Caring K9s Therapy Dogs, Maui exists to improve the quality of life for people on Maui through therapy dog visits (both comfort visits and specific animal-assisted therapy), Reading Education Assistance Dogs® programs for children and animal care education.
The founder of Caring K9s Maui, Melodie Ulman, first discovered the magic of animal therapy in 1999. After undergoing training and evaluation, she embarked on volunteer animal-assisted therapy work in the Lake Tahoe with her rescue mastiff, Shasta. Melodie saw how just a few minutes with a therapy dog could make a big difference to someone’s well-being, and she knew then she had found her calling in life.
Melodie began visits with her two labradors, Jaya and Maka, at Hale Makua, Kahului in 2007, visiting once a week during her 2-month stays in the Spring and Fall. She saw the tremendous desire, on the part of patients and staff, for more visits and resolved to become instrumental in growing a therapy dog organization on Maui.
Before moving to Maui in 2012, Melodie completed coursework to become a Licensed Therapy Animal Instructor and Evaluator. She held her first Maui-based evaluation in November 2012 and over time has built a core group of volunteers who visit many facilities and populations throughout the island with their pets.
Caring K9s Maui provides training and evaluation procedures for therapy dogs and their handlers and we work to increase public awareness of the benefits of Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). As volunteers, we take our trained and certified family pets to visit many groups of people and facilities, including: