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Island fun for you and your four-legged friends

August 23, 2017
By ANITA FORCE MARSHALL ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The summer is almost behind us, where did it go? Before it's gone, make the time for you and your dog to get out together and start enjoying some paw time around Fort Myers Beach. Have fun exploring this beautiful island that is right in your backyard and has many pet friendly venues. Our dogs love to be close to us and when we and our dogs do things together it's a good thing. Did you know that doing activities together can improve your communication with your pooch and help your dog develop good manners? Fun is a word in both dog and human talk and is a great bond for you both. Fort Myers Beach offers some great dog accessible places that can get you both out of the dog days of summer.

Salty Dog Gallery and Gifts is located right across from the beach at 1901 Estero Blvd and open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

"We love when our out-of-town dog owners come in to find something special for their pet that didn't get to come on vacation," said Carla Pine, owner. "Our dog line is here for the convenience of our local pet owners and for the travelers that lost their leash or forgot to pack enough food, treats and doggie bags - we have it."

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Bonita Beach Dog Park, at 8800 Estero Blvd., is open daily 7 a.m. to dusk. This is a very popular beach where dogs run free in a gorgeous beach setting.


Salty Dog is a lifestyle store that is a favorite to visitors, locals and their dogs. They are known for selling furniture, fun accessories, and unique gifts in a friendly and fun atmosphere.

"We don't carry tacky tourist items, we try to cater to our locals and to our travelers that want to take something home that is very unique and special and Made in the USA or by one of many local artist," said Pine. "We have one-of-a-kind custom painted furniture to snarky dish towels." Top 5 doggie items are Choke-Free Harnesses, Fluff &Tuff pet toys, Soft Line Leashes, USA Made high quality dog food, and Pet decor (pillows, frames, treat boxes etc.). Come in a meet Brady, a beautiful Havanese pooch that comes to work every day with Carla.

"Dogs add so much joy to our lives, all they want from us is love," said Pine. "I am involved with a local Havanese rescue and I wish I could adopt them all."

Stop in and say Hi to Carla and Brady and check out the special way they welcome you and your pooch with special treats for both of you.

Nervous Nellies is at 1131 First St and open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. They are known for their super large outside patio dining area that includes a dock for boaters who want to travel in by water. Colorful and quirky they have a bird's eye view of the Estero Inlet with island favorites to eat and drink plus live music. What makes them special? Check out the colossal 60oz cocktails made with fresh tropical fruit juices and the finest spirits, perfect for that vacation or social media picture. Everyone's favorite is the Famous Tavern BBQ Ribs with a full 3-pound slab, cooked low and slow and their signature smokey house BBQ sauce or the Sailors Delight with shrimp, sea scallops and Maine lobster sauce on top of a pan seared North Atlantic Haddock.

"We offer complimentary appetizers "dog biscuits" and two-for-one water bowls for all of our four legged friends," smiles Tyler Lemer, manager. "Nervous Nellie's has the largest waterfront dining patio on the Ft Myers Beach and we are 100 percent dog friendly."


Fishing Buddy Charters at 18400 San Carlos Blvd is a great way to get away with your best buddy.

"What the doggies really love is the boat ride and playing in the water and sand and lots of people opt for a charter that does a mixture of fishing, sightseeing and playtime for the pooches," said. Captain John Simoneau. "We can also customize the trip to include the activities to anyone's liking."

When you're on a boat it's a great way to relax and be yourselves and enjoy time with your pets.

You can't beat Fort Myers Beach and the surrounding area for the perfect place to take a boat tour.

"We have an abundance of wildlife, Dolphins will play alongside the boat, and jump in its wake," Simoneau said. "Many times with dogs on board you can sense that the dogs and dolphins are communicating, the dogs can actually smell the dolphins through the water!"

Fishing Buddy Charters is special because not many attractions or places allow you to bring your doggies with you and let's face it, they are like family. So don't leave them at home for your next boat trip - Capt. John says they enjoy it, it is such a different experience for them.

"Dogs love seeing the fish reeled from the many fishing spots we frequent, they are always interested in what is on the end of the line," Simoneau said. "On the boat their favorite activity is riding the bow and smelling all the interesting smells while the breeze flops their ears in the wind."

The No. 1 request for Capt. John is to go to Bonita Dog Beach - it's a wonderful leash free park where the dogs can swim and play freely. No. 2 is North Captiva Island, this area is virtually untouched and very private. No. 3 would be, Caya Costa State Park; it is a beautiful place to have a picnic lunch and what dog doesn't like a picnic - right?

"We were fishing and one of the dogs decided he wanted to catch one himself so, into the water he went, making a big splash and the fish dispersed immediately," Simoneau said. "He went for a little swim as happy as could be, it's contagious you know, a dog's happiness; it really make everything about life more awesome!"

Bonita Beach Dog Park is at 8800 Estero Blvd. and open daily 7 a.m.-dusk. This is a very popular beach where dogs run free in a gorgeous beach setting. Parking is free and doggie showers stations are provided so you can rinse off your sandy pet. Be sure and pause to read the rules so you can be a responsible pet owner with you your dog's behavior. Bring out their surf boards, beach balls, and water toys. Let them frock in their water wings and goggles. It is a great place to let your dog enjoy a gorgeous beach surrounded by flora and fauna. Depending on the tide, you might have to wade a bit to knee deep water, the shallow area is perfect for all dogs of all sizes to enjoy the beach. If your dog loves the water, they will love this dog beach.

Beach Pet Grooming is at 2450 Estero Blvd and open MondayFriday from 7 a.m. until everyone is done and Saturdays 8 am -noon. This is the perfect place for your pooch after the beach, boat rides, and all your adventures.

"My top three grooming requests are short, short and short," said Nancy Guthrie, owner. "It keeps everyone cooler and ready for the island life."

Guthrie is well known on the island by her many regular clients and is always welcoming to new and visiting clients.

"We are special to the beach because my clients are family," Guthrie, said. "I have known everyone on this island and their fur babies a long time, trust is what is really special between us."

What a great way to pamper your best friend than with a visit to Nancy?

"A dog's favorite thing in the salon is their rub down with the towel," she said. "I haven't met a dog yet that doesn't love it." 239-645-1423

Shop and stroll at Times Square on Estero Boulevard. If you've ever been to Mallory Square in Key West, this is like a smaller version and right down the street. Dogs are welcomed here on leashes and there is plenty of metered parking around. It's the heart of the island and always a fun place to dog and people watch. The square is right next to the beach and Fort Myers Beach's famous pier. You both will enjoy the Gulf breezes, the activities, and all the aromas. There are so many options for both of you to enjoy and explore. Investigate the eclectic shops that are small and welcoming. Most of the unique restaurants and bars have outside patio dog friendly seating. Be sure and indulge in an ice cream cone for you and your sidekick, beach life has its rewards.



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