By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
Updated September 14, 2016
Credit: Courtesy of The Kauai Humane Society

Vacations are certainly a time to relax and indulge in yourself. But if you’ve ever been left feeling like you could have done a little something more, perhaps Kauai should be the next destination on your list. Hawaii has a unique homeless pet problem considering its isolation and limited human population to take in stray and relinquished animals, so the folks at the Kauai Humane Society have found an ingenious way to make adoptable dogs more visible and give them a better shot at finding a home. Their field trip program allows visitors and locals alike to pick up shelter dogs in the morning and take them to the beach, on mountain hikes, or even to act as therapy animals. Yes, that’s right, you can pretty much rent a dog for the day and give it an awesome adventure.

Each dog is fitted with an “Adopt Me” vest so that whether or not you intend to take the critter home with you, everyone you meet will know they’re ready for a forever home. Per the KHS website, “The main goal of the program is for you to enjoy the natural beauty of our lovely Garden Island and to get your “dog fix” by taking along one of our shelter dogs on your adventure. The dogs stay happy, healthy, and well-adjusted with this valuable time spent outdoors and you have fun providing them socialization with a variety of people prior to adoption.” Suddenly every vacation I’ve ever taken seems meaningless without a “dog fix!”

The Kauai Humane Society previously partnered with Oregon and California shelters by allowing mainland residents returning from the island to act as chapperones for pets to be relocated for better chances at adoption. According to the KHS, thanks to the field trips, about 4 dogs per month are adopted off-island. If you do decide the pup is right for you, KHS will also help make travel arrangements so that you can bring them home. Now that’s way better than some gift shop macadamia nuts.