Dog owners caught a break Sunday as their canine partners were pampered at Dogtopia of the Tri-Valley to benefit the Alameda County Sheriff's Office K-9 Association.
Dogs were washed, towel-dried and free to romp for $15 as their owners mingled, talked to K-9 officers Deputy John White and Deputy Brian Fernandez and browsed tables set up by the Valley Humane Society and Dusty Paws Rescue.
The sixth annual dog wash is a nationwide event started by the Dogtopia franchise to support K-9 units locally and those stationed in Iraq.
"We got to support the K-9 unit of our choice, and so we chose the Alameda County Sheriff's Office K-9 Association," Dogtopia of the Tri-Valley owner Denise Caruso said.
The association is a nonprofit organization started in 2009 to provide the units' K-9s with ballistic vests and safety equipment as well as pay for medical expenses and burial costs for retired K-9s.
"We are very passionate about our dogs and what we do," said White, president of the ACSO K-9 Association.
Currently, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office has eight bomb dogs and eight patrol dogs.
"The K-9 unit saves about 600-800 man hours a year," White said.
The K-9 officers volunteer their time educating the public on the use of K-9s and fundraise for the dogs' care at events throughout the Tri-Valley.
"I love what I do," said White. "How many people get to go to work with their dogs?"