennel,” and she goes prancing, happily, into her crate for a lie down and a good Kong-gnawing.

On the chewing front, Miss Sunny has been receptive to the concept that there are things that are appropriate to chew on, and then there are the Forbidden Things.  But there’s still the gray area of Things That Seem Appropriate But Aren’t. Like my daughter’s soft, furry house slipper, which looks deceivingly stuffed toy-like, and is begging to be taken from the bedroom to the backyard for some love.  In these cases, it’s helpful to have lots of Appropriate Things about so that we can simply say, by our actions, “You can’t have that slipper, but you can have your teddy bear or trusty Kong full of goodies.” She always makes the exchange without any fuss, and is happy to take whatever praise you might have for her.  Good girl, Sunny!

If you want to show Sunny some well-deserved praise, call the Maui Humane Society to arrange a visit.  Inter-island and mainland adoptions welcome.  Please call (808) 877-3680 to learn more.

Extreme Dog Makeover: Week 2

It’s been two weeks since Sunny entered foster care, and she’s soaking up the good vibes like a little furry sponge.  Thanks to her BFF (Best Foster Friend) and personal trainer, Kissy the border collie mix, she plays and exercises all day, and then slumps over after dinner for an all-night hard snooze.  Sunny seems to really enjoy the company of other dogs, and seems to be very submissive to all the dogs she’s met.  This week she started to really catch on to understanding the “heel” command during our walks.  She’s also starting to “stay” when asked, depending on how excited she is about what’s going on around her.

As for her appearance, we can’t believe she’s the same dog. Most of her fur has grown back, and it looks smooth and shiny. She even smells good.  Her eyes are bright and clear and she no longer wears the awkward combination of visible ribs and bloated tummy.  Take a look at some of her “before” and “after” shots.  What a face!  If you’re interested in adopting Sunny from wherever you are, please call the Maui Humane Society at (808) 877-3680. Inter-island and mainland adoptions are welcome–just call to find out how.


Bully for Us: We’re Psychic

sittinginsun2Just 10 days after we fostered a little abandoned pit bull that we named Sunny, we find out that, not only did the First Family name their new puppy Sunny, but that President Obama is advocating for pit bulls and other banned breeds by speaking out against dog breed-specific legislation.  Coincidence???

This can only mean that we are psychic dog fosters with a magical connection to knowing the names of future dogs belonging to figureheads, politicians and celebs.  Get a load of us, Cesar Milan!

This is especially relevant news, considering that it was not too long ago that I noticed that the majority dog breed on Maui is the pit bull. Since I’m from Denver, where pit bull guardianship is complicated, I’ve never met very many bully variety dogs.  Since we met Sunny, we’ve had a crash course in getting to know this breed with baggage.  Our experience has been nothing but endearing; Sunny does her breed proud by being a naturally joyful, gentle dog with friendly spunk to spare. Washington could use a girl like her.  Hillary??

If you’re interested in adopting Sunny from wherever you are, please call the Maui Humane Society at (808) 877-3680. Inter-island and mainland adoptions are welcome–just call to find out how.