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Calendar Girls Florida to host Paws for Patriots dog wash

By Staff | Sep 28, 2017


Calendar Girls Florida, along with Southwest Florida Puppy Raisers, will host a Dog Wash to support Southeastern Guide Dogs’ annual Walkathon, which benefits visually disabled persons and veterans.

For $20 your doggie will receive a full service wash as well as a nail trim. The Dog Wash will take place at Wash N’ Wag, 1751 N.E. Pine Island Road this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Calendar Girls Florida is a dance troop of divas, all over age 60, who sing and entertain to raise awareness and cash for charities. Their featured charity is Paws for Patriots, a program run by Southeastern Guide Dogs of Palmetto.

According to Calendar Girl Linda Floyd, the dancers feel a need to give back to their state, those with visual impairment, and help veterans overcome the traumas of combat.

“So when the Calendar Girls first came together, we looked for a charity that not everyone was giving to,” Floyd said. “Something that helped our veterans and perhaps animals, and was contained in our beautiful state of Florida. The program felt perfect to us; a program for veterans and guide dogs, and it was tangible as we got to see pictures of the folks we would be helping and also meeting these wonderful wounded warriors.”

Floyd and her team have been involved with the Walkathon for the past three years and working to benefit Southeastern Guide Dogs since 2006. For every $5,000 Floyd and her team raise, they receive the honor of naming a puppy in the Paws for Patriots program.

To date, Calendar Girls Florida has named 18 puppies.

Southeastern Guide Dogs, a non-profit organization, is the only guide dog school in Florida and one of only 10 in the United States.

“Changing lives, one dog at a time” Southeastern Guide Dogs provide services and dogs to individuals with visual impairment and veterans at no costs.

“Southeastern is a wonderful place,” Floyd said. “If you ever needed a guide dog, they would give you one absolutely free and that is a priceless gift. The school takes the utmost care of their dogs and the most sought after volunteer opportunity there is puppy huggers in the nursery kennel.”

According to the Calendar Girls Florida website, the Paws for Patriots program trains guide dogs for veterans with visual impairment.

The average cost of one dog is $60,000 and the program relies solely on donations from the community.

Playing an important part in Paws for Patriots are the Southwest Florida Puppy Raisers.

These volunteers take in puppies from Southeastern Guide Dogs and raise them until they are about a year old, teaching the pups basic obedience skills though real-life experiences.

“I think our charity has affected us all personally as this is a place that knows their donors,” Floyd said. “We have been to the school many times and performed there, met the CEO, and seen our dogs change lives in a profound way. It makes us so proud that what we do changes lives one paw print at a time. It has also allowed us to meet the wonderful volunteer puppy raisers who make a point of bringing those sweet puppies to our events and have created lasting friendships.”

The Puppy Raisers meet every Tuesday in Downtown Fort Myers.

For more information about the 2018 Walkathon or becoming a puppy raiser visit guidedogs.org.

The annual Walkathon is Southeastern Guide Dogs’ biggest fundraiser of the year and held in eight locations throughout the state. Locally, the Walkathon will take place at JetBlue Park on April 14th, 2018.

Learn more about Calendar Girls Florida by visiting calendargirlsflorida.com.