POOCH SCOOP: Be a ‘Santa Paws’ for a worthy cause

P.A. Melle
And they're off! The 5K Wag N' Walk was plenty of fun for everyone.

Happy Howlidays: Our canine kids give so much. Maybe we could follow their example and share such cheerfulness with others this holiday season. A purchased gift may soon be forgotten, but a gift from the heart lasts forever. People who share their hard-earned income with those less fortunate are the backbone of our American society. We’d all like to thank those who have faithfully supported our efforts to provide funds and/or homes to people and pets in need.                                                                                                                                                                   

A shelter without adoptions? Yip, yap, yup. Shelter House, a free resource for women in crisis, has opened a dog shelter to accommodate these women’s beloved, four-legged kids. Women and children in need of immediate shelter services often agonize over having to leave their furry family members behind. Now, they can bring them too. You can be Santa Paws this holiday season by donating a gift to Shelter House at www.shelterhousenwfl.org or call 850-243-1201. Mail donations to: Shelter House at, P.O. Box 220, Fort Walton Beach FL 32549.

Let there be light: The 5k Wag N’ Walk was tailwaggin’ fun for everyone. One hundred sixty four pals with 69 pooches walked or ran in the inaugural event. The proceeds will benefit the Destin Dog Park for night lights. A high five to our vendors for their participation. Nancy Weidenhamer wants to remind us that donations are needed for the park upkeep. Mail to The Destin Dog Park, 4100 Indian Bayou Trail, Destin, FL 32541. 

Tuckers Tales: We respond to kindness, gentleness, and consistency, with daily walks, play time and tasty rewards when in training. People can’t demand respect from people nor can they demand it from canines. Respect must be earned. Training by fear does no good, as it only creates insecurity and instability making shy and fearful dogs. We’d learn early that a raised hand is for punishment. Over time we may react by becoming a “fear biter” just for our own protection. A hand should only be raised for petting or praise, not punishment. Contact a local dog trainer to get you and Cujo started on the right paw toward developing a happy, healthy partnership. 

Lacy’s Licks: I’m your dog, so if I don’t like someone, you probably shouldn’t either.

Something to Bark About: Did you know that 96 percent of pooch owners say that their dog makes them smile more than once a day!

Equine Furry Friends: Two paws up for the Arnetts, owners of Gulfside Trail Rides in Santa Rosa Beach, for generously “rehoming” sheltered horses from Alaqua Rescue. These rescued horses get a second chance at life on their comfortable farm. Visit www.gulfsidetrailrides.com for fun upcoming kids’ activity days, trail rides, camping facilities and special events. Call 850-208-3114. PawScript: Ask for their locals’ discount.

Come. Sit. Be-aware. Puppies, as cute as they are, should not be purchased as gifts. Impulsively purchasing a pup from some pet shops often supports the funding of puppy mill operations. Don’t be fooled by sales tricks, which may claim “our pups are from private breeders.” A puppy mill is often listed as a single owner from another state on registration forms. Mill operators breed a variety of breeds to fill “orders” for pet shop retailers around the country. These mill dogs are kept in small cramped cages and suffer. Females are often bred year after year until they can produce no more. Buying or adopting a dog requires a serious commitment of 10 to 18 years, so gifting a pup to a loved one may not be fair to the pup or recipient. Pick a gift they can return. Dogs are not disposable merchandise. They bond with humans deeply, but will adapt to a kind new owner if one can ever be found. 

Now Stay: If you want a dog, first read about each breed to find one whose energy level will be a perfect match for you and your lifestyle. Check breed rescue sites or Alaqua and Paw’s Rescue Shelters first, as they may have the breed you are looking for. 

Got Toys? Is your budget too stretched for doggie toys? That’s OK. Your dog doesn’t care what they look like, just as long as they are fun to play with. Gather a few mismatched cotton socks; tie two in a few big knots around one long tube sock a few inches apart. Now you have just created a fun-filled chew toy. As with any dog toy, direct supervision during your dog’s play is recommended for safety. 

People Need Shelter Too: The Air Force Enlisted Village provides two independent living communities to Air Force widows, moms of active duty or retired airmen, retired Air Force couples, surviving spouses of airmen who have died while in active duty, and widows of other military services.  If you have questions concerning eligibility, call them at 1-800-258-1413. The Air Force Enlisted Village, Inc. is a 501 c 3 organization. The IRS recognizes contributions made to AFEV as tax deductible. Donations are appreciated. To learn more about these communities visit www.afenlistedwidows.org.                                                                                                                       

Guess Who’s Pawing at the Door? If you can wake up happy and start the day without coffee, ignoring aches and pains, and never complain about your problems to anyone, plus be content with eating the same food at every meal, every day, then you are a lot like me.  If you understand when your family is too busy to give you any quality time, take blame for wrongdoings without holding any grudges, can relieve your tension with some play time, and can sleep without the need for alcohol or prescription drugs, then you must be me. Who am I pawing at your door? I am … your dog.

No hunting or begging required: Attention businesses, advertise your customer rewards. Dog bone coupons are below. Carpet cleaners, fence companies, trainers, pet sitters/walkers, groomers, vets, kennels and carpenters, etc., can call The Destin Log for low-cost bone ads placed under “The Pooch Scoop News” in the paper and on the Internet, too. Call 850-654-8485 

Have a pawsitively pawsome Merry Christmas and a Yappy New Year to all, and to all a good night.

Laps of Love,

From your furreindly Pooch Scoop news reporter and her two furry canine news contributors, Lacy Freebush and Tucker, a.k.a. Highland Gent.

P.A. Melle’, a.k.a The Destin Dog Whisperer/Pooch Scoop Reporter, is a resident of Destin, freelance writer and American Red Cross volunteer. Contact her at  mustlovedogs@cox.net.