While visiting Florida more than 35 years ago, Lions Clubs International members Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Miller spearheaded an initiative that would pair visually impaired individuals and disabled veterans with highly-trained guide dogs accustomed to the southeastern heat. To facilitate this concept, the Millers recruited an experienced guide dog trainer who was willing to relocate to assist in this endeavor.
Southeastern Guide Dogs was incorporated in the State of Florida and recognized as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in 1982. Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives by creating and nurturing unique partnerships between people and dogs. Associate Director of Philanthropy Taylor Dechen explained, “We train dogs of the highest pedigree for people who are blind and for veterans with disabilities, providing our premier dogs and lifetime services at no cost, without government funds.”
Southeastern Guide Dogs is currently gearing up for their 33rd Annual 3K Walkathon season, with the free St. Petersburg event scheduled for February 23, 2019, at Vinoy Park. Attendees can walk their dogs, visit sponsor booths, enjoy delicious food and live entertainment, indulge in the beer garden, and shop at vendor stations. This year’s goal is to break the Guinness World Record for the most dogs wearing bandanas at a single event!
The Walkathon’s major sponsors will receive plenty of positive exposure and the opportunity to shine as a compassionate organization driven by local engagement.
All proceeds will go toward breeding, raising, training, and matching these extraordinary dogs with visually impaired individuals and disabled veterans. For more information on how to sign up, raise funds, and arrange Walkathon teams, visit www.guidedogswalkathon.org or call 941.803.7548.