POOCH SCOOP: Happy 'Howlidays' to you

P.A. DeFrenza
Merry Christmas from your furreindly Pooch Scoop reporters:

Pawsome Patty, Highland Gent Tucker and Miss Lacy Freebush. SPECIAL TO THE LOG

Pups Are Not Presents — Don’t fall for that “The Puppy in the Window” impulse. Many pet shops say that they buy from “private breeders,” but the pups actually come from privately-owned puppy mills. The females are bred repeatedly until they can no longer produce, and then they're discarded like trash by euthanasia. There is little to no health screening for inherited disorders, which will cost you in veterinary bills in the future. No respectable breeder will be breeding multiple breeds of dogs or mixes. Ask for clear health verifications for the parent’s hips, eyes, etc. of the breed. If they don’t have extensive veterinary health records to show you of the pup, sire and dam, run. A true responsible breeder, will show you records, including the screenings and shots for the puppy.

Buying a puppy is a major commitment financially, and it’s just not fair for the receiver to be given a puppy as a gift. There are breed traits that might not fit the person’s lifestyle or the family. Food, shots, flea, tick and heart guard, etc., can cost over $50 a month. Plus, some dogs are great with little children and others not so much. Read about the breeds and their traits before you consider buying or adopting any pup or dog. All puppies are cute, but that’s not a reason to choose your next family member. Do your homework first so your furry canine friend becomes a welcome member of your family forever.

Can’t Adopt a Furry Friend? — There are living situations that simply don’t allow you to have a dog, but you can help a homeless dog stay happy, healthy and well fed by sponsoring a dog through a local rescue or shelter. Local breed specific rescue organizations pull their breed slated for euthanasia at kill shelters so they may have a chance at a new life. Rescuers are compassionate and do this work voluntarily. Your monthly pledge amount to help one dog saves a life and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Alaqua Animal Refuge is a no-kill shelter for many animals, including abused and neglected horses too. You can donate a monthly pledge of $23 to provide the care for these rehabilitating animals. Just call Taylor Hood at 850-880-6399 or email and let him know you would like to join the “Rescuers Club” for homeless dogs and horses. Tell him you read about it in The Pooch Scoop News in The Destin Log. (The Scoop can be read online by going to and share on Facebook with all your furiends.)

Woof: Alaqua is growing next year to provide expanded services for the care of homeless animals and to make the adoption process a very enjoyable experience.

Paw Script: Ask Taylor how to get pre-approved as an adoptive parent for your next furry four legged friend. If you are pre-approved, when the specific breed comes in that you are looking for, you will be called.

Sanctuary Friends for People? — This time of year we remember to be grateful for all of our blessings, including the gift of health. Sanctuary Friends Network is a local 501(C) 3 non-profit charitable organization that provides the gift of family beach memories for children and/or adults suffering with or affected by cancer. The accommodations are offered for these family vacations for free. No charge. I have met some of the people who came for a stay, and it makes one realize that the gift of life and time can be very limited. Please make someone’s dreams come true and donate today. No hunting for information required, as you can visit the website at or contact co-founder Dr. Richie Hughes at to make a donation or to refer a child or adult’s family for this rare, but amazing, gift of happiness in Destin. Their mission is to provide love, comfort, support and happiness to these families who need some peace and rest.

Smooches to all you pooches out there and have a Merry Christmas and a very Yappy New Year.

Lots of licks and hugs from your furiendly Pooch Scoop reporters — Patty, Highland Gent (aka Tucker) and little Miss Congeniality … Lacy Freebush.

PA DeFrenz is a Destin resident, freelance writer, and The Pooch Scoop News reporter. Send your upcoming pawsome news and/or events to