Restaurant Goes To The Dogs For FI-DO Benefit

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - November 28, 2007
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Volunteer trainers and Hawaii State Hospital Animal Assisted Therapy staff
Volunteer trainers and Hawaii State Hospital Animal Assisted Therapy staff interact with FI-DO service dogs during a learning trip to Windward Mall. From left are (back) Martha Noyes, Shirley Takara, Therisa Burke, Lisa Hey, Dr. Tiffany Kawaguchi, Ronnica Lee, Kathy Summers, and (front) Judy Suan. Photo by Susan Luehrs.

To ease costs of veterinary visits and special supplies, a fundraising celebration will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. this Saturday at Cinnamon’s Family Restaurant in Kailua for the North Shore nonprofit agency, Hawaii FI-DO.

The benefit features pupus, a carving station and homemade dessert. A wine bar will also be available for an additional $5. Carolers, a silent auction and service dog demonstrations will have tails wagging. Silent auction items include overnight stays at Turtle Bay Resort, pet gifts, antique Barbie dolls, dog training, massage certificates and more. Tickets are $50, with a tax deductible donation of $20 going directly to Hawaii FI-DO.

Founded by North Shore resident Susan Luehrs in 1999, Hawaii FI-DO Service Dogs has proven that the dog truly is man’s best friend. The unique organization breeds, raises and trains service dogs to aid those who have a disability other than blindness.

Pure-bred Golden Retriever, Boxer, King Charles Spaniels, and Lab-mix puppies as well as Labradoodles - a hypo-allergenic mix of Labrador and standard poodle - are placed with volunteer “foster families” to get accustomed to various living situations. They continue gaining socialization skills through training programs with high-risk youth at Kahuku Intermediate and High schools and in the Hawaii State Hospital’s Animal Assisted Therapy advanced program.

After graduating,service dogs can pull wheelchairs, retrieve objects, turn lights on and off, and alert caregivers to medical situations. They also are employed as companions for children with special needs and as facility dogs for senior citizens.

Seats for the fundraiser are going fast, organizers say. To reserve a place and to support the Hawaii FI-DO mission, drop by Cinnamon’s (at 315 Uluniu St.) or call Judy Suan at 221-5698.

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