While many yard decorations this season feature reindeer, the Santa in the front yard of the Beehner's house in Tarpon Woods is flanked by wooden cutouts of big poodles.
As you might guess, there's a reason for that. Yes, Mike and Alice Beehner do have poodle pets. But they also co-direct Florida Poodle Rescue.
With a network of volunteers, contributors and foster homes, Alice Beehner said the group has rescued 4,000 poodles over 10 years. And they come in from all over Florida, even other states.
"Those dogs, all they do is say, "Thank you,' " she said. "It's a wonderful, rewarding organization."
Recent rescue Reggie was found on a road in Knoxville, Tenn. A white standard poodle, one of the big ones, he's a handsome guy. At 1 year old, he has lots of energy and needs socialization and training.
"He's going to be a great dog," Alice Beehner said.
But he's just one of about 30 awaiting adoption in foster homes.
You can fill out an application at www.floridapoodlerescue.org. Alice Beehner said they get many requests to adopt, so she picks the cream of the crop as homes for the rescues.
The biggest need, she said, is for funds to save dogs that need medical treatment. Many come to her one step away from euthanasia just because they need heartworm treatment or other treatable ailments. Last year, the group spent about $75,000 on veterinary bills.
If you would like to help, call Alice Beehner at (727) 781-5292.Mayor builds another home sweet home OLDSMAR - If you've been by Mayor Jerry Beverland's house on Shore Drive recently, you may have noticed something new in front.
A "For Sale" sign.
The sign prompted some investigative reporting: Is the mayor leaving town?
"I'm trying to get on the shuttle to Mars, but so far . . ." said Beverland, he hasn't come up with the funds. "There's a group taking up a collection."
Seriously, though, the mayor is not planning to leave Oldsmar.
"I've still got another year and three months as mayor," he said. Not that he would ever leave his beloved Oldsmar.
He said the lot his house rested on was big, more than a half-acre, so he and wife Wanda Beverlandsubdivided it into two lots. They are selling the house and plan to build a new one on the lot behind it.
"Whatever my beautiful wife wants," he said. "that's what we are going to have."
He said it will be a Key West-inspired, block house with metal roof. The house portion of the structure will start about 16 feet off the ground, with 2 1/2 stories.
Beverland said he's lived in Pinellas County since 1946. When he started getting tired of his Largo subdivision, someone suggested they had seen the perfect place in Oldsmar. Beverland had never even heard of the town. But when he crossed the bridge into Oldsmar, Beverland said, he had found heaven on earth. He took one look at the house and said:
"This is it. This is where I want to raise my kids."
They paid $15,900 in 1967, scrimping and borrowing to come up with the $700 down payment. The mayor said they couldn't afford it, but they bought it anyway, and raised four children there.
"Our kids had a good time out here," he said, and two grandchildren who live with the Beverlands still do. "I wanted a place where they could run and drop from exhaustion."
The price today is $650,000 for a house with a view across R.E. Olds Park to Safety Harbor , off Old Tampa Bay.CHANGE OF CHRISTMAS SCENERY: Allison Geary, 5, and her father Tom Geary take a stroll Thursday on a new sidewalk on the west side of R. E. Olds Park on Shore Drive. They live in Chicago and are visiting family in Oldsmar for the holidays.