THE POOCH SCOOP: The Pawdi Gras edition

P.A. Melle
Lacreta Rapotec of Destin and her two girls, Totto and Bella, are getting ready for the Mardi Gras Dog Parade.

Woof wisdom: Andy Rooneyonce said, “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”

A Mardi Gras Dog Parade: The 11th Annual Mardi Gras Dog Parade will take place at 2 p.m. March 2 at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, but pre-registration is required. The streets will be filled with costumed posh pooches and their two legged costumed pals. It costs $5 per dog to register. The parade has themed floats, decorated golf carts, bicycles, strollers, and even wagons often pulled by dog-powered engines. This Pawdi Gras celebration has festive music, lots of pawsome pups to see and plenty of New Orleans-style entertainment. This dog parade is one of the most popular premier canine events on the Emerald Coast with posh pooches coming from near and far to participate. This year’s theme is: Pups and Pearls: Walk the Red Carpet. Register by Feb. 14 and receive 10 extra judge's points. Line-up begins at noon. So, bring on the bling, as yours truly will be a judge. No hunting dog required as the Baytowne Dog Parade information, registration forms, float entry rules, times, dates and other information can be found at 

People Luv Parades too: A people Mardi Gras Parade called “A Pardi in Paradise” will begin at 2 p.m. March 1 at HarborWalk Village. Check their website. Pooches r welcome. The Fat Tuesday Parade begins at 5 p.m. March 4 at Baytowne Village. Both locations have outdoor seating for your well-behaved, four-legged furry friends.  

Hot Diggity Dog: Mark this post, for the St. Pawtty’s Day celebration is March 17 at the Village of Baytowne Wharf with traditional Celtic music from 6-9 p.m. in the Events Plaza. Don’t have a date? That’s OK; bring your stadium blanket and your pooch to celebrate in style.

K-9’S Tracking Down Lost Kids: The Watch, Whistle & Wait Program is a component of the Southwest Panhandle Search and Rescue K-9 Team and has trained more than 3,000 children in important survival skills in case if they get lost. Schools or organizations can visit the SWPANSAR website at or contact the public information officer, Cindy Sarver, at 850-313-7210 to schedule group survival training for children. Hint, hint: The Destin Dog Park would be a great place to hold a Saturday afternoon survival class for two-legged kids, taught by our four-legged friends, the K-9 tracking team.  SWPANSAR also has a pawsome “K-9 Guardians of the Heart” program that will bring specially trained therapy K-9s to provide comfort, companionship and unconditional love to people. They are truly guardians of the heart to all with whom they visit. Call them.       

Tell Tail Signs: Next time you go on a hike with your kids, take some aluminum foil squares with you. Put a square on the ground and have your child make a heel to toe impression on the foil. That way if they get lost, you can identify the shoe size, pattern and wear marks, which will help you or a K-9 track the right set of footprints to find them.

Lacy’s Licks: Which paws are which? Our pawprints are as unique as your fingerprints.  So get some children’s modeling clay and make an imprint of our paws so if we get lost you’ll find us. Attaching a jingle bell to my collar will help you hear me if I happen to wander off.   

Tucker’s Tales: People may not make you feel special, but if you feed us, we will give you our whole heart. Since dogs are incapable of deceit, if we obey you, then we respect you as our Alpha Dog. If we try to touch you often, it means that we are deeply attached to you. 

Ain't that the truth: Columnist Mary Readyonce said, “Dogs are the best people I know.”

Sit N’ Stay. Need a good read while you relax at the beach or dog park? I’m giving two Paws Up for a new book, “Almost to Destin,” written by local author Foster Sanders. The story is based in Destin and is filled with mystery, drama, suspense, crime and a very turbulent love interest. A few Emerald Coast characters and businesses may be recognized in the story but the names have been changed. No hunting dog required, as it is available at

Pawgress! Last month’s Scoop, “A Dog Beach,” and a Log story by Matt Algarin started a flurry of responses to The Destin Log. It was a real tug-of-war, but many responses were in favor of a Dog beach park for us to enjoy with our furry four-legged kids.   The citizens of Destin funded and maintain the Destin Dog Park solely through donations. However, it seems to be the busiest public park in the city. People, who do not even own dogs, go there to relax and play with the dogs. So it’s time Okaloosa County chips in some of the millions in the TDC fund and builds us a public beach for people with pooches.  

No begging required: Any business can advertise their discount coupons in this space. Carpet cleaners, fence companies, trainers, pet sitters/walkers, groomers, vets, kennels, and carpenters, etc. can call The Log for the low-cost bone ads (see below). Call 850-654-8485 for details.

Enjoy lots o’ licks and laps at Pawdi Gras and may the luck of the Irish Setter be with you.

A Dog Beach? Bark all about it

To Beach or Not to Beach? That is the question.  Here’s my opinion. Okaloosa County could easily designate a strip of vacant land halfway between the Destin bridge and Okaloosa Island to be used as a fenced-dog friendly beach. Annual permits for residents would be required and could be purchased at the Destin City Hall and Fort Walton City Hall for $50. This tag policy works for South Walton County. Tourists can buy weekly or monthly tags.

I personally would not like to put down a beach blanket on the sand at James Lee Park unknowingly atop a sand-covered mound of canine excrement. We have pristine beaches, let’s keep it that way. I saw a man leave two canine landmines in the sand by the Crab Trap. When I asked him to please pick it up, he refused and walked away. There are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners. Dogs are also loose on the beach often. A toddler running to chase a dog’s ball could create a challenge to dogs with behavior problems.

So designating a dog beach would make everybody happy. Henderson Beach could be an alternative for a Destin dog beach if it had a fenced-in area. That is an underutilized park that could be a busy mecca for tourists with furry four-legged kids to enjoy. Daily, weekly and monthly passes could be purchased at the gate.

EdenState Park in Walton County allows leashed dogs along the bay, so why can’t Henderson designate a beach section? Many vacationers base their choice of destinations around dog-friendly community amenities.

P.A. Melle’, a.k.a The Destin Dog Whisperer/Pooch Scoop Reporter, is a resident of Destin, freelance writer and American Red Cross volunteer.Contact her at