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by Sarah Covell, student writer

“Scout! Here Scout! Come on, boy!”

The student was roaming through the halls of his dormitory in the middle of the night, calling the dog he had left at home when school started. He was sound asleep and seriously disturbing his roommates.

Dr. Larry LeDoux, chair of journalism at HPU, tells this story about when he first moved away from home to attend school. He said his roommates couldn’t wake him, but eventually he would crawl back into bed. Not always his own, a fact that also seriously distressed school administrators.
“ I didn’t even know I’d been doing it,” LeDoux recalls, “until the end of my freshman year. The school’s headmaster drove me home for summer vacation, and as I was getting out of the car, he said: ‘When you come back in the fall, leave your dog at home.’

“ My parents had to explain it to me,” LeDoux said. “Apparently I had been subconsciously missing my dog all year.”

The feelings of distress caused by an absent pet can cause all kinds of strange behavior, including sleeplessness and depression. Tghuis can e a problem for many students at HPU who live in residences halls or apartments that prohibit pets of any kind. It can be difficult for animal lovers too, not have a pet nearby, especially if they feel a void because their pets were left thousands of miles away at home. Whatever their situation, students without pets might find volunteering for the Hawaiian Humane Society, and having an opportunity to interact with animals of all kinds, an emotionally satisfying experience.

President George W. Bush has called on Americans to volunteer at least 4,000 hours during their lifetimes as a part of a “new culture of responsibility.” According to the Humane Society United States (HSUS), spending time with animals is a great way to participate in the new culture of responsibility.

The HSUS estimates that animal shelters care for nearly eight million dogs and cats every year in the United States. Almost four million of these animals are euthanized because no one adopts them. Volunteers can help increase the chances an animal will be adopted. The care they provide, and the opportunities for socialization with caring humans, enables the animals to adapt to families that want to adopt.

So, in addition to the satisfaction of nursing a kitten back to health, or giving a dog a long enjoyable walk, volunteering at the Honolulu compound of the Humane Society makes students part of the solution in aiding millions of homeless and needy animals.

There is a wide range of different jobs for volunteers. “I can’t stress enough how vital our volunteers are to the organization,” said Alicia Maluafiti, Hawaiian Humane Society director of communications, “Without them we wouldn’t be able to operate,” she added.

Mainland and international students at HPU can also benefit by volunteering because they will meet new people and gain experience working with members of Hawai‘i’s community.

Maluafiti believes benefits for student volunteers range from helping an animal to meeting new people. “A student volunteer needs to love people and animals. They need to help people understand why it’s good to adopt,” said Maluafiti.

The Humane Society makes it easy for students to volunteer, because it can accommodate flexible schedules. “We really need students to fill our Monday through Friday morning and evening positions,” Maluafiti said.

“ Students can gain work skills and experience that they can put on their resume,” Maluafiti said, herself an HPU graduate with an M.A. in communication. She added that this kind of item “illustrates their commitment and shows a lot about their character.”

Volunteering at the Humane Society not only helps animals in need, but also gives volunteers, “a chance to practice their communication skills,” said Maluafiti. Students can sharpen their language skills, get a better understanding of the culture, and make new friends, she added.

“ We train all our volunteers, and need them to be willing to commit,” said Maluafiti. “We encourage college students who have the time and flexibility in their schedules to visit the Humane Society or browse the Web site online at www.hawaiianhumane.org.

“There are not enough homes to house all these innocent animals,” said Maluafiti. “Joining the team at the Hawaiian Humane Society will ensure that animals in the community will continue to be cared for and given another chance at adoption.”

Humane Society volunteers must:

· Make a six-month commitment
· Work one three-hour scheduled shift per week
· Attend Volunteer Information Sessions as required.

Hawaiian Humane Society
2700 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, Hi 96826
808-946-2187

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