Wags, washes for charity

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Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

Tucson Roller Derby skater Kathryn Hilton (left) rinses Yukon, while Erin Johnson (right) laughs at the Tails and Ales Benefit Dog Wash at Barrio Brewing Co. on Sunday. Yukon was rescued from Paw It Forward, a rescue organization based in Phoenix that specializes in huskies and malamutes.

It’s a cloudy day as Yukon, a rescued husky, steps into the shower arena created in front of Barrio Brewing Co. and awaits his fate. He sits there, obediently, as he is wet from head to paw by two Tucson Roller Derby women. The husky is then lathered with shampoo and rinsed. After being completely hosed down, Yukon realizes he still has some excess water on his coat. He begins to waddle his sides back and forth, releasing a fresh spray of water droplets on everyone within a 5-foot distance. People laugh and smile, drying themselves off as the dog continues to shake it all off.

“He loves the attention,” said Michelle Diaz, Yukon’s owner.

Diaz, the owner of both Yukon and Sitka, a shepherd and pit bull mix, was one of hundreds of people who attended the annual Tails and Ales Dog Wash on Sunday, put on by Tucson Roller Derby and Humane Society of Southern Arizona at Barrio Brewing Co.

Tails and Ales started four years ago when the nonprofit organization, Tucson Roller Derby, chose another nonprofit, HSSA, to cohost the event and split all proceeds in half. The event has been successful in raising a lot of money to continue putting on the event annually since 2011, according to Kim Holley, the HSSA’s director of special events.

“It’s a total team effort and just a lot of fun if you’re into dogs,” said Steff Hunter, the HSSA’s events lead. “We are trying to get a more downtown presence, too. That’s why we have a bunch of cool new merchandise, such as shot glasses for the of-age college kids.”

Lori Broadhead, a Tucson Roller Derby skater, added that the event is great for everyone.

“The money that goes to the humane society is well worth it,” she said.

The event featured an HSSA and Tucson Roller Derby informational booth, a veterinarian/grooming station, $15 dog washes, event merchandise booths that sold the event’s commemorative pint glass and Humane Society shot glasses, and local band Shrimp Chaperone, which rocked out as all the dogs were shaking their tails.

“This is something I’ve participated in for about three years,” said Dr. Kathryn Halstead, doctor of veterinarian medicine.

She said she attended many dog nail trimmings, ear cleanings and other grooming necessities along with veterinary technician Les White and volunteer Wendy Lilleland. Haldstead’s dog, Rita, who she adopted while she was in veterinary school, attended her side for the event.

“The event is really a great combination of the Roller Derby girls and Humane Society getting together and helping each other out,” said Andie Ruiz, a volunteer for HSSA and a UA information technology support analyst. “The energy around here is just great, the dogs are loving it and it’s a really good collaboration between the two organizations.”

Pickles, an 11-year-old pug who belongs to Derby skater Deni Perez, sported a bandana signed by the Derby women who gave him a wash. This was a trend for the event as every dog washed was given an autographed bandana to model.

“You get to watch hundreds of dogs come through, all different kinds of breeds and temperaments,” Perez said. “It’s a lot of fun. Everyone enjoys this event.”

Whether some of the dogs needed a bath or just got one because it went to a good cause, Tails and Ales was successful in raising money to help two nonprofit organizations. Tails and Ales left many enjoying brewed beverages and several clean dogs wagging their tails.

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Follow Victoria Teplitz on Twitter.


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