The tree-lined streets of Harbor Hills are a dog-walkers dream. Every morning, I meet my favorite four legged friends on my daily walk. Harbor Hills neighbor Laurie Carpenter is a dog lover, too. She cares for Southeastern guide dogs being raised in The Villages.

Yellow Labrador retriever Scarlett was welcomed into the Carpenter family in 2019. Scarlett is a certified therapy dog and Lady Lake Public Library’s official “reading dog.” Children can schedule reading with her from 3-4 p.m. Wednesdays. The library’s Facebook page at LakePublicLibrary225 features a video of Scarlett hard at work. Don’t miss it for a smile!

Southeastern Guide Dog puppy raisers provide care until a pup is 14-16 months old. After tender goodbyes, the future guide dog returns to headquarters in Palmetto, Florida. Founded in 1982, the organization places more than 100 dogs per year with adults, children with visual impairments, Gold Star families and veterans with PTSD. All dogs and services are provided free of charge.

The organization relies on volunteers, philanthropy and annual walkathons. Orlando’s Walkathon 2023 takes place on April 15 at Lake Lily Park. The event is free and includes a 3K walk and a Waggin’ Tails Festival with fun activities, vendors and lively music.

Let’s show support by sponsoring a puppy! Sponsors receive Pupdates and photos as puppies move through their training. Laurie can be reached at 352-751-0328. She will be happy to deliver raffle tickets or pick up donations. Visit Laurie’s Southeastern Guide Dogs web page, Team Tri-County Pups at participate.guidedogs.org for more information.

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