FORT WALTON BEACH — ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals has literally “gone to the dogs.”
The Fort Walton Beach-based company said in a press release it has been wanting to launch a pet fostering program for some time, and after “scratching” their heads to be sure everything was in properly in place, the inaugural ResortQuest to the Rescue adoption program, in partnership with Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), is now underway.
The first four-legged addition to the ResortQuest family is Malachi, a "handsome, well-mannered doe-eyed" mixed breed young male who joined the team in late March.
He is described as “calm, yet still playful neutered gent who doesn’t bark ... much.”
Malachi has settled into his spacious, fully-furnished ResortQuest “condo” located in the reception area. Employees pitch in to care for Malachi. He also has a walking schedule and waiting list for weekend “sleepovers.”
Employees say he has been put to work and already provides welcome therapy and plenty of kisses to those in need.
Anyone interested in providing Malachi a forever home can come to ResortQuest’s office to meet him. Dog adoption applications are available online at PAWS (www.paws-shelter.org). The adoption fee is $50. For more information, contact PAWS at 850-243-1525.
The program was inspired after Wyndham Vacation Rentals vice president Lino Maldonado saw it successfully operated in another market while traveling on business. Many employees have helped make the program happen, but Andy Hurst in marketing, Tracy (TJ) Jose in administration management and Mary-Lu Lazzaro from call center operations have led the way.
“We hope other businesses will take an interest in what we’ve tried,” ResortQuest employee Andy Hurst said. “It’s not some something to take lightly. You have to consider your space, your employees, be careful with allergies and have a plan for weekends and holidays, but one look at Malachi and we know we already have the upside to this program. If I didn’t already have five dogs, he’d already be adopted.”