Maui resident, Matthew Kramer provides doggy daycare and boarding for pet owners transitioning into their new norm post-Lahaina fire
Dog lover and community leader, Matthew Kramer moved to Maui over 3 years ago. Today, he is the owner and founder of Unkle’s Dogs, a new organization created to care for dogs and to help owners seeking temporary pet housing assistance. They hope to minimize any further trauma that dogs might experience with frequent moving, especially after what they've already been through. On his quest to figure out his life path, Kramer has been able to live out his passions with the support and dedication of his better half, Whitney Williams.
"I think it's great KaiAloha features locals [Eco Warriors] who are making an impact on the community. I'm actually training [former Eco Warrior] Matty Schwheitzer's new puppy." Matthew Kramer
After the Lahaina fires, Kramer and Whitney lost their home and were forced to make their dreams into a faster reality. Since then, they’ve been working on building a farm in Olowalu. Together, they train dogs from all over the island, take them on group hikes, and give them a safe space to live while their pet owners make their way through tough transitions, post-fire. In some cases, they cater to dogs on a more permanent basis when their owners are unable to house them in their hotel or rental living situations. "I don't believe in keeping them in kennels all day. We've set it up so that the dogs only sleep in the kennels at night and then at 6am, they start their fun. This is also what allows me to take on more dogs at the farm," Kramer said.
The most dogs Kramer and Whitney have had at the farm in one day is a total of 12. They allow them to play freely with each other in a gated, open space. (KaiAloha Supply / Kassidy Kievit)
The duo accepts dogs as temporary as a day, and up to a week or even months. Whitney and Kramer highly encourage pet owners to keep a consistent relationship with their dog by visiting and playing with them as much as they can, whenever they can. Then, when they are ready and settled down again, the door is always open for them to take their pet back into their loving home. “Being able to help our community in the way we know how to is the best part of this. We help take care of an important facet of their life so that they can figure out the rest of their lives,” Whitney shared.
A group of dogs on the farm January 23, 2024. They spent some time fetching when some of our KaiAloha team came to visit. (KaiAloha Supply / Kassidy Kievit)
Today, Unkle's Dogs receives a high volume of inquiries and phone calls for various pets in need of extra care. However, Kramer and Whitney are unable to take them all in. They have implemented a process that consists of interviewing pet owners to figure out their needs, ensuring that their dogs are fully vaccinated, and furthermore, determining the compatibility their pet has with other dogs on the farm.
Now, they are currently in the process of classifying Unkle's Dogs as a nonprofit organization. They are also working on a more permanent shuttle service that will pick up the dogs and bring them to the farm-- almost like a school bus. Kramer hopes that one day, his farm becomes an open dog park for the community. Already, they've received generous help from the community to create fencing, chop trees, and garden. Even families on vacation are offering to spend time visiting and playing with the dogs during their travels. If you're interested in volunteering or just stopping by for a visit, Kramer and Whitney would love to hear from you!
A group photo of Kramer, Whitney, and their new friends, made through Unkle's Dogs. (KaiAloha Supply / Kassidy Kievit)