On Oct. 26, Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 presented the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) with a check for $500 to use for making major changes both internally and externally to improve operations and general animal welfare and to increase community services. The donation has gone toward construction improvement projects, including adding power lines throughout the facility and providing needed safety lighting and increased air conditioning to all canine-occupied kennels. A major renovation is underway to tear down and replace the canine kennels on the campus that have been worn and torn over the decades-long tenure and thousands of animals housed. The Okaloosa County PAWS has taken in more than 2,000 lost, abandoned, abused and neglected pets in 2022. Of these, 281 of those dogs and cats were reunited with their owners. There have been 1,024 dogs and cats re-homed to responsible pet owners through the PAWS adoption program. Okaloosa County also has a large number of PAWS rescue partners who took in more than 450 pets to be adopted through their programs which allows for the additional space at PAWS to save more lives.
Pictured are Michael “Taz” WrightReynolds, PER, Exalted Ruler; Michelle Thorson of PAWS with Gladys from PAWS, who has since found her forever rescue home; Mark Wynn, Inner Guard; Marcia WrightReynolds, Lecturing Knight; Tom McLaughlin, Leading Knight; Rob Parks, Loyal Knight; and Ashley DeGraaf, PAWS executive director.