AIEA, Hawaii --
I’m checked in with my unit, my household goods are shipped, the family has a flight and we’re on our way to Hawaii … but what about Toto and Felix the Cat?
All service members, retirees and federal employees moving here or leaving the island temporarily may place their pets at U.S. Morale, Welfare and Recreation Pet Kennel, winner of the 2005 Spirit of the Eagle Award for the best Army MWR facility.
They strive to provide an “at home” environment for service members’ cats and dogs, said Larry Dixon, assistant program manager for the MWR Pet Kennel.
“Pets tend to get depressed without their owners, but we try to socialize with them as much as possible to keep their spirits up,” said Dixon. “Our job doesn’t stop at cleaning the kennels and feeding the animals. We want the pets to be happy and comfortable.”
The kennel provides a clean, friendly environment for pets of active-duty personnel, military retirees, reservists and federal employees.
Animals must be healthy, have proof of all shots, which must be up to date within one year, and a veterinarian’s clearance must be submitted to the boarding facility prior to a pet’s acceptance.
The rates are most often more affordable than other kennels as well. The rates are:
• Large Kennels $14/day, second pet in same kennel an additional $10
• Small Kennels $10/day, second pet in same kennel an additional $5
Some public dog and cat kennels can reach up to $25 per day. Dixon said, “Not only are we cheaper, we try to spend as much time with the animals as possible.”
During the pets’ stay, after being grouped by size and personality, they are allowed to socialize with the other animals during their play time.
Kennel personnel bathe pets, administer medicine and socialize with them multiple times daily. In an emergency, they will also take them to a veterinarian for treatment.
Some pet owners prefer the MWR kennel because of the visiting hours.
“This kennel is awesome, and I love being able to come see my dogs.,” said Patricia Welling, a Navy spouse undergoing a permanent change of station to Pearl Harbor from San Diego. “My pets are very well taken care of here.”
Visiting hours are:
• Sunday 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
• Monday closed
• Tuesday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
• Wednesday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
• Thursday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
• Friday closed
• Saturday 12 p.m – 3 p.m.
• Holdiays 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
The kennel also has a large capacity. There are 67 large dog kennels, 18 small dog kennels and 19 catteries. If an owner has two dogs, they may put them in the same kennel, and the same for cats.
Usually there are four kennel personnel working at one time to take care of all the animals. Debora Laorosa, former Navy sailor who has 10 years experience working with animals, said she absolutely loves her job.
“I can’t wait to come to work every day,” said Laorosa. “These animals are so comical sometimes, and I enjoy taking care of them. I want them to feel at home.”
For information on requirements and policies of the MWR Pet Kennel visit their Web site, or call 808-368-3456. Their address is 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, Hawaii 96701-5602.
On the Net: MWR Pet Kennel site:http://www.mwrarmyhawaii.com/leisureactivities/mwrkennel.asp.