Paw Pals Continue to Reach the Zenith

The Giving Coast


Will the Southeastern Guide Dogs break its own record at its next scheduled Walkathon event? Last month, the nonprofit broke the World Record for the number of dogs wearing bandanas at a single event with 885 dogs at the St. Petersburg Walkathon, held in Vinoy Park. Not slowing its pace, the organization ramps up for the Suncoast Walkathon—combining Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota into one super event at Nathan Benderson Park on Saturday, March 16. Aside from the free, family-friendly 3K walk, the Waggin' Tails Festival commences with live entertainment, music, food trucks, a beer garden, kids’ corner, doggie zone, shopping at a vendor fair and an exciting raffle drawing.

People are encouraged to lace up their sneakers and bring their pets along to take a stroll in support of the worthy cause the organization represents by sporting the symbolic bandanas given to each participant. These annual events are essential to the nonprofit's fundraising efforts, allowing it to expertly train and condition selective breeds into skilled canines and provide them as service/companion dogs for those who have visual impairments or to veterans with disabilities and PTSD, all at no cost. And once the organization finds the perfect fit for an individual, the process doesn’t just end. “We follow people for life,” says Ruth Lando of Southeastern Guide Dogs, which keeps in touch with its beneficiaries and their journeys with their new furry best friends.

Every year, the organization's five Walkathon events manage to raise about $1 million, Lando says. But this time, the 2019 goal has reached an all-time high of $1.3 million. “Anybody can bring their dog and register to walk, so come out for the cause,” she says. “Every dog counts.”

Event Schedule

9am Registration Opens

10am 3K Walk & World Record Attempt

11am–2pm Waggin’ Tails Festival

Pictured: 885 people brought their dogs to the Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon in Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg on February 23, to break the world record for the number of dogs wearing bandanas at a single event.

Suncoast Walkathon Registration

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