Pet Pot-purrr-ri: Cool Pet Stuff in Hawaii
Services, Splurges and Curiosities for the modern four-legged friend and other creatures. Plus our consult with a pet telepathist! Plus Plus tips and reflections of a master dog trainer!
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Great Spots to Buy Pet Food
The shelves of this hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop feed store in Kalihi are chock-full of chow for a surprising variety of creatures, including goats, turtles, pot-bellied pigs and chinchillas. It’s on the same corner as Helena’s Hawaiian Food, so you can grab a bite, too.
1244 N. School St, (808) 845-2894
When this place opened as a feedstore about 100 years ago, it was on the outskirts of town. But town has grown, and now it’s an oddball, one-story shack in the heart of the city. The owner, Kyle Nishioka, knows his customers so well he can pull a bag of what they’ve come for off the shelf before they’re even out of the car. Just don’t try to pay with plastic—this place is still old school like that.
1827 S. Beretania St., (808) 949-1457
Waimanalo Feed Supply
This place has a little something for a wide variety of animals, from pet mice to livestock. For the DIY puppy owner, it’s got parvovirus and leptospirosis vaccine. There’s even a grocery section with Pop Tarts and peanut butter for you know who.
41-1521 Lukanela St., (808) 259-5344
Aiko the Shiba Inu stocks up on chow.
This boutique pet health-food store specializes in top-of-the-line, filler-free pet foods. Some of the brands it carries aren’t available anywhere else in Hawaii. A wide selection of treats include organic dog cookies, dried venison tongue, and low-cholesterol, low-sodium, no-fat, free-range, grass-fed buffalo chews.
535 Ward Ave., (808) 591-9944
Your modern four-legged friend is welcome to shop with you at this ecofriendly “pet lifestyle store” in Kapolei. The floor plan imagines the store to be a home, with toys and apparel in the “bedroom,” grooming products and litter bags in the “bathroom,” kennels in the “garage,” and all-natural foods in the “kitchen.”
563 Farrington Highway, (808) 674-2055.
CAMPBELL THE CAT, WORKING ON THE VISION THING.
Honolulu has more than 150 veterinarians, but only one of them specializes in treating the diseases and disorders of the animal eye. Maya Yamagata, of Hawaii Veterinary Vision Care, is the sole board-certified veterinary opthamologist in the state. Heaven forbid, but should your canine get cataracts or your kitty get keratitis, Yamagata is the specialist to see. By referral only.
1021 Akala Lane, (808) 593-7777
HONEY THE DACHSHUND GOES RAW.
Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine for Dogs
In the dog world, raw foodism isn’t for paradigm-smashing culinary radicals. It’s for gourmets. Raw Dog Hawaii, which offers complete, fresh-frozen, uncooked canine diets, works with local farmers and ranchers in much the way that restaurant’s like Merriman’s and Alan Wong’s do. Ingredient listings on Raw Dog’s various grinds, which look like hamburger, read almost like menu descriptions: “local grass-fed beef,” “in-season vegetables,” “local eggs,” “pasture-raised lamb ... raised at the Tin Roof Ranch in Haleiwa.” The prices are gourmet too. Using the handy, online Raw Dog Feeding Calculator, we determined the tab for an active, 75-pound labrador on a strict raw food diet: $376 per month.
Available at Cocojor dog Emporium and Spaw, 975 Kapiolani Blvd., and online at rawdoghawaii.com
The Bird Guy
If you’ve strolled through Waikiki’s International Marketplace lately, you may have seen the guy with parrots perched on his shoulders and head, selling photo ops. The man beneath the feathers is Bruce McGonigal, The Bird Guy, and he brings his friendly, touchable birds to parties, corporate retreats and all sorts of other events—$200 for an hour-long visit. He has a deep well of talent, including birds that give shakas and say things like “wanna pet the bird?” and—yes—“Polly want a cracker?” McGonigal also buys, sells, trades and boards exotic birds. The cages in and around his Kamehameha Heights home house about 200 of them. “It’s like Jurrasic Park around here,” he says.
birdguyhawaii.com, (808) 386-8606.
No Pets Allowed! Unless ...
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there for renters with pets looking for housing in Honolulu. But a some relief may be on the way. A pet deposit bill in the Legislature, which shows good signs of becoming law, would encourage landlords to rent to pet owners by allowing them to hold a security deposit to cover damages caused by an animal residing on their property.
The pet deposit would be in addition to the maximum security deposit that’s currently allowed, which is equal to one month’s rent. Under both the senate version of the bill, SB 329, and its house companion, HB 1316, landlords would be prohibited from requiring additional deposits from tenants with disabilities who use assistance animals.
In the meantime, apartment-hunting pet owners might want to check the Hawaiian Humane Society’s Tips for Tenants—which include gathering letters of reference and vaccination certificates—at hawaiianhumane.org. The upshot is that individual landlords who reject pets can be convinced to change their minds.
Jennifer Han, the Humane Society’s policy advocate, successfully applied these tips when she and her English bulldog, Georges, were apartment hunting. “The goal was to prove that he’s such a good dog,” she says. “But more importantly, that I’m such a good owner.”
Reading to Dogs
When you read out loud to dogs, they will not tell you that you skipped a page or correct your pronunciation. They will listen, and maybe wag their tails. This makes them the perfect practice partners for kids who struggle with reading. The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) program puts dogs in schools and libraries to help kids build their confidence as they take on the printed word. The program is run by Hawaii Fi-Do, a nonprofit that raises assistance dogs for people with disabilities.
To get READ in your library or school, call 638-0200. hawaiifido.org.
TROUBLE THE RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK ON THE GO.
Just because you aren’t burning off your pent-up energy with a run on the beach or a hike in the mountains is no reason your dog can’t. Doggie Adventures and Training will pick up your dog at your home, take it on an outing, and return it to you freshly bathed and tuckered out. The packages involve one to four hours of activity and range in price from $45 to $95. Photos of your dog having fun without you are available, too. If that inspires you to get out there yourself next time, all the better.
808dogbone.com, (808) 551-7994
Shrimp, the Perfect Pets?
You could make a case that the tiny, red, endemic Hawaiian shrimp—the o-pae ula—are the perfect pets. They grow their own food, so you don’t have to feed them. You don’t have to clean up after them, because it’s their waste that fertilizes the algae they eat. They won’t get bigger than a half inch, and their self-contained brackish-water habitats don’t take up a lot of room on your desk. Mostly what they need from you is somebody to keep them out of direct sunlight and in a place where the temperature stays between 65 and 85 degrees. Get that right and they can live for years. Oh My Opae sells them online, in attractive vases, starting at $30.
ohmyopae.com, (808) 375-3064
MAVERICK THE JACK RUSSEL TERRIER READY FOR PAMPERING.
Dogs’ Night Out, With Parking
Cocojor Dog Emporium and Spaw is always trying new things. Some work out, and some don’t. The deep-cleaning “micro-bubble treatment,” which purportedly cures canine skin conditions, has won positive customer reviews. The doggie-human couples-style massage—in which dogs and their people were invited to enjoy side-by-side onsen massages—never really caught on. Cocojor’s latest innovation is the Night Life Spaw. The idea is that you get to stay out on the town until midnight while your dog relaxes at the spa, enjoying grooming services, the micro-bubble bath or simply the company of the other spa dogs. Free parking along Kapiolani Boulevard sweetens the deal.
975 Kapiolani Blvd., (808) 592-3647