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Critter love: Providing foster care for animal orphans

Sometimes the biggest hearts are needed to take care of the tiniest critters

Sometimes the biggest hearts are needed to take care of the tiniest critters.

In this Zevely Zone I met the students at Mount Miguel High School's Transition Program who provide foster care for animal orphans. "That may be the most adorable thing I've ever seen in my life," I said while looking at a bin filled with newborn hamsters. 

Kiana Kapono is the teacher of the program who says her students figured out early on that marketing is big part of find a hamster a home.

"That's Pop Tart is a Ravioli and this is Sriracha and the tan one is Peanut Butter Belongs in the Pantry," said Kiana "They have a rule to follow so the better the name, the more ridiculous the name people will stop and look at the cage so we just adopted Hot Dog is Sandwich, just this week was adopted out".

All of these animals will go to Wee Companions which is a non-profit organization that gives small animals a second chance at a forever home.  "Who is this?" I asked a student named David. "This is Parkin. He is a five year old rabbit. He was found in a park abandoned. He has a broken toe too," said David who wants be a police officer someday and his journey starts here by protecting and serving animals for a teacher he adores.

The Transition Program is for adult students ages 18-22 with special needs.  In collaboration with their environmental focus, they take paper from the campus that would have ended up in the recycling and shred it. It is then repurposed as bedding for the animals in the classroom and at Wee Companions. After the animals are done with it, it can be placed in the compost.

Kiana Kapono shares her Hawaiian heritage with her students and just being in her classroom makes you feel like being on vacation Kiana says this class is about so much more than being a teacher. "I'm a protector and so the biggest way that I can protect these students is to help them become as independent as possible. I am giving them life skills with vocational skills so when they leave my program when they are 22 years old they are completely as independent as possible," said Kiana.

The Aloha spirit is about loving everything around you said a student named Edson. "Why care so much for the animals?" I asked.  Edson told me, "A lot of people say they afraid of rats and they carry disease and they are wild and they carry rabies and I don't blame them they do but sometimes you have to see the other way around. Maybe to some people they are terrifying and scary but to other they are cute and playful." Edson wants to be a contractor some day and he's starting by providing tiny homes for animals in need.  Like this little critter named Pineapple Belongs on Pizza. If you just happen to be looking for a little guy to fill your big heart, they've got Wee Companions for you.

For more information on Wee Companions and how to adopt a small animal in need go to www.weecompanions.org.

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