Waianae couple’s local effort helps dozens of cash-strapped families feed their pets

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — As the pandemic began, Pride Mendonza saw more and more stray dogs roaming the Waianae Coast.

He learned that some families released their animals because they could not afford to buy animal food. So he and his wife, Elsie, did something about it.

“And we thought if they could just get food and feed their animals, they wouldn’t get rid of the animals,” Mendonza said. “My wife and I decided to go ahead and do something.”

The pair named their grassroots effort Waianae Wags.

They used their own money to buy large amounts of pet food, split it into small packages, and gave it to pet owners who needed help.

Then it grew.

“We spoke with the Humane Society. Then Elsie decided to do the paperwork on the nonprofit and stuff like that,” Mendoza said.

The word spread.

Soon the Hawaiian Humane Society and the Hawaii Foodbank donated large amounts of pet food to Waianae Wags.

“They had pallets of it and they gave us pallets of it. And we were handing out bags, 40-pound bags of food,” Mendoza said.

Individuals and groups have also helped them collect food for food drives.

The grassroots effort helped feed hundreds of pets on the west side of Oahu.

“We want them to keep their animals. If we can provide the food, that’s one less thing they have to, you know, worry about,” Mendonza said.

But pet food donations from major agencies have slowed as the need for cash-strapped pet owners remains.

The couple therefore does not let go.

“It’s already my calling,” Mendonza said. “That’s what we want to do.”

And twice a month, Waianae Wags donates dog and cat food to pet owners in homeless camps, so their pets don’t starve.

“They’re so grateful,” Mendoza said. “They are so happy.”

As he continues his work, the nonprofit would appreciate pet food donations — and monetary donations so he can do more.

You can read all about their pet food campaign by clicking here.