Each year, tens of thousands of animals are abandoned, abused, and neglected; in 2007, the founder of Alaqua Animal Refuge, Laurie Hood, could no longer stand idly by and founded the no-kill organization on a sprawling 10-acres of farmland in Freeport, Florida, which is located roughly 20 minutes north of northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast. Through its tireless efforts, Alaqua Animal Refuge continually makes a meaningful difference in the lives of the animals it sees.

What Alaqua Animal Refuge Does for the Animals

The 10-acre Alaqua Refuge facility located in Freeport, FL (photo c/o Alaqua.org)

The 10-acre Alaqua Refuge facility located in Freeport, FL (photo c/o Alaqua.org)

Since the refuge’s inception, it has helped over 15,000 animals find homes; Alaqua completes roughly 100 adoptions per month and houses approximately 250 animals on the property. Animals at the refuge are not only given plenty of space to explore and to release some of the anxiety from their pasts, but they are also well-cared for and –in cases of abused animals— are nursed backed to health by staff veterinarians.

The refuge’s efforts have proven very successful; however, because there is such a large population of pets needing shelter, nourishment, and support, the refuge is preparing to move to a new Freeport facility that is 10 times the size of its current one. With 100-acres of space, the refuge anticipates being able to help even more animals and to expand educational outreach and community programs like the Equine Interactions Programs.

Volunteers Give from the Heart

Munchkin, one of the refuges many rescue (c/o Alaqua Animal Refuge Facebook photos)

Munchkin, one of the refuges many rescue (c/o Alaqua Animal Refuge Facebook photos)

Because Alaqua Animal Refuge is completely non-profit, the entire operation is funded through donations and fundraising. Many of those who help the animals are volunteers who believe in the refuge’s important mission.

In addition to this, Alaqua Animal Refuge also established the Young Rescuers Club, a youth volunteer program that is as beneficial to the children who participate as it is to the animals. Studies show that animals and pets are beneficial to a child’s development. Children who work with animals grow in confidence and tend to better at expressing themselves. Meanwhile, these children learn compassion and how to care for another living creature. The animals, meanwhile, flourish under the added care of their youthful charges.

Alaqua Animal Refuge Offers Many Programs & Outreach Opportunities

Alaqua Animal Refuge understands that a substantial part of its efforts relies on education, which is why the organization has created several valuable programs and outreach opportunities. Not only do these efforts benefit the charges of the refuge, but they also help to educate members of the community on important issues like spaying and neutering one’s pets.

Harrison, the lab mix with a heart of gold, is currently looking for a forever home.

Harrison, the lab mix with a heart of gold, is currently looking for a forever home.

Additional programs are:

  • Alaqua Unleashed, which is a South Walton County dog park great for allowing dogs to get exercise
  • Unconditional Love, which pairs unwanted, neglected, or abused dogs with inmates; both the animals and the inmates benefit from these interactions.
  • Equine Interactions helps children with developmental needs by allowing them to interact with horses.

Pets Can Find a Home with Alaqua Animal Refuge

Unlike many pet organizations, Alaqua provides transparent resources that enable members of the community to adopt a cat, dog, horse, or pig; to find a pet; to report a lost pet; and to place a pet that the person found or can no longer care for.

Alaqua is an invaluable South Walton in terms of helping people and animals heal by interacting with one another, by providing refuge ill or abused animals, and by providing resources for finding, adopting, or letting go of a pet.

With an operating budget of $80,000 a month, it’s nothing shy of a miracle that Alaqua Animal Refuge stays open; however, it just goes to show that with passion and conviction in a cause, anything is possible.

This video we made for Alaqua in 2016 highlighted an awesome partnership with another client, WellPet. Watch the video and see these great folks in action! 


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If you’ve ever seen our dog videos, you’ll find it’s no surprise that we at The Storyteller Agency love working with the Alaqua Animal Refuge. If your business is looking to get creative and put some memorable videos out on your channels, give us a call. We'd love to help.

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