Hot dog: Jamestown restaurant teams up with dog wash service to benefit humane society

Staff writer

As patrons filled a Jamestown Road hot dog joint Saturday to munch on loaded-hot dogs, their pets got special treatment for a good cause.

Toby’s Dog House partnered with a conceptual dog wash business to offer up lunch and clean pups with some proceeds to benefit Heritage Humane Society on Saturday.

After Rebecca Mulvain retired from the Navy after 20 years of service, she brought back a business plan from her San Diego, California duty station: mobile and self-service dog washing.

“Dogs are retirees children now,” Mulvain said as she rubbed a blueberry facial onto Shiloh, a hound dog. “We just want to give dog owners another option where it’s safe and clean.”

While the first hour of the fundraiser was quiet, Mulvain said she enjoys bringing the pop-up dog washes to James City.

Her business is still in a concept phase where she’s ironing out the details in her plans to make the business sustainable and profitable. She urged folks to spend their money at local small businesses like hers and Toby’s Dog House and not “big corporate.”

Mulvain’s hope is to eventually set up shop in a permanent space, such as in a shopping center in the central part of the county.

For Shiloh’s owner, Bill Helseth, the occasional pampering of his dog is necessary. He said he loved the idea of mobile dog wash service from a fixed location because a lot of folks are less able to go in-town and it’s a convenient amenity.

Bill Helseth’s brother Glenn Helseth owns and operates the hot dog joint and the Carrot Tree Kitchens restaurants and catering.

“We’ve got a longstanding relationship with Heritage Humane, Toby’s and Carrot Tree both,” Glenn Helseth said. “We’ve chosen animals because they’re pretty helpless of their own accord.”

“We do as much for Heritage Humane as we can.”

Glenn Helseth’s businesses raise money for man’s best friend by hosting high tea sittings, spirit days at Toby’s Dog House and sponsoring the Dog Street Strut — a major event for the humane society.

He plans to host more pop-up dog washes with Mulvain, a “Dog Days of August” event that will bring in a pet photographer and caricaturist and by Christmas pet portraits with the man in the red suit: Santa Claus himself.

“We raise money and we feel good,” Glenn Helseth said. “We wish it were a lot more (money). I tend to keep my head out of the numbers. It’s as much as we got this time and we hope to do more next time.”

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at srobertsjr@vagazette.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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