Pet Pot-purrr-ri: Cool Pet Stuff in Hawaii
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Read about our consult with a pet telepathist.
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., 592-3647.
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