Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Alaqua - An Animal Refuge

The last post highlighted a wonderful organization helping the less fortunate people in the local community.  Now, it is time to bring attention to a wonderful place dedicated to helping the furry and feathered community – Alaqua Animal Refuge.

Alaqua spends over $50,000 a month in operational
costs which is raised from donations and
fund raisers like the one we attended.
The name “Alaqua” was quite familiar to us as we have seen “Alaqua” this and "Alaqua” that.  We discovered that, in addition to the local dog park (named “Alaqua Unleashed” and a place where we have met some wonderful people), there is an animal refuge located about 30 minutes north of where we are camped.  Last weekend we attended a fund raiser for the Alaqua Animal Refuge which was a great time where the public green space was coated with four-legged furry friends  frolicking in “their day” and us two-legged animals were just there to chaperone.  So after attending the dog park numerous times and the fund raiser, it was time to visit the animal refuge we had been hearing so much about and see what it was all about. 

Alaqua Animal Refuge is not just about neglected animals sadly housed in a smelly concrete shelter waiting out their days until a prospective good home comes by to adopt them.  In sharp contrast, the refuge sits on a scenic 10-acre farm where cats are housed in attractive buildings providing breezy screened in porches with sunny perches, horses and ponies graze in lush pastures, dogs have spacious outdoor runs, and the barns look like they belong in Kentucky.  

Cats waiting for adoption lounge comfortably in this spacious facility where they are
able to nap in the sun or under a cooling fan or air conditioner.   
The Florida "Cracker" style house is where the kittens are housed.
In order to avoid temptation, we did not go inside.
We were struck by the flurry of passionate volunteers buzzing around graciously caring for the plethora of cats, dogs, chickens, cows, horses, ponies, pigs, rabbits, and countless other animals in need.  Not only do volunteers care for the animals but they are instrumental in socializing them and getting them ready for adoption.  Alaqua has also teamed up with a local prison so dogs can get additional socialization.  

Dogs have indoor and outdoor runs and are walked daily by volunteers.
Alaqua serves as a refuge for some 250 animals at a time and adopts up to 100 animals a month.  Sadly though, this no-kill shelter receives nearly 100 calls a day requesting shelter for neglected animals and is unable to accept all of them.  Remarkably, Alaqua has been able to find homes for over 9,000 animals since they started in 2007 - a pretty impressive figure.  The future of the refuge has lofty goals with a planned expansion to an 85-acre farm enabling them to house more animals.  After our tour we concluded the dire need for a larger facility was evident and were happy to make a donation.

A few more pics from Alaqua Animal Refuge and the fund raiser we attended in Rosemary Beach.

This dog was sporting his rodeo-themed halloween costume.  
Spirit made a new friend!

Happy Thanksgiving.  Be safe.


  1. It breaks my heart to see how people can be so cruel and abandon animals. Thank goodness for caring people like Alaqua. Special people indeed. I could never work in a place like that because I'd be taking all the animals home...

    1. I find it very hard visiting shelters because I want to adopt everything.

  2. I could never volunteer in an animal shelter--it breaks my heart and I would want to bring them all home with me! I do donate money and food, though. I hope there is a special place reserved for people when they die who abuse/abandon animals and children!!

  3. Alaqua shelter Looks like a wonderful place. If you ever make it to Kanab, UT you should visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary...the same idea on a much larger scale. You can volunteer for any amount of time so it's easy to plan a stopover for a brief or long time. They even have a couple of RV sites!

    Metamorphosis Lisa

    1. Wow, I did not know they have RV sites. What a great way to attract volunteers.


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