Pooch Scoop: The dog daze of summer

Staff Writer
The Destin Log host "For the Love of Dog" Amanda Batton with her rescue dog Toby. The group has 185 members and counting.

Get Pup Close and Personal at the Destin Dog Park … Since it has become quite the social mecca for dogs and their companions, dog breed clubs meet to play, yuppie pups engage in business networking, and a new local social media group gathers monthly at 7 p.m. to meet other pup lovin' people at both the Destin and Fort Walton Dog Parks. To follow the trail of happenings, type: and search "For The Love of Dog" founded by local Realtor, Amanda Batton.

Amanda and Toby’s story ... Amanda rescued Toby, an 8-year-old Bischon Frise, in 2011. She says “Toby is the best dog ever” just like a doting parent. Last year, Amanda and Toby moved to FWB but they didn’t know anyone and wanted to make new friends. She checked online for local “dog” groups, but none were found. So Amanda created a local meet-up group and it has been well received. Her Pooch Group currently has 185 members. They meet at local dog parks, dog-themed charity events, and fundraisers like the Bark for Life race benefiting the American Cancer Society. Amanda’s real estate broker at My Ardor Realty encourages agents to contribute a portion of their commissions to a local charity or local cause of choice, and will match the amount donated. Now that’s a pawsome idea to give back and help fund our many local projects. Amanda says that this Pooch Group has been a great way for members with furry kids to make new friends and create lasting connections in the Destin- FWB areas.

Sit and Stay ... Our dogs give us their all, but Sanctuary Friends Network is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization that helps people by providing free vacations for families affected by cancer. Since its inception they’ve helped 70+ families. This group is establishing a presence on the Emerald Coast with help from Shoreline Church and by the generous donations from local businesses. They’ve been able to offer helicopter rides, pirate cruises, family beach portraits, dinner certificates and gift cards from Publix and Walmart. Some of the families come from afar but other families live amongst us in Destin. I saw one young child’s last dream vacation fulfilled by this group and Jan Hansen. It was heartwarming. The child passed shortly afterward.

Donating Funds ... Help for furry friends is always welcome, but donating your vacant condo for a week or weekend to a worthy family who will cherish that last vacation with a loved one forever is a generous humanitarian gift which will provide memories for a lifetime. Contact the Sanctuary Friends at and/or Dr. Hughes at 850-855-6436.

When Snuggles faces Human Struggles … Sadly, one out of two marriages may end in divorce. So what happens to the dog when two people who love the dog equally decide to live separate lives? Believe it or not, couples can agree to “time sharing” the dog, just like they do for children. Weekends, holidays, vacations etc. can actually be stipulated in a settlement. Here’s the scoop on terms one might ask to be included. Both parties to split the cost of pet insurance to cover any major medical care, annual vaccinations, flea/tick and heartworm prevention products, quarterly grooming fees, food, and each party to pay their own boarding costs. When divorce occurs, it affects everyone in the family, including the dog. Keeping your children’s lives as normal as possible is very important, so bringing their best furry friend along from one parent's home to the other for comfort helps make the children’s adjustment a little bit easier.

Mark Your Spot ... On the calendar for the Destin Pooch Palooza is Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Destin City Annex Parking lot by the Destin Dog Park. It is a Festival for Dogs, their families and furry friends. There will be vendors, dog shows/activities, raffles, and much more. Proceeds from the event go to Dog Park Improvement Projects. Vendor cost is $50 per 10 ft. x 10 ft. Non-profit organizations cost, $25 per 10 ft. x 10 ft. space. Credit payments accepted at Destin City Hall. Checks payable to City of Destin, mail to Destin Parks and Recreation, 4200 Indian Bayou Trail, Destin, FL 32541. Applications must be received by Nov. 1 with payment. Volunteers needed for the event so LIKE Friends of the Destin Dog Park on FB and follow (Rain date: Nov. 21)

Tucker's Tales ... Before digging up your yard for any reason, call the utility companies to mark the spots that could be dangerous.

Lacy's Licks ... Need to dig up business? Get one leg up on competitors by placing a “Snip N Save” Coupawn below this column for only 25 bucks. Call The Log at 850-837-2828

Hunting for a Dog Friendly Rental? Call 1-800-547-0805; use promo code RE143 for a discount.

Chow for now.

P.A. DeFrenza, a.k.a The Destin Dog Whisperer/Pooch Scoop Reporter, is a resident of Destin, freelance writer and American Red Cross volunteer. Send your upcoming pawsome news and/or events, to