By Mara Mazar \ firstname.lastname@example.org
Walking through the historic streets of St. Augustine, you may spot Gary and Guen Williams. This pair is quite famous in St. Augustine for their adventures that are posted on Facebook.
Williams and Guen have made a positive impact on the community through their walks around St. Augustine, filled with humorous conversations related to the community.
Williams is a writer for Suspense Publishing who moved to St. Augustine in 2013 from Jacksonville along with his wife, Jackie Williams, several cats and his yellow lab, Guen.
“I’m a big fan of history so I’m naturally drawn to the area. Also, we became empty nesters,” Williams said.
Williams joined a Facebook group called “I love St. Augustine, FL.” In 2016, he used his flip phone to take a picture of Guen on one of their walks.
Williams later posted his first picture of a walk in the group, along with a funny conversation between Guen and himself he came up with.
“We walked around and I recognized some places. We just kind of incorporated that into our walks and it usually became an amusing thing where Guen hates history and I’m always trying to embellish it and get her to go along with it,” Williams said. “It just became this thing where she became snarky about it and then people seem to side with Guen on everything.”
Williams never takes the same path twice and has never found it difficult to think of something to write for their conversations, thanks to his career in writing.
“We’d just come across something. Like one of the posts, one time had to do with a grill that was being thrown out how she wondered about all of the food that had been cooked on it. We were both sad to see it die its sad death on the side of the road,” Williams said.
Every post that Williams makes on the Facebook group page receives about 400 likes, making him one of the most popular members on the page. Brian Druggan and Rhonda Lovett are two admins of the Facebook group. Both Druggan and Lovett enjoy Williams’ posts.
“What’s not to love about a lovable, witty, talking dog that wanders the beautiful streets of downtown St. Augustine asking probing questions and telling stories,” Lovett said.
People became so accustomed to seeing Williams’ posts every day, that when he missed a few days when his wife fell ill, worried members messaged the group’s admins, wondering about Gary and Guen.
Williams now makes posts ahead of time when he will not be able to post. Recently, Williams informed members that his posts would be indoors due to Guen’s recent surgery.
Williams’ posts have also brought many people to the group from all over the country. He never thought it would become as big as it is.
“We actually get asked to meet with a lot of people from out of town who are visitors. People will come from Jersey, Texas and as far away as California,” Williams said. “It’s really grown into this weird following. Weird but fun.”
The admins have seen a rise in members of the group as well.
“We’ve certainly had a fair number of members that have come to the page to follow Gary and Guen as have existing members invited friends to the page,” Druggan said. “We have a series of questions people must answer before we add them to the page. We’ve had more than a few that have answered the question, ‘What is your connection to St. Augustine,’ with something like, ‘I heard about Guen and want to follow her.’”
People who live in and visit St. Augustine will see Williams and Guen, and ask to walk with them. Some are even starstruck.
“It’s funny because the catchphrase I always catch people with is, ‘Is that Guen?’ It’s never, ‘Are you Gary?’” Williams said.
Williams has recently published a book called “Walking Guen,” which is a compilation of some of his posts about their walks. Inside the book, St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver wrote about Guen.
“It is an honor to represent the citizens of the oldest city in the United States, but when you have articulate and well-informed constituents like Guen, the job is a delight,” Shaver said. “Her daily patrolling of the town and her careful observations do much to inform the policies of our town – most of all because she truly ‘doesn’t have a dog in the fight.’ Thank you, Guen.”