Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary said, “If you want a friend, by a dog”. Arguably, Americans are the culture that are most in love with their dogs. Here on Oahu that affection borders on utter devotion! While there are plenty of feline pets, both household and feral, it doesn’t compare to the island love for canine companions.
Miles Davis is One of My Best Friends
My husband and I recently adopted a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Black Labrador named Miles. Sir Miles Davis Hughes to be exact. He’s a smart, pretty well-trained older puppy who is still a challenge when around other dogs, so when I do take him out, I’m careful to keep him away from other pets.
As much as he is loved, we don’t take him everywhere and expect that others should enjoy his presence. I tend to be a doggy-magnet so they come right up to me regularly to check me out or play and usually I don’t mind it, but everyone is not that comfortable with strange dogs.
The admiration for Fido here on Oahu is so strong that being a dog owner here can actually be an asset. Let me explain. There have been several times that my circumstances were improved because I had Miles at my side -or dragging me along. Lol
For instance, a walk around the neighborhood is easier with my family friend. There are lots of restaurants, some shops, banks and even ice cream parlors within blocks of our house. When I go out for walks alone people are not nearly as friendly in passing, as when Miles is with me. He is an attention getter! People will cross the street to say hello and get to know him. People even wave as they drive by in their cars. Generally, when crossing a larger intersection alone I’ll have to stand at the corner and wait a good while for cars to stop and let me cross. When crossing the same street with Miles cars will come to quick halt. No exaggeration – a screeching tires halt!
Dogs 1st, People 2nd?
The mentality about dogs here is a bit different. You won’t need to go to a dog park to see a lot of dogs at once. The beach has plenty of them. Islanders show up everywhere with furry friends. Usually there’s no cause for concern, but sometimes the presence of a dog feels very inappropriate or inconvenient.
People will let their dogs walk on your shoes in a store or walk up and try to jump in lap at the park. These dog owners wheel them around at Target and Sam’s Club in carts, but often they get loose in the stores and send a child running or leaves an elderly person feeling nervous.
Once a lapdog tried to jump into the cart with my one-year-old granddaughter and I had to catch him before he got to her. The owner didn’t bother to apologize. I guess she felt her dog was too cute for us to be concerned.
Find a Furry Friend
For an island there are several resources for acquiring a new furry family member. There is of course the Hawaii Humane Society. Besides visiting their shelter, the HHS takes dogs to places like Petco locations every week allowing potential forever families to meet dogs up for adoption.
Then there’s the Oahu SPCA is a charitable organization which provides help to animals and owners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. SPCA stands for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and while they facilitate adoptions they also take care of everything from microchips to surgeries. The Oahu SPCA even offers “Pet Assurance” – once you are no longer able to take care of your pets, the Oahu SPCA will step in to provide loving care for your beloved pet for the rest of its life!
Of the 18 pet stores on Oahu, there are three that offer dogs for purchase. Or you could do like us and adopt your dog from a military family relocating off the island. We found our Miles on Craigslist, he was posted by a military family on their way to South Korea.
Mandatory Doggy Check-Ins
Even though islanders hold dogs in high regard, the safety and protection of the ‘aina is still priority number one. If you are relocating to Hawaii and want you bring your dog, you’ll have to deal with Animal Industry Division of Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture.
To prevent rabies from entering the state, the current law requires that dogs, cats and carnivores complete either the 120-day or 5-day-or-less rabies quarantine. There are some exceptions to the standard so make sure if you and your pup are headed this way that you are clear on the requirements for your pet.
Dogs large and small are very in fashion here on Oahu. Even the dogs themselves seem to know how highly they’re looked upon. They have the run of the island and of many households. I have a neighbor who has 12 dogs in her home! If you’re looking for a great place to relocate with your pet, you may want to consider a home on Oahu where your four-legged best friend will be welcome part of the community.
If you’d like to say Aloha to Miles or want to share your island dog experience please leave a comment below. Mahalo!