Pets of the Issue – Sommer Rayne and Miss CoCo Chanel

Submitted by Patty DeFrenza


“I needed a breed that was small and hypoallergenic, to train as a therapy dog for kids and adults that have illnesses,” Ms. DeFrenza tells Beachcomber. “Sacred Paws at Sacred Heart Hospital has a program for pets visiting patients but they must pass a series of tests before they can be approved to visit patients.”


Miss CoCo Chanel is a nine-month-old Yorkshire Terrier who is friendly and fun but “needs more time getting used to canes, unstable walkers and wheelchairs.”


The black and white pup is a seven-month-old Havanese. “Sommer Rayne has been training for a few months now with me, and she’s visited with aging adults, small children and several people with cancer,” says Ms. DeFrenza. “So far, she’s a natural. The Havanese is a gentle breed, playful with a great temperament—even with children.”


Several of Sommer Rayne’s visits were through a local charitable group called The Sanctuary Friends. The nonprofit, created by local ER doctor Richie Hughes, gives people afflicted by cancer a beautiful vacation in Destin to relax and enjoy with family at no charge. Learn more at


“As a retired firefighter and paramedic, I’ve spent most of my life rescuing people, and now it’s time to give comfort to others by simply handing them a bundle of Furry Love,” says Ms. DeFrenza.

Ms. DeFrenza is a candidate for Destin Fire Commissioner Group 5 on the Nov. 6 ballot. Here, her best public relations ambassadors greet potential voters.
Sommer and CoCo on the golf cart, heading off to meet and greet new people.
Sommer takes the wheel as she waits for her people.
Sommer and Patty pay a visit to a woman undergoing treatment in Destin.

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