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Dr. Pawz: Raising funds for veteran service dogs

Tuesday - 7/23/2013, 1:02pm  ET

DogWash1.jpg
A local branch of Dogtopia raised money for service dogs with a dog wash in Reston, Va. (Courtesy Katy Nelson)
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Katy Nelson, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - On Sunday July 21, Dogtopia, a national dog day care franchise, hosted its 9th Annual Charity Dog Wash to benefit service dogs for veterans who work year-round.

From coast-to-coast, all 29 stores participated in the event, which raised money for Veterans Moving Forward and America's Vet Dogs.

Both nonprofits provide service dogs to veterans with physical and mental challenges, with the goal of improving the veterans' quality of life and helping with healing, recovery and re- assimilation back to life at home.

The dog wash, held at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston, Va., was one of the largest in the country, washing over 100 dogs and raising over $2,000.

A $15 donation was requested from each dog, but many charitable dog owners went ahead and rounded up.

Nationwide, the event raised just under $30,000 in one day, according to Dogtopia Chief Executive Officer Amy Nichols.

Carol, a beagle owner from Sterling, Va., attended the dog wash and said that the goal of the event is very close to her heart.

"My son did two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and we've seen many of his friends and fellow soldiers who suffer from PTSD. Having a service dog could definitely help to give them a reason to wake up in the morning and a way to re-engage with society."

Many of the pet owners in attendance felt the same way, braving the heat to give their dogs a bath, because it was all for a great cause.

Dogtopia's charitable arm, K9 Support, is still taking donations, so if you'd like to support their goal of funding two service dogs for soldiers this year (approximately $12,000 per dog), you can donate online or text "Dogtopia" to 50155.

Dr. Katy Nelson is an emergency veterinarian in Alexandria, Va. Tune in to "The Pet Show" with Dr. Katy every Saturday at 11 a.m. on Washington D.C.'s News Channel 8, and listen on WTOP for her Dr. Pawz segments every two weeks. Have questions for Dr. Katy? You can follow her on Twitter @drkatynelson, on Facebook or email her at askdrkaty@wtop.com.

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