service dogs

“Fake Service Dog” bill quietly became law

This week something extremely important happened here in Hawaii. The “Fake Service Dog” bill (SB 2461 CD1) quietly became law! It’s effective date is January 1, 2019.

This would make it a civil violation when one poses their pet as a service dog when it is not and make Hawaii one of the states that recognizes that people faking their pets as service dogs.  

This is wonderful for the protection and respect of legitimate service dog teams. Now the real work must begin to help educate about what a service dog really is and understanding the real intention behind the ADA law that requires service dog access accommodations for those with disabilities.

This would not have been possible without the help of a lot of people! Sen. Ruderman, the bill sponsor. Rep. Nishimoto and Sen. Taniguchi who worked hard to come to a compromise in their Conference Committee. There were many other legislators and legislative aids who also helped behind the scenes.

But as importantly, there were all the service dog teams and puppy raisers who faithfully showed up for legislative committee hearings to voice and show their support. You wrote letters, sent emails and some of you were even able to testify before our legislature’s hearing committees. In a very real way, YOU helped make this happen!! Huge mahalos to all of you!!



Hawaii Fi-Do will Offer Free Informational Workshop as part of International Assistance Dog Week

To kick off International Assistance Dog Week (August 5-11), Hawaii Fi-Do Service Dogs will be having a free informational workshop on Saturday, August 4 at 11 a.m. at the center stage at Windward Mall.

The workshop's topics will include the differences between service dogs versus therapy dogs, what the new fake service dog Hawaii law is and the impact it can have on businesses, and what it means for those who abuse ADA access laws for service dogs. There will also be a demonstration on what service dogs can do and a Q&A from the audience. Numerous working teams and puppy raisers will be at the mall, handing out information on service dogs and the laws.

“With the passage of the new fake service dog law, this is a good opportunity to educate the public and businesses about the law and learn how real and certified service dogs can perform tasks for their owners with disabilities,” said Jim Kennedy, Hawaii Fi-Do executive director.

International Assistance Dog Week was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability-related limitations. In addition to honoring assistance dogs during their special week, one of the goals is to raise awareness about these very special and highly-trained canines.

Assistance Dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities by serving as their devoted companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of their family.


International Assistance Dog Week was established due to the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, NM. Davis is the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, a resource book that captures personal stories, checklists and practical tips to provide the reader with an A-Z guide about service dogs and she is the host of the Internet radio program, Working Like Dogs, at As a member of a service dog team, she founded Working Like Dogs to honor assistance dogs around the world.

More information about International Assistance Dog week can be found at

"Popo Esther Love" legacy fund


Esther Ikemoto, 94, or “Popo” as she was lovingly called, cherished all creatures great and small and she wanted for her love of animals to continue for future generations. Her family wanted to fulfill their mother’s wishes so they created a legacy fund called "Popo Esther Love" at Hawaii  Fi-Do Service Dogs, which has raised over $7,000.

“This legacy would perpetuate her selfless helping spirit. She loved to help others in little and big ways,” her daughter wrote. “When I saw [Hawaii Fi-Do’s] videos, I knew that my mom would be so happy to know that she was helping others. She would be too humble to think that she was changing lives. She would be content in knowing that she was simply making others happy.”

The Ikemoto family grew up with dogs. They had five rescue dogs: Rin Tin Tin, Trixie, Missy, Tanya, and Alvin. They ranged from mixed breed to poodles. Popo didn’t have dogs during her later years in life but cherished her children’s dogs.

One of the reasons her family chose Hawai’i Fi-Do to create their mother’s legacy fund is the community outreach we do through our READ program. One of Popo’s daughters is a teacher at Waikiki Elementary School and one of Hawaii Fi-Do’s teams was there, having kids read to our dogs. The other reason is that we do outreach to businesses and the public to educate people about legitimate service dogs.

“I believe that at the end of our lives, we all hope that our time on Earth has made the world a better place. My amazing mom made an incredible difference in the lives of everyone she met. She was full of grace, love, kindness, humor, and with just enough 'kolohe' to make every encounter you had with her zestfully memorable,” her daughter wrote. “It gives us great solace that my mom's loving selfless spirit is being perpetuated with "Popo Esther's Love" through your wonderful organization.”

Popo, your memory will always be remembered through every service dog we train and life they touch.

If you’re interested in honoring a family member or friend by creating a legacy fund, please contact us at