Best Friend to Animals - 2003
Anita Lankler, Founder of Friends of Jupiter Beach
Watch a dog´s nose burrow down into a bed of seaweed and then spiral into it, whole body writhing in joy, and you´ll understand what Anita Lankler did for dogs on Jupiter Beach. In 1994, Jupiter was set to follow most other waterfront cities and ban dogs from the Atlantic. Lankler and a couple of her friends asked the town council to reconsider. They promised to clean up after the animals. The Friends of Jupiter Beach grew from 30 volunteers in 1994 to more than 5,000 in the next nine years. The group organizes regular monthly cleanups (of human and animal litter), publishes a code of conduct for dog owners, and patrols the beaches to issue gentle reminders. It works. The week before Anita Lankler died of cancer in January of this year, Gov. Jeb Bush named her a recipient of a Points of Light Award. And some lab or beagle or bull mastiff is still on the beach in Lankler´s town reveling in the seagulls cawing, the waves breaking, and the living, breathing multifarious stench of it all.