Look around 30A. Just about everyone has a well loved dog and they are providing full and happy lives for their special pets. We might tend to assume that all animals have good homes, just as ours do. Not so.
Laurie Hood, a Walton County resident, discovered that huge numbers of unwanted animals were being euthanized due to the shortage of no – kill animal shelters in the area and she decided to do something about it. She worked to create Alaqua Animal Refuge which advocates the humane treatment of animals by providing shelter and adoptive services for neglected and abused animals. Since Alaqua opened its doors on 2007, they have found homes for more than 7,000 animals. About 100 animals are adopted each month and the facility houses more that 250 animals at any given time.
Alaqua is located on a 10 acre farm in Freeport, an idyllic environment for these needy animals.Here, they may run and play in the pastures, swim in the ponds, take naps on screened porches or graze in the fields. The facility includes several buildings and barns for horses, dog and cat cottages, two quarantine buildings and an infirmary. It costs about $50,000 a month to operate and Alaqua depends entirely on donations with a focus on special events and fund raisers.
A fund raising event is coming up on December 11, 2011 – The 5th Annual Holiday Bone-Anza at Alaqua Unleashed dog park! There will be live music provided by Daphne Willis, Bryan Kennedy, Kyle LaMonica and Derek Givans. Attendees will enjoy the holiday shopping market, gumbo cook off, crafts with Santa’s elves, sweets and treats and children’s games. Yes, you may bring leashed pets! Your $5 donation will be used to help fund this amazing facility. The address for the event is 342 JD Miller Road, Santa Rosa Beach.
Area restaurants donate funds as well. On Wednesday, December 7, 2011, Fish Out of Water in WaterColor is sponsoring an event called A Dog Without a Home. They are offering a three course menu for $35 per person from 6 -9 P.M. The best part? 50% of the proceeds will be donated to Alaqua!
Rosemary Beach is helping by sponsoring Rosemary Beach Unleashed
on Sunday, December 4, 2011. The afternoon festival will feature a 6 panel mural filled with paintings of 90 area pets. Much music will be in the air and there will be lots of games for the whole family! And, of course, there will be pets available for adoption by deserving families.
You may choose to spend some of your time volunteering at the Alaqua facility. Those who do help have told me that it is a very rewarding experience. Please, consider volunteering or attending the fund raising events. You’ll be glad you did!