Dog owners can help wash away cancer, one scrubbing bubble at a time, at the annual Baldwin Bark & Meow Supply Charity Dog Wash on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., in the Village Center and along New Broad Street.
The event, in its third year, and its mission, to bring awareness to pediatric cancer and give back to those who help the children battling the disease, are personal for Ashley Liguori and her mom, Connie Mathews. The co-owners of Baldwin Bark had to watch helplessly as Tatum, the daughter of close friends Brad and Melissa Cempella, battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Tatum was a happy, playful 2-year-old when she was diagnosed. She underwent chemotherapy for 28 months, and is now a healthy 5-year-old in remission. The experience not only changed Tatum’s parents, but also the lives of their friends, who knew they needed to find a way to support the Cempella family.
In September 2009, with the help of friends and family, Ashley and Connie organized the first dog wash for a few dozen lucky canines. The simple event has grown into a full day of great activities, not just for dogs and their owners. There will be plenty of fun for children and their families. D.J. Gonzo will emcee the day and there will also be live music, including Orlando’s own Ron Irizarry. And back by popular demand, the famous Mr. Richard will be playing a set from 2:15-3:15 p.m.
A wide variety of food vendors will be available this year, including Paddy Murphy’s, Colibri, Monsta Lobsta and Kalbi Hau5 of Orlando’s food trucks, 4 Rivers Smokehouse and Delish Frozen Yogurt.
Pet and non-pet related vendors will have booths displaying their wares, and Playground magazine is bringing a bounce house and train rides to delight the kids. The Big Red bus will be accepting blood donations (which are vital in the fight against cancer) and Kids Beating Cancer will be performing screenings for the bone marrow registry.
In the middle of it all is a giant dog wash. Dog owners can customize their pet’s “spaw” experiences, including Spa Diggity dog scrubs and blow drys, blueberry facials, “manis & pawdis,” as well as massages and aromatherapy treatments. Suggested donations range from $25 to $35. Advance reservations are strongly recommended for dog wash appointments.
This year proceeds will benefit Kids Beating Cancer, an organization that reaches out to children currently in treatment and focuses on registering people for the National Bone Marrow List. They also assist children who are receiving bone marrow transplants.