Peace Of Mind For Pet People | Hawaii Jobs

Peace Of Mind For Pet People

Cook, left, Christina Zeoli, Shawna Lee and co-owner Matt Malta.

By Brandon Bosworth

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 60 percent of households on Oahu have at least one dog or cat. For many, pets are treasured members of the family, and owners want nothing but the best for them.

The “best” is absolutely what Alii Animal Hospital and Resort in Kakaako strives to provide. The 6,500-square-foot facility offers a variety of services focusing on whole pet wellness in a setting described as fear-free, designed to make both pets and pet parents comfortable and at ease from the moment they walk through the door. It is the only full-service animal hospital that also provides 24-hour luxury lodging and spa services on Oahu.

Alii Animal Hospital and Resort is the brainchild of veterinarian Joanna Cook and her business partner Matt Malta. “We wanted a facility that had a whole-health approach that was a step above most kennels while providing peace of mind and veterinary services in one place,” Malta said.

There are two sides to Alii Animal Hospital and Resort. On the resort side, there are boarding facilities for pets to stay while their people are away — this includes eight large Kahala Suites, and 20 smaller Waikiki Suites, with all offering the same services.

“With amenities like ergonomic, allergen-free pet beds with turndown service, soothing music, a flat-panel TV, at least three walks a day, and online pet video monitoring, you can be sure your fur babies are well-cared for, all under the supervision of veterinary-trained staff,” Cook said. Pet parents can even dispense treats to their animal friend(s) from afar via smart phone.

If pet owners need care for their dog while at work, Alii also offers daycare services, complete with a playroom full of obstacles to keep pets entertained and happy. To maintain safety, Malta said no more than 20 dogs are allowed in the play area at one time. The rest are kept in pens and then rotated in. Dogs are also assessed by personality to make sure they can safely be around other animals.

“We separate the less social pets, but even they get playtime,” Malta added. “All of our daycare guests get walked four times a day, plus lunch followed by naptime.” Having the hospital in the same location makes it easier to care for animals staying in the resort who might need special care or develop problems.

For example, a canine guest had a seizure for the very first time while staying at Alii. “He never had seizures before,” Cook said, “but because we are also a hospital we were able to treat him and he went home that night.”

The hospital side of Alii features five exam rooms, digital full-body Xray, ultrasound, treatment rooms, a surgery suite, an oral surgery room, and an on-site laboratory for expedient return of test results. There is also an in-house pharmacy that stocks an extensive range of medications, parasite preventatives, supplements, prescription diets, and more. Alii offers acupuncture and laser therapy, as well as a stance analyzer to detect where pets may be experiencing pain to better treat and monitor results.

As part of its dedication to animal welfare, Alii has recently started talking with the Hawaiian Humane Society about ways to help animals in need. “I used to work at the Humane Society,” Malta said. “Some pets take longer to be adopted than others, and some need rehabilitation or just a break from the shelter. We want to help pets, whether it’s helping socialize them or giving them a makeover and a better headshot to help them get adopted.”

As the company grows, Malta said Alii Animal Hospital and Resort will be looking for additional staff. Alii offers ample employee benefits, and Malta said the daycare services are a big draw. “It helps keep good technicians, and some people said they took the job because of the daycare.”

Malta added that Alii tries to be consistent with the principles of a teaching hospital. Staff are encouraged to help one another. “Many of our technicians are on a pre-veterinarian path, and some are just trying out the industry,” he said. “Part of your job as a technician is to make other technicians’ jobs easier.”

When considering potential hires, Cook said she looks for happy, positive people with excellent communication and customer service skills. “We want Alii Animal Hospital and Resort to be a place where everyone is as excited to work here as Matt and I are.”

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THE 411

COMPANY: Alii Animal Hospital and Resort
OWNERS: Joanna Cook and Matt Malta
YEAR: 2019
LOCATION: 942 Kawaiahao St., Kakaako
PHONE: 234-3441
BENEFITS: Full medical, dental and drug plans; discount on medical services for employee pets; daycare services