During her orientation at the Hawaiian Humane Society, Shelley Pang listened carefully to all the roles she could play as a volunteer. “Everyone wanted to walk the dogs; I was like, ‘Let me see what no one else wants to do.’ So every Sunday morning, I clean. I scrub walls and scoop poop and clean the 26 kennels.”
Pang works full time at Kaiser High School as an educational assistant, yet volunteers about eight hours each weekend. She’s one of about 600 volunteers and 75 employees at the society, which has been raising funds for a major renovation of its Moiliili headquarters and an expansion into West Oahu.
The nonprofit says it cares for about 25,000 animals a year. “Pigs, turtles, chinchillas, rabbits, guinea pigs, fancy pigeons … it’s not just dogs and cats,” Pang says. She reads to dogs as part of the society’s Relax Program, which helps dogs get socialized; trains new volunteers; and helps at events like Doggie Speed Dating. But you won’t find her cuddling cats – she’s allergic.
“My family has been here four, five generations and just as I want to eat local, I want to support a local organization. This feeds my soul. I look at these animals, and they all need an opportunity.”