ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals has literally “gone to the dogs.”

The Fort Walton Beach-based company has been itching 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) in Okaloosa County 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 a “calm, yet still playful neutered gent who doesn’t bark … much.”

Malachi has settled into his spacious, fully-furnished ResortQuest “condo” in the reception area. Employees eagerly pitch in with Malachi’s care. He has a walking schedule and a waiting list for weekend “sleepovers.” He has been put to work and is already providing welcome “therapy” and plenty of “kisses” to those in need.

Anyone interested in providing Malachi a forever home can come to ResortQuest’s office at 546 Mary Esther Cutoff, Suite 3 in Fort Walton Beach, to meet and greet him. Dog adoption applications are available online at 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 lead the way.

“We hope other businesses will take an interest in what we’ve tried,” 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.”