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This is Carolina: ‘Golf cart couple’ shares waves, smiles with Carolina Forest community

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 6:50 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - At any given time in the Carolina Forest area, usually near U.S. 501, chances are good of seeing the ‘golf cart couple’ waving.

Their English cream golden retrievers, Tank and Jackson, make them even harder to miss.

Susanne Riley can be heard telling people the dogs’ names and age. She’ll follow it up with an invitation to pet Tank and Jackson, and offers the kids a dog hug.

Before petting the pups and giving them a cracker, Susanne and her husband, Lee, are all smiles as they wave in their golf carts.

“We’ve been bringing them out since they’ve been puppies. Just to help people out, give them a smile for the day and make their day. Let me show you what they look like when they were babies,” Susanne could be heard telling one couple.

Tank and Jackson were decked in Santa Claus hats for Christmas and adorned in America bandanas when WMBF News joined their ride.

“They just need a smiling dog face or a lick or a hug or whatever,” Lee said about what his dogs do for others.

Lee and Susanne said despite being almost identical, Tank has a small bump on his head that helps them tell the two dogs apart. Jackson is also more “lovey dovey” than his brother, they said.

“If we can bring smiles and just make their day. And for those who have lost their loved ones, their puppy loved ones, it just makes them happy. We don’t rush them, we just let them enjoy their time with them. And if we can bring smiles to faces that’s what it’s all about. Just giving everybody a happy day, and make their day a little bit brighter than it was before,” Susanne said.

The Rileys will ride to Olive Garden and meet their employee friends there. They come outside to give the boys bread sticks.

They make their way to Tanger Outlets, Burn Body Boot Camp, Publix, Kroger and often end at Bruster’s Ice Cream. Many employees know them and come outside to say hello. Sometimes they continue into the Clear Pond neighborhood,.

Babies, kids and adults all come out to feed the dogs crackers and love on them. It’s clear it doesn’t just make the Rileys happy.

They’ve been doing it for 15 years. It’s a tradition that began with their last golden retriever, they said. The two got an extra golf cart when they decided to get two puppies in April 2020, knowing this tradition would continue.

Not only do the Rileys enjoy their golf cart rides, but it’s been a routine to help Susanne recover following a severe car accident several years ago.

“Part of her getting better was to get out. Getting the dogs made that possible because people want to play with puppies, especially in the times with all this pandemic mess going on, and need a smile. So bringing them out brings joy to other people and also helps her with her recovery. So all the better,” Lee explained.

Susanne, Lee and the dog brothers serve as a reminder that life is too short not to wave or smile back, because you never know what someone else is going through.

“Life’s too short not to enjoy it. And we just like to help people enjoy their days,” Susanne said with a smile.

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