Moving Rescue Pets Out of Hawai'i

Hi there!

My husband and I are moving away from my home state of Hawai'i to Tennessee, to live closer to our relatives and 92-year-old grandmother. It's a big move, but the hardest part is bringing our family of rescue pets with us. 

Each and every one of our "fur-babies" came from a life-threatening situation and have unique conditions that make them difficult to rehome (see details about each pet in the Meet the Family section below). 

Our goal is to raise funds by January 1st to get these special animals to California, where we will drive cross-country to Tennessee. We have a stable home situation ready in Tennessee, and just need to get the animals across the ocean to California where we will do much celebrating. ((Scroll to the bottom to see our Budget Breakdown.))


Many visitors see Hawai'i simply as a paradise, and some even assume that daily life must be a walk on the beach--but living in Hawai'i can be just as challenging as anywhere else, especially if you happen to be a feral kitty or dog. Overpopulation due to a lack of spaying and neutering has made Maui home to large feral colonies, and a lack of affordable housing on the island contributes greatly to pet abandonment. Due to a painfully inflated rental market, the situation isn't much better for dogs.


Realizing that we do not have the funds to bring our rescue family with us (an agonizing reality), we contacted no-kill shelters across the island and even investigated shelters on neighboring islands, hoping to find our beloved companions a safe place to live and be adopted. Each person we spoke with seemed truly grateful that we were rescuers, but equally apologetic that they could not help us--all of the shelters here on Maui are over-capacity. These include 9th Life Hawai'i, Leilani Farm Sanctuary, East Maui Animal Refuge, and more. 

The only option left to us would be the Maui Humane Society, a high-volume kill shelter. As our rescue pets do not meet the requirements of a speedy adoption at MHS, they are just as likely be put to the needle and euthanized. This is not an exaggeration. Many of Maui's no-kill rescues exist solely to save animals from this fate at MHS. 


Luna is a 9-year-old Dalmatian-heeler mix that we rescued from the Maui Humane Society 6 years ago. We noticed her adoption ad posted on craigslist, and came to the shelter 90 days later to find her still there. When we inquired, MHS staff told us she was slated to be euthanized the following day for no reason other than she simply hadn't been adopted yet. Even the staff veterinarians said they were struggling to find a way to save her, but were too overloaded with animals themselves. We adopted her that very day. When we got her, she was a cat and chicken chaser--with our consistent, personal training she's now a cat and chicken guardian. 


Ember is a 5-year-old rescue kitty from the Maui Humane Society. Her spay had been botched and her stomach was infected when we brought her home. She was also suffering from upper resperitory illness, and needed to be monitored carefully as we nursed her back to health. She is a feisty huntress and is the best of friends with our dog, Luna. Ember snuggles up to Luna on cold nights and even grooms her by cleaning her face. We're pretty sure she thinks she's a dog. 


Captain Fluffers is a stunningly handsome 6-year-old feral kitty. When we found him, he was roaming the forests near our house--at first we thought he must belong to a neighbor, so we left him alone. We didn't pick him up until we found him hobbling and collapsing in the woods. Upon inspection we discovered he was dehydrated and starving to death. We canvased the neighborhood, but no one recognized him. Perfectly wild, and just past the age of bonding with humans in a traditionally "tame" sense, he is still afraid of everyone but us to this day--but holy moly is he a snuggler behind closed doors! He must appreciate how much we helped him. 


Egret is a 3-year-old feral kitty with similar origins as Captain (which is sort of adorable by the time you get to the end of her story).  After finding three other kittens who had starved to death on the acreage near our home, Egret came to us wilder than the day is long, but hungry enough to risk our company. We spent 2-3 hours every day, using cat behavior tecniques to gain her trust and after several months, finally brought her into our home. Like Captain, we had the intention of adopting her out, but she was (and is) still too afraid of other people. She and Captain fell in kitty-love, and though they are not related, they snuggle and groom one another and never part company for long.

Tyrion is a 3-year-old feral-manx and one of the most unique and difficult cases of rescue we've ever faced. He was found as an exceptionally tiny kitten, at a rodeo by our then-11-year-old niece and god-daughter. They discovered a pair of young, unsupervised children playing with him like a ragdoll. No one knew where he'd come from, but it was clear to our niece and god-daughter that he was very sick. They knew that we were good at nursing kitties back to health and came to us for help. We quickly took him to the vet and discovered some disturbing things: he was deaf in both ears from ear infections, his eyes were both infected and blinded, his spine was slightly short, stiff, and malformed, he suffered from upper respritory infection, both of his front ankles had been broken, and he had a heart-whistle. The final surprise came when the vet told us he was older than he looked, and that he had been born with dwarfism. He also told us to try not to get attached and that little Tyrion was likely to die. Against all odds, we cared for him day and night, applying medication and cleaning his eyes and ears, taking shifts sleeping on the couch to stay at his side at all times. This went on for 6 months until he was finally strong enough to recover--along the way, he regained his eyesight, his hearing, his ankles healed, and the vet was amazed to announce that his heart-whistle had vanished. Tyrion still suffers from back pain and cronic ear infections, but that doesn't stop him--he rules the household (us aside) as alpha, and has positioned himself above the other cats and even the dog. --Yes, that's right, he was named after Tyrion Lannister because he is just as clever and brave as the Game of Thrones character. "A Lannister always pays his debts."

((All of the kitties are too feral to rehome easily, and would be put down at MHS, except for Tyrion, who requires frequent medical care and would likely be put down for his health issues instead. Luna already escaped death-row at MHS once, we can't let her go to that place again.))


$1,600.00   (everything listed is required for travel)

Airline-Safe Hard-Case Carriers -- $40.00 x4 for cats. $66.00 for dog.  Sub-total: $226.00

Group Veterinary Exam (to be done 10 days before flight) -- $45.00 for first pet, $35.00 for second pet, $32.00 for third pet, $32.00 for fourth pet, $32.00 for fifth pet.  Sub-total: $176.00

Health Certificate (one per species) -- $33.00 for dog, $33.00 for cats.  Sub-total: $66.00

Rabies Vaccinations -- $24.00 x5.  Sub-total: $120.00

Pet Plane Tickets -- $170 x5 (possibly more for Luna, depending on her weight, but we have no idea what to estimate so I left it at 170)  Sub-total: $850.00

Taxes and Fees -- $162.00 (taxes may end up more than this, but we didn't know what to estimate)

--Grand total-- $1,600.00


Any and all contributions help, even if it's a few dollars. We truly and humbly appreciate your help and generosity, and even if you can't help, we are grateful that you spent this time to read our story. 

If our friends and family sees this, we'd like to opt out of Christmas gifts this year...all we want for Christmas is our animal-family safe and sound and with us in our new life on the mainland. 

Very best wishes, 

Alissa and Kevin Ivanovich-Phan 

(...and Luna, Ember, Captain, Egret and Tyrion too...)

PS: Check out the videos of baby Tyrion playing and Egret's essential-patience taming process. Linked below. <3 

Gaining Egret's trust video: 

Tyrion's recovery video:

Thanks for watching!


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Alissa-Kevin Pet-Rescue 
Kailua, HI
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