The founder of Caring K9s Maui, Melodie Ulman first discovered the magic of animal therapy in 1999 when she embarked on volunteer animal-assisted therapy work in the Lake Tahoe area 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 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 from patients and staff for more visits, and resolved to create a therapy dog organization on Maui. In 2012, Melodie became a Licensed Therapy Animal Instructor and Evaluator and moved permanently to Maui. Since then, she has built a core group of volunteers who visit many facilities and people throughout the island with their pets, including nursing homes, hospice patients, as well as various programs at schools, children’s camps, and clubs.