All Hearts Belong
We at KAWS believe that all hearts belong and strive to help the homeless animals of Kaua`i find homes and live their best lives. In the world of animal rescue we are relatively new, and we have a great respect for the organizations who have paved the way for new rescues and sanctuaries to emerge. They have given us encouragement and inspiration to continue to save lives.
Animal rescuers were doing this work long before today, when the outlook wasn't so bright. In 1984, the founders of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, were faced with the statistic of 17 million animals being killed annually in the country's shelters. They were doing this work long before social media and would set up tables with donation jars and hand made posters in front of stores and made personal phone calls on rotary phones asking for support. With tenacity and grit, this organization has become the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary, and is now leading the way in helping other organizations do the same.
Now, the number of animals killed in shelters is under a million, approximately 625,000 annually. This number is still too high, but not nearly as staggering as 17 million just 36 years ago. The numbers continue to improve and the goal is to have the country no-kill by 2025.
There are many reasons why the future for homeless pets is becoming brighter, all over the country and on our small island of Kaua`i. There are more options to spay and neuter your pets and feral cats, and when done with fidelity, the number of unwanted pets is reduced considerably.
But what about the existing animals? Are there too many animals and not enough homes? There are choices that can be made at both the shelter and personal levels that can help, if we look at sharing the responsibility and working together rather than placing blame on any one entity.
Shelters and rescue organizations can give more time to the sick, the injured, the ones with behavior issues, and the very little ones needing to be bottle fed- all through robust foster programs.
Our local shelter and smaller rescues have built relationships with partnering shelters and rescues on the mainland, giving more homeless pets the chance to find forever homes.
Our donors have also made it possible for us to begin our cat sanctuary which will be a home for both adoptable and feral cats. Since our last fundraiser, we put in a water line, poured slabs, and erected all three of cat pavilions.
Also because of our generous donors, KAWS has been able to complete our dog cabins, which allows us to take in the dogs who may need more time to be ready for adoption as well as those who will be with us for the duration of their lives.
One of the joys of being in animal rescue is meeting wonderful people who have made a commitment to rescuing animals. More people are seeking to adopt animals who need time to adjust or the ones who may have physical or medical conditions requiring accommodations. With these people, the animals who were once considered the “unwanted” have become the “wanted.” To these people we are forever grateful.
With more people working to spay/neuter pets, shelters and rescue groups working with fosters to allow more time to the animals requiring more care, TNR programs, and sanctuaries that offer homes to those who need ongoing special care, we are getting closer to a community where all hearts truly do belong.