Saving Faith — A Story of the Power of Compassion, Empathy, and True Human Goodness
Freeport, FL (December 21, 2017) — The heart of Alaqua Animal Refuge’s mission is rescuing and saving animals’ lives—providing shelter, safety, and second chances to thousands of animals every year.
At the core of Alaqua’s work is the largest volunteer base on the Emerald Coast, boasting almost 400 volunteers that contribute over 23,000 hours annually to the nonprofit. These volunteers have an incredible passion for helping animals in need and they show it in everything they do. Whether it is helping in the office, walking dogs, spending time with cats and horses, fostering, or fundraising, they are always giving of their time and, especially, of their hearts. The animals that come through Alaqua’s gates become a piece of their hearts as well and both form a unique bond with each other.
For the past six days, however, Alaqua volunteers banded together for yet another reason. One of Alaqua’s newly adopted pets, Faith, had gone missing from her new home. More than 12 volunteers quickly unified in a search and rescue mission in hopes of finding Faith near where she had last been seen. They set up a messaging platform so they could all stay informed of what was happening, as well as they strategically planned lookout stations for each volunteer to monitor.
Lost dog flyers went up in surrounding areas and information went out in Email blasts and through social media. They talked to everyone on the street and in nearby yards, and even spoke to the mail carriers. They gathered many mornings at 5 a.m. to search for Faith. And in some cases, it was an hour drive for some in each direction. They even contacted the new adopters of Faith’s brother, Frito, to see they would be willing to help with the rescue mission and “loan” Frito to them to help find her.
With Frito in tow, Faith was finally spotted by one of the volunteers in the early morning. Faith started to move cautiously and slowly away. In time, however, through the kind and soft voice calling her name, she felt more comfortable coming near. When Faith spotted Frito, a light bulb went off and she instantly knew who he was and came running.
Faith and her brother, Frito, had come to Alaqua from a very sad situation where they were at risk of abandonment and disease. Full of personality and charm, they warmed the hearts of everyone who met them. They were also both recent graduates of Alaqua’s Unconditional Love Program that rescues unwanted canines from neglect and abuse situations and uses inmate labor to train them with basic obedience skills.
Frito was the key to saving Faith. Through their own faith, positive thinking and immense devotion, Alaqua volunteers made it possible. Yesterday, Faith went home to her new adoptive parents, Frito’s mom and dad. She and Frito will be now be staying together after all in their forever home.
“During this holiday season and really all the time, it is incredibly heartwarming to me that these volunteers have so much love for the animals they help care for at Alaqua. It is beyond any words I can put together,” said Laurie Hood, Alaqua’s founder and president. “They are truly Alaqua’s soul and we are grateful for them beyond measure. We definitely could not do the work at hand without them. Alaqua is certainly a place where dreams come true for animals of all kinds, as well as the people who are dedicated to our mission.”
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About Alaqua Animal Refuge
Alaqua Animal Refuge is a no-kill animal shelter and sanctuary, located in the panhandle of Florida. A member of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, Alaqua believes that every abused, neglected and homeless animal deserves a second chance. Committed to providing protection, shelter and care to animals in need, this private, non-profit Refuge also offers a full-service adoption center, educational outreach, and community programs that extend far beyond their geographic location. Since its inception in 2007, Alaqua has become a recognized leader in animal rescue, welfare, cruelty prevention, and advocacy. Alaqua is currently in the midst of a relocation and expansion capital campaign to build a one-of-a-kind facility—the first in the United States—on 100 donated acres. The new facility and sanctuary will allow Alaqua to continue all of the important work that is done now, as well as be an educational and training center to empower others to help animals and recreate the model worldwide. With more than $80,000 a month in operating costs, Alaqua is entirely dependent on private donations. To learn more about the Refuge, visit www.Alaqua.org