FREEPORT, Fla. — When Alaqua Animal Refuge staff mobilized to rescue scores of Great Danes this time last year, it was all hands and paws on deck.
“We called it Hurricane Danes,” Alaqua Founder Laurie Hood said.
The call came from Walton County Animal Control when a man who bred the dogs on his property fell ill and could no longer care for them. There were 103 Great Danes, one of the biggest rescues Alaqua has had.
The dogs were in fair condition, Hood said, but there was not enough space to accommodate them at the man’s home. And there was only just enough at the refuge.
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“It took a lot of creativity,” Hood said. “Not only was it a lot of dogs, but they were big dogs. Our facility only holds 30 dogs.”
When news spread — not to mention all of the cute puppy photos — Alaqua was flooded with calls and emails from people all over the world hoping to adopt a Great Dane puppy.
“We literally got thousands of calls,” she said. “Our website actually froze on two different occasions.”
Less than a year later, all but two of the Great Danes have been adopted. Two have been brought back because they did not get along well with other dogs, Hood said.
Looking back at the case, Hood said it was just another reminder of how hard Alaqua staff and volunteers work. It wasn’t long after the Great Danes were rescued that Alaqua was called to another case.
“I pretty much learned our team rocks,” Hood said.
And when it comes to “furever” homes, adopting a pet is better than purchasing one, Hood said.
Here are three success stories from the Great Dane rescue.
The anniversary gift
When Ron Bogaski asked his wife Angela what she wanted for their 25th anniversary last year, she simply said “a Great Dane.”
“I read about them in the paper and asked my husband, ‘Can we just go out there?’” she said.
Like any smart husband, Ron agreed and told his wife they could fill out an adoption application. Not too long later, they were staying a Beau Rivage, a casino and resort in Biloxi, Mississippi, when they got a call saying they were approved. They went to Alaqua to take home one of the dogs. Bogaski told the staff she didn’t have a preference.
“I told them I didn’t care, but they brought out the perfect one,” she said.
They named him Beau, after the spot where they got the good news. Beau went…