by Michele Kayal
photos by Erik Aeder
Miss the family pooch when you travel? If you’re on Maui, you’re in luck: The Maui Grown Market on the legendary road to Hana has eleven lovable dogs eager to play best friend for a day. The scruffy little pups—"poi dogs," or mixed breeds, with names like Sunshine, Koa, Rainbow and Aloha—relish the road’s 600 tight curves, and know all the trails and beaches once you reach East Maui, says market owner and dog mom Chris Borges. Borges started her canine loaner program for vacationers suffering from puppy separation anxiety, but says the dogs get something out of it, too: a good day of exercise with friendly people. "I just do it because when I go on vacation I miss my dogs a lot, so I know how people feel," she says.
Borges, who hopes someday to open an animal sanctuary, doesn’t charge to borrow her pets. She asks only that you buy a lunch before you hit the road. You might want to try the "Mahi’s Famous Ham and Cheese," named after the yellow Labrador who started it all. Nobody seems to recall whether ham and cheese is a personal favorite of Mahi’s or whether it’s "her sandwich" for some other reason. (Mahi, now retired, was unavailable for comment). If dogs aren’t your thing, Borges also keeps three gigantic pot-bellied pigs at the store. But so far, she says, no one’s wanted to take them on the road.
Maui Grown Market