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Bringing the joy of pets to senior health care



HONOLULU (KHON2) — Dog owners will tell you their four-legged friends add happiness to their lives. Even if you spend just a few moments with them. That’s why the Hawaiian Humane Society continues to spread joy to those who need it.

Residents of The Plaza at Waikiki patiently wait for their special guest. It’s a visitor that isn’t even human.

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Meet 6-year-old Kaia, a golden doodle that’s part of the Hawaiian Humane Society’s Joy Ambassador Program.

“We have animals that come out to communities and certain hospitals and they meet with the patients or the people living there and give them that companionship and you see that absolute joy,” said Thomas Hanns from the Hawaiian Humane Society.

The program started a few years ago after the Humane Society saw a need for this type of companionship. There are now 20 joy ambassadors like Kaia.

“We really believe in the power of the human-animal bond and that thing can heal so many ailments,” said Hanns.

“I thought that was one of the most beautiful, well-trained dogs I have ever had the pleasure of spending a few minutes with,” said resident Judy Marlane

“She’s so smart, you don’t have to say anything,” said Florence Hanzawa

Kaia’s owner Kristine Suehiro said “I do it because I see how happy it makes the people feel and it’s just one of the most rewarding things that I’ve seen.”

Suehiro said her four-legged family member, seems to know who and how much TLC a person needs.

“Sometimes I”ll try to pull her away but she won’t move, until you tell her to go,” said Suehiro.

If Kaia is intuitive, she can likely feel the love and appreciation being sent, right back to her.

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“I feel that bringing in of the dogs over to Waikiki Plaza adds a new level of comfort to all of us,” said resident Ted Chinn.



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