‘Tis the season for giving! For the big-hearted, animal-obsessed person in your life, nothing speaks louder than helping animals in need—and we have plenty of furry friends on the Island that could use their kindness.
If you’re looking to add a new fluffy addition to your family, we encourage you to start your search at one of the local animal shelters here on the Big Island. We believe that rescuing an animal in need is much more rewarding for both parties—and once you become a rescuer, you’ll always be a rescuer. Additionally, many dogs and cats that are available to be adopted are already well into adulthood, which means that you often don’t have to house train them (that goes for dogs, anyway) and they don’t have all of that pent up puppy or kitten energy (i.e. chewed up slippers or scratched up couches might just be a thing of the past)—this is a major plus to adopting older animals! This holiday season, open your home to an animal in need.
If the animal lover in your life isn’t quite ready to take on the responsibility of a pet, consider making a donation in their name or fulfilling an item on a donation wish list at one of the Big Island shelters or sanctuaries.
But remember, never purchase an animal as a gift for someone else if it wasn’t explicitly asked for or arranged. Unfortunately, a major reason for why a lot of these animals end up homeless or in shelters is because they were improperly cared for or the owners weren’t aware of the responsibilities that come with owning a pet. Please be mindful when making the decision to adopt a pet, because it’s often a 15+ year commitment. With that being said, continue reading for more creative ways to help our local Big Island animal shelters and sanctuaries this Christmas.
BIG ISLAND ANIMAL SHELTERS & BIG ISLAND ANIMAL RESCUES
Kohala Animal Relocation and Education Service (KARES)
Kamuela, Hawaii, 96743
If you’re an avid Big Island Pulse reader, you should recognize this organization! Founded in 2009, KARES provides spaying and neutering services to homeless dogs and cats across the island in an effort to control the homeless animal population across the island. Additionally, they have adopted a no-kill policy and go to great lengths to ensure their rescued animal friends find responsible, loving homes. Click here to see the latest KARES adoptable animal.
Aloha Ilio Rescue
Keaau, HI 96749
Because there are so many dogs that are surrendered or found as strays by the humane society, those shelters get overcrowded. Thanks to shelters like Aloha Ilio Rescue, many dogs that would otherwise be euthanized get a second chance at finding a forever home. This non-profit advocates for the hundreds of animals that otherwise get overlooked by those choosing to support breeders—learn more about how your donation or adoption fee can help save dozens of more doggy lives.
Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary
17-382 13 Mile Rd, Kurtistown, HI
Located in Kurtistown, Rainbow Friends rescues cats and dogs to ultimately be permanently placed in loving homes. They provide food, shelter, and fostering services for these animals, but some have to live out the rest of their lives at the shelter. It’s Rainbow Friends’ pride and joy to provide these animals with the best care until they find their forever homes!
Holualoa location: 78-6767 Mamalahoa Hwy, Holualoa, HI
Waimea location: 67-1611 Hawaii Belt Rd, Waimea, HI
Keaau location: 16-873 Keaau-Pahoa Rd, Keaau, HI
Serving Hawaii Island since 1965, Hawai’i Island Humane Society has been pivotal in helping animals find their forever homes, animal education, and helping to eliminate pet overpopulation. This Christmas, give the gift of a donation, fostering, or even donating directly on their website. Follow these links to view their Amazon Wishlist, adoptable animals, and educational programs.
Helping feline friends since 1999, AdvoCats provides trap-neuter-return program to cats all across the west side of the island, and while they do not relocate the feral cats, they do rescue abandoned feral kittens when necessary. If you’d like to make a donation, they made it extra easy—just order cat supplies online from the Kailua-Kona Target, Walmart, or Petco and write AdvoCATS as the pick-up person.
74-5446 Makala Blvd, Kailua-Kona, HI (Petco address)
This cats-only, volunteer-based rescue organization in Kona runs an adoption clinic out of Petco. Not only do they foster and adopt out homeless cats, they maintain local cat colonies around town.
Serving as the county’s resource for animal control services, Hawai’i Rainbow Rangers not only responds to all animal control calls, but helps spread awareness to the community about being responsible pet owners, saves animals in Hawai’i shelters, and performs spay and neuter procedures.
BIG ISLAND ANIMAL SANCTUARIES
Are you looking to “adopt” a pet this year, but not wanting the long-term responsibility of taking care of an animal? Let these sanctuaries do the work—with your donation, these animals can live out the rest of their lives in well-maintained facilities that offer them the utmost care and attention. This would make a wonderful holiday gift to someone in your life who loves animals.
This farm sanctuary is home to goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, and cows (also referred to as grass puppies) that have been rescued and/or have special needs. This Hamakua farm is completely volunteer-based! Show a little love this Christmas and donate your time (or money) to a specific animal each month to help them thrive in their new lives!
Big Island Farm Sanctuary
93-1280 S Point Rd, Naalehu, HI
Every lucky farm animal that calls Big Island Farm Sanctuary home has been rescued from industrial or backyard breeding situations and in instances of abuse or hoarding. Big Island Farm Sanctuary is truly a haven where they educate their visitors on the impact that the industrial farming of cows, pigs, chickens, goats, etc. has on the environment and for the wellbeing of these precious creatures. Sponsor an animal at Big Island Farm Sanctuary this holiday season!
Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary
75-809 Keolani Sbd, Kailua-Kona, HI
As Hawaii’s only fully-accredited, USDA licensed, exotic animal sanctuary, Three Ring Ranch offers a permanent home for animals such as ring-tailed lemurs, llamas, zebras, and much more. For an unforgettable Christmas present to give the animal-lover in your life, consider “adopting” one of their 80+ animals. The adoption fee goes straight to the sanctuary to allow these animals to live their best lives. They are also booking private tours of the farm—the animal-lover’s paradise.
Hawai’i Wildlife Center
53-324 Lighthouse Rd Box 551752, Kapaau, HI
Calling all bird and bat fans! This wildlife center is the emergency medical response team to any injured native birds or bats on Hawai’i Island. You can make a difference in preserving these native species by donating online or by mail.
Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
60 Nowelo St, Hilo, HI
This wildlife refuge, established in 1985, protects and manages native Hawaiian birds and the habitats they live in across 5,300 protected acres in Hilo. To learn about how you can support Hawai’i’s native bird population, visit their website.
Fellowship for Perpetual Growth Plant & Animal Sanctuary
Mountain View, HI 96771
This unique rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary rescues animals that have been displaced from volcano eruptions or other circumstances as well as raises diverse plants stemming (pun intended) from all over the world. They are in need of carpentry (for animal pens and other structures) and professional cuddlers for these snuggly farm animals on their Mountain View farm!