Tails Of Aloha is an all volunteer Animal Assisted Therapy Organization, located on Oahu in the state of Hawaii, with animals on all of the major Hawaiian Islands. Tails of Aloha was established in 1994 and received its Non-Profit designation in October 2008. We were fully funded by our founder from 1994-2007.
What is the mission of your organization?
We send Animal Therapy teams to hospitals, nursing homes, Hospices and even private homes for Animal assisted Therapy (where we have animals go to individuals or groups) or Animal Assisted Activities (Where we have an animal involved with the actual therapy of an individual that is observed and documented by a Health/Human service professional.) We also do foster homes for misplaced pets and pets whose owners have been placed into nursing homes, long term hospital care or hospice. We also find permanent placement for animals that cannot go back to the original owners. We also assist the homeless population with the care and feeding of their pets by educating them on the requirements for inoculations and treatments they can give their pets. Our group donates shampoos and flea treatments to those in need.
How is your organization run? Are you an all-volunteer group?
Our organization is made up of entirely volunteer groups that donate time and money for the benefit of the patients.
Most of our funding currently comes from our Board of Directors or from a few Fundraisers we run every few months. We are working on some grants to assist in the purchase of a few items for our online stores; http://printfection.com/tailsofaloha and http://www.zazzle.com/tailsofaloha
Do you get support from your surrounding area?
Most of our support comes from local people and stores.
What are some of the challenges you face?
We try and have pet therapy teams available to all who call us for them but are unable to keep up with the demands. We would like to establish ourselves in every hospital and nursing home in the state but are short of people and animals to do that.
Tell us more about your group. What makes it unique?
Our group started as 1 individual (Gayle Igarashi) hoping to make a difference in the lives of the elderly and has prospered from there. We now have animals certified on all 4 major islands of Hawaii and are trying to do more. Our animals range from a small pet rat to miniature horses. (Our Great Dane team is actually larger in size than our miniature horse team…LOL)
Do you have a favorite story you’d like to share?
WOW what an amazing day Al and I had today with our pet therapy visit! It was our first time at Kulana Malama. This is a children’s hospital in Ewa Beach. For the longest time I wanted to get the courage to go and do a pet visit. But the truth is I was scared that emotionally it would throw me into a deep heart break. I didn’t want to imagine a place where tiny children lived on heavy medical equipment hanging on to life every moment. Well finally after all the procrastination and my heart tugging at me countless times over to just do it. At least try, is what I kept telling myself.
When we arrived we had a warm wonderful greeting from the patients and the staff. The place looked like a miniature Disney Land. Every place in it was bright and colorful. It seemed very animated. It was bursting with love and care. U can instantly feel this warmth. Nothing of what I had envisioned in my head came close to what the reality was. The staff was incredible. They treated each child with such amazing tender love and care. I don’t know how they found such a perfect staff. All of them filled with smiles and ALOHA. There was so much excitement and joy to see us.
The children were more than amazing. None of them could really talk, many hooked up to several machines, tubes etc. You could hear many of the machines making all kinds of noises. These children were the most beautiful children I had ever seen in my life. They were smiling and excited to see this big furry dog come to visit them. For many it was the first time they ever saw a real dog or even touched one. It was absolutely magical. There was no sadness. I expected a gloomy place. It wasn’t anything gloomy at all. It was a miracle of life. A blessing of time. Smiles everywhere. Love that u could feel the moment u walk in the door.
Polo seemed perfectly at home. He loved them all especially this one lil tiny baby boy. His tiny lil toes and fingers gave his best effort to connect with Polo. I could see him move his fingers and even wiggle his toes. They were both so comfortable with each other. The baby rested his tiny feet on Polo’s nose and face. His lil hand slowly and gently moved anchoress Polo’s fur. Polo laid his head on the baby. They were like best friends. I was so amazed of the comfort of each other they shared.
What is the one thing that people could do to help your organization the most?
People with animals are asked to join and spend some of their time sharing their wonderful pets with others less fortunate to have or not allowed to have a pet of their own. We also can use donations to assist us in the insurance of our animals and the upkeep of our store/websites. All of our donations are returned into Tails of Aloha, nothing is spent outside of what we do at Tails of Aloha. 100% return back to Tails of Aloha a 501 (C ) (3) IRS approved company.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Our volunteer group will visit any home that has elderly, terminally sick, nursing home, hospital or hospice in Hawaiian Islands. If we have a team available in the area you request then we will try our best to get there for you. If we don’t have a team at that time we will work with you to get someone there as soon as possible! We are also looking to certify teams on all islands of Hawaii! If you make a donation to us you can be assured that it will go into the Tails of Aloha program and not anywhere else! Mahalo Nui Loa for your time and we look forward to seeing you out in the community!