Besides the important questions I asked myself when preparing for my recent trip to Maui such as, “How many bathing suits will I need?” and “How many gallons of sunscreen should I take?” I also wondered about making a small difference in an animal’s life. That question was easily answered by The Maui Humane Society’s program called Wings of Aloha.
About Wings of Aloha
Wings of Aloha is a program that seeks to ease the overcrowding of the Maui Humane Society. Through a couple of airlines, they take dogs from the Maui shelter and place them in other shelters that are less crowded and that see a higher adoption rate than MHS. It’s a great idea that gives dogs that may be put to sleep a chance at a new life. What could be better than that!?
Okay, there is one thing that’s better…it’s SUPER easy to help! All you have to do is go on vacation and the folks at the humane society do all the work.
How to Help
There’s only a few requirements to take part in the Wings of Aloha program…
- You have to go to Maui (easy and fun).
- You have to have a return flight from Maui (OGG) on Hawaiian Air or Alaska Airlines to either Portland (PDX) or Seattle (SEA).
- You have to show up for your return flight two hours prior to your flight (which you’re supposed to do anyway, so no biggie).
Everything goes very smoothly and is a wonderful way to help a pet in need of a new home. If you’re not taking a trip to Maui any time soon, you can always donate to help fund Wings of Aloha. But, if you’re planning a trip to Maui from Portland or Seattle, definitely take the time to look into this program.
What You Need to Do
Basically what I did was send the Wings of Aloha coordinator an email a couple months ahead of our trip to let them know our return flight number, time, date, and number of people traveling. The coordinator then emailed me back about three weeks before our trip to let me know that the plane had room for a couple dogs. We actually ended up bringing three dogs back, but the more the merrier, right?
At the Maui airport we went up to the Alaska ticket desk to let them know we we doing the Wings of Aloha program. They were very friendly getting us checked in and just said to wait around for the dogs. We waited, the dog van showed up, the dogs were unloaded, and then we had to wait for the guy to go park the van (the airport won’t allow the vans to wait at the loading area…they also wouldn’t allow the humane society people use of a big wheelie cart to bring the three huge crates to the ticket desk).
We helped the people bring the crates to the ticket desk where I filled out a few quick forms (which took less than 10 minutes) and then we headed off to do all the usual fun airport stuff like taking off our shoes, getting scanned, finding our boarding gate, and then being loaded like cattle onto the plane.
In Portland, I just had to go over to Alaska’s baggage desk and let them know I was doing the Wings of Aloha program. The dogs showed up just as fast as the rest of our luggage and Alaska let us use a big wheelie cart to take the dogs out to the waiting volunteer from the Oregon Humane Society.
Done and done.
(By the way, normally, a volunteer will meet you in the airport and load the dogs while the other volunteer waits with the van meaning you can just take off once you land and get your luggage, but on this night OHS could only find one person willing to volunteer.)
Of course, being animal lovers, my husband and I did wonder about keeping one of the dogs for ourselves. But as fast as the dogs were posted on the OHS website, they were adopted. One however, Dozer, has been returned (the reason isn’t stated on the website), but I do hope the super friendly can find a home and get settled down. You can learn more about Dozer here.
TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCIL. You can find her work at Tammie Painter’s Bookstore & Gallery.