Pups & their humans walk to raise funds for service dogs

Southeastern Guide Dogs hosts Orlando Walkathon

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – Whether they have two legs or four, dozens of walkers and their pups came out to Cranes Roost Saturday to support the nonprofit, Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Amanda Lannan and her dog Doug participated in the Orlando Walkathon. Lannan said she has been blind since birth and has relied on a service dog for the last 28 years.

"It's really hard to put into words how much these dogs mean to us," Lannan said. 

Lannan said she has worked with Southeastern Guide Dogs for several years. The nonprofit partners people with vision loss and veterans with disabilities with service dogs. 

She said the service dogs act as her eyes and give her freedom. 

"It makes me very independent," she said. 

According to the organization's website, it has created more than 3,100 guide and service dog teams since 1982.

The nonprofit is able to provide these trained dogs at no cost to those who need the help because of donations -- including the walkathon fundraiser event at Cranes Roost Park. 

Dogs of all shapes and sizes came out to the event with their humans, including Paloma Garcia and her dog Peanut.

Garcia said she is happy to help an organization that does so much good.

"They're like another person in a certain way and people sometimes are born with disabilities and you need that second hand to help you out there," Garcia said. 

Lannan said she is grateful for the community's support. She adds she knows how these dogs will change people's lives. 

"Having a dog just makes it even better, makes your life more fulfilled and you really feel like you can go out and conquer the world and do what you want to do," Lannan said. 

Southeastern Guide Dogs was also attempting to break its own world record for the number of dogs wearing a bandanna. The organization set the current record of 885 dogs in bandannas during the St. Petersbug Walkathon in February.

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