A Lithia teenager is making a difference in Hillsborough County as she saw a need for dogs to be safe in Florida’s heat.
Lauren Dyer, 17, realized there are no dog water fountains at the Alderman Ford Conservation Park.
Dyer, a soon to be senior at Newsome High School reached out to Park Ranger Bobby Roberts for help to change that about a year ago.
In that time, she’s been able to draft an idea, present it to a Girl Scouts council and then was able to get the conservation land management to okay the project.
Hillsborough County has 16 conservation parks, and only some have water fountains designed to help give dog’s water. Those fountains have an extra attachment to the regular fountains.
Otherwise, dogs usually go down near the river to drink water.
This fountain is different — Dyer was able to raise $1,000 for the project that put a fountain on the ground.
Dyer wanted to put in the fountain after her family experienced their own near-fatal experience for their own dog — when he took off from their backyard and was later found suffering from dehydration.
With the help of Roberts, they worked together to find a location. The pair decided to place the first fountain at the half way point of the nearly two-mile path near a restroom that people may use.
The deep red fountain stands out so you can see it walking up to the restrooms.
There’s a foot sensor at the bottom where a pet owner can put their foot and water will come out.
Dyer is hoping to add a second fountain to Lithia Springs Park soon.
“I feel very proud of the work I’ve done,” she said, “And I’m glad and happy that pet owners are hydrating their animals and taking care of them.”
Roberts, who is doing this part-time job post retirement said Dyer is inspiring, “I think sometimes kids become your mentor, and Lauren has become my mentor in a way because she sees the bigger picture.”