Soap suds, pups and a whole lot of fun! It's time again for pet lovers to converge at Wash-N-Wag, the Sullivan County Humane Society's (SCHS) yearly dog wash and festival held at the Kingsport Town Center parking lot in support of animal population control, pet adoption, and overall animal welfare.
The Fifth Annual Wash-N-Wag, a rain or shine event, will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16, in the mall parking lot at the crossroads of Memorial Boulevard and Fort Henry Drive. The fundraiser will offer local citizens and their furry best friends a viable alternative to expensive pet grooming with all proceeds benefiting Sullivan County Humane Society's spay/neuter cause.
"We wash dogs up to 80 pounds for an $8 donation, and dogs over 80 pounds are washed for a $12 donation," said SCHS communications chair Tina Pasquale. "Every donation received goes towards our low-cost spay/neuter program called Spay and Neuter Impact Project (SNIP). SNIP is a partnership between Sullivan County Humane Society and participating veterinarians in the area. We have SNIPped over 1,700 pets since the program's inception in 2010. ... Pet overpopulation is the biggest problem facing companion animals in our area and SNIP addresses that problem."
Pasquale said the only qualification for a dog's participating in the dog wash is that their owner's provide proof of an up-to-date rabies vaccination. The actual festival, however, is open to the public (pet owner or not) and curious bystanders are welcome.
"Folks don't need a dog to enjoy Wash-N-Wag," Pasquale explained. "We will have obedience training demonstrations to watch, and animal rescue organizations will be there to provide information about breeds and dogs will be available for adoption."
"Vendors will also be at the Wash-N-Wag selling pet treats, pet accessories, and pet-themed jewelry for humans," Pasquale continued. "We will even have a corn hole tournament! It's a great place to meet people who share a love of animals and it's just a hoot to watch the whole thing!"
At last year's Wash-N-Wag, volunteers washed approximately 150 dogs and involvement "goes up about 10 percent every year," Pasquale said. Therefore, community volunteers and donations are always needed and much appreciated.
Pasquale said in order to defray the cost of putting on Wash-N-Wag, corporate and local sponsors are also required. Sponsors for 2014 are Kingsport Town Center, 98.5 WTFM, Biggies Restaurant, Friendship Automotive, Food City's Pet Club, and OmniSource Recycling.
As far as Wash-N-Wag's consistent mall location goes, the idea blossomed five years ago from an already existing relationship between SCHS and Kingsport Town Center marketing manager Amy Boyles.
"One of the Sullivan County Humane Society volunteers contacted me and inquired about partnering with Kingsport Town Center to possibly work together on a brand new event," Boyles said. Since the SCHS must constantly raise money for their main focus, which is spaying and neutering companion animals, "we put our heads together and came up with a fundraiser to wash dogs for a really great cause."
"Amy Boyles is an animal lover so it was a perfect fit," Pasquale explained. Kingsport Town Center is a high-profile location with the "perfect set-up" - the water, parking and a level space for dog washing and other activities. "As long as they'll have us, we'll continue to come every year."
The Kingsport Town Center is located at 2101 Fort Henry Drive in Kingsport. For more information on Wash-N-Wag, to volunteer, or for a SNIP application visit www.SullivanCountyHumaneSociety.com.