In less than 72 hours, Sweetie the poi dog went from a kennel at the Hawaiian Humane Society to putting her paws on the desk of Gov. Josh Green to finding her forever home after she was adopted Wednesday by a family with two excited children.
Sweetie’s Christmas miracle was the result of a confluence of events that brought her to the state Capitol Monday as an ambassador for the Hawaiian Humane Society, which was one of approximately 180 organizations that received shares of $50 million in grants-in-aid.
Not any dog would do for Green’s news conference, which otherwise primarily focused on Green’s budget priorities.
The Humane Society’s adoption team recommended Sweetie — an approximately 2-year-old pit bull-terrier mix — because she’s comfortable with people and crowds and could patiently endure an approximately hourlong budget presentation followed by reporters’ pesky questions, said Stephanie Kendrick, the Human Society’s director of community engagement who knows her way around the Capitol and regularly testifies before the state Legislature on issues involving animal welfare.
“They recommended Sweetie and she did beautifully,” said Kendrick, who sat next to Sweetie during the news conference.
Sweetie was featured in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star- Advertiser in a photograph with Green pouring on affection.
The adopted family already has a pit bull mix, saw the media coverage, and adopted Sweetie the next day.
“They did know that Sweetie had met the governor and so they came down to meet her specifically after seeing the media coverage,” Kendrick said.
The family did not immediately respond to a request for an interview on Wednesday but gave the Humane Society permission to release a photo with them and Sweetie.
“They have another pit bull mix and they bonded with her right away,” Kendrick said. “They’re a super sweet family with kids. The youngest, a little girl, made a point in telling me that Sweetie loved her.”
But Sweetie’s appearance at Green’s news conference was more than a mere photo op, Kendrick said.
Both Green and Mayor Rick Blangiardi say they are committed to new ideas to create more housing that local residents and families can afford.
At the same time, Kendrick said the Humane Society is seeing a spike in pet owners surrendering their animals — just before Christmas — because they are being evicted or moving to the mainland to live in more affordable communities.
Kendrick also advised potential pet owners to know what they’re getting into before adopting an animal in the excitement of the holidays.
“We love to see new families created,” she said, “but only if you’re prepared for a long-term commitment.”
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