By 9:30 a.m. on a recent weekday, Candy Ching, Cyn Okido and Kelley Streadbeck already had been going about their routines in the dog kennels at Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for more than an hour – scooping poop, feeding the dogs and mopping the area. There are about 60 dogs currently, and the three volunteers are responsible for tending to most of the canines. It’s a dirty job, and while somebody has to do it, that somebody doesn’t have to be these three – they’re all here as volunteers with the SPCA.
“For any animal lover, if you come here and you look into their eyes, you’ll know why we come,” Ching says. “You just love the animals, and we come for the animals.”
Based in Kapolei, SPCA is an animal shelter with a no-kill philosophy. It rescues animals that have been neglected, abandoned or abused, and provides them with care until they are adopted.
Ching, Okido and Streadbeck all work with the dogs as kennel cleaners, and each has taken on additional responsibilities. Ching facilitates community service; Okido walks dogs and is the volunteer coordinator; Streadbeck makes dog beds and serves as a manager. They all work several hours a day a few times a week, and also help out at monthly SPCA events, such as taking animals to Petco for adoption weekends.
Many of the animals SPCA rescues have come from bad homes or have spent their entire lives on the street.
“We have certain dogs that we thought would never get adopted,” Ching says. “They come in with no fur, they are skin and bones and raw and bleeding, and we nurse them back to health and they get adopted.”
One such dog was Sweetie, a skittish pit bull mix that wasn’t faring well in the shelter. Streadbeck, noticing Sweetie’s troubles, knew that the dog was unlikely to be adopted and took her in. Today, while she still has a number of quirks, Sweetie is living happily with Streadbeck and her family.
“We always believe that there is a perfect family for every dog,” Okido says. “And until then, we just give them love and affection.”
Now mid-morning, the volunteers return to the dogs. There still are more kennels to clean and a few hours of work ahead.
“It is really hard work,” Okido admits, “but it is so rewarding because you are doing good for totally innocent creatures that have no say.”
Oahu SPCA has moved: It is now located at 91-153 Hanua St. in Campbell Industrial Park. It always is looking for donations and volunteers. To get involved or to learn more about the organization, call 754-1519 or visit oahuspca.org. Also check out the SPCA booth at the Ewa by Gentry swap meet from 8 a.m. to noon March 2 at Thomas H. Gentry Community Park.