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Hui 'Ilio Hawai'i started out in 2004 as an informal group of dog owners who met through our dogs. We live in the Hawaii Kai area and got to know each other during our nightly dog walks. Our first group activity was entering the PetWalk (a Humane Society fundraiser) as a team for several years.

After becoming increasingly frustrated over the lack of places where we could take our dogs (there were no parks in Hawaii Kai where dogs are allowed - on- or off-leash), we decided we should do something about it. We held a meeting, and invited someone from the Neighborhood Board and the Department of Parks and Recreation to come and speak with us. They gave us

Hui 'Ilio members meet to lay out plans and strategize.

ideas and advice, and soon after that, we began investigating park sites.

Within a month, we'd put together a dog park proposal, which we took to the neighborhood board. They approved it! We were on our way, but there was still much work to be done before the park was "on the map." Because the City hadn't allocated capital funds for dog park construction, we joined the City in a public-private partnership to build the park.  We worked to get business sponsors who could provide needed services (design, planning & construction) and worked on raising funds to build the park.  All told, it took four years to get through all the red tape, raise the funds, and build the park.  The Grand Opening ceremony was held on June 29, 2008 with Mayor Mufi Hannemann presiding.  As Adopt-a-Park partners, Hui Ilio Hawaii continues to support the Hawaii Kai Dog Park.

Hui 'Ilio President Elaine Dobashi speaks at a Neighborhood Board meeting while Vice President Roger Morton looks on.

But we we're not stopping there! While working on our park proposal, we heard about other dog groups who were lobbying for a dog park in their respective districts. Some of them are making good progress, others need help. We decided that we would do what we can to help other groups who are trying to get dog parks in their districts. On Oahu, over 45% of all households own at least one dog. Dog parks are badly needed in all areas of the island. Our long-term goal is to promote dog parks all over Oahu, not just the one in our own backyard. Dog owners desperately need places where their dogs can exercise and socialize with other dogs. That's what keeps them friendly and well-behaved. It's what keeps them from developing behavioral problems.

It's the natural way that dogs should play!

We also want to use dog parks as a means of distributing educational information to dog owners, and to promote responsible dog ownership. We envision a network of volunteers from every dog park on Oahu getting together to discuss common challenges at our dog parks, how to solve problems and how to improve the parks. We'd like to coordinate special events like "dog licensing days" or "vet visitation days" at the parks. Perhaps we could invite someone from the City or the Humane Society to come and sell low-cost spay/neuter certificates. The list goes on and on. We will be continually looking for new volunteers to help with start-up projects, and to serve as "park rangers."

Please contact us at info@hui-ilio.org if you'd like to join in our adventure!

 

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