BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison businessman Eric Freitag is putting his new dog wash business to work for the county.
Beginning on Monday Aug. 13 through Aug. 19, Freitag will be donating 100% of all the proceeds of dog washes that week to the Lee County K9 Association.
Freitag said he’d been reading on social media about some of the fundraisers that have gone on in the county and decided letting dog owners help the K9 Association made some sense.
“It’ll start next week on Monday and we’ll go all the way through to Sunday,” Freitag said. “It’s open 24/7 and people can come and see what the dog wash is about and at the same time make a nice donation the Lee County K9 Association.”
He said he originally thought about doing the fundraiser over a weekend, but said it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to have a bunch of dogs lined up waiting to get in, so he just decided to donate a whole week’s worth so people could come in at their leisure.
“Well, they actually posted a thing on messenger on Facebook about a fundraiser and I messaged them and said ‘It seems like a lot of dog people support dog charities’,” Freitag said. There has been a lot of fundraisers for the association and donations, but this way it’s a dog-related fundraiser. This kind of helps people with dogs give back to the K9 Association.”
Freitag said he didn’t have a specific goal in mind and whatever is made is made and it will all go to that program.
The dog wash is located at the corner of Avenue L and 37th Street in Freitag’s newly opened car and dog wash. The dog wash station is a self-service station on the west end of the lot in a temperature controlled setting.
Tom Humburd of Donnellson was giving his dog “Faith”, a 6-month old Belgian Shepherd, a bath. Faith sat close to her owner as he towel dried her after utilizing the system. Dogs enter a bathing area with a closed door and then can be sprayed, shampooed and even blow dried. Dog owners just purchase time in the bathing stall on the machine itself.
“I really like it,” Humburd said. “I came by last week to take a look at it and decided I would bring Faith in. She did really well and I think she enjoyed it. We’ll be back.”
Bob Conlee, who chairs the association, said there will be a kickoff for the fundraiser Monday.
“We’ll be there at the car wash to kick it off at 8 a.m. and try to help promote that,” Conlee said. “I’m planning on having a bite suit on and maybe we can bring up Gunner to let people get a look.”
The Association has two dogs that are part of the Lee County Sheriff’s association. ‘Gunner’ is handled by Deputy Uriah Wheatley and ‘Kion’ is handled by Deputy Dakota Foley.
Conlee said donations are slow during the summer because everyone has so much going on, but the group has plans for the fall.
“It’s slow right now. Everyone is busy with vacations, but we do have some plans for later on,” he said, “We want to get a fall raffle going and I think there’s going to be a LeeComm golf tournament in September. Proceeds will go to the K9 Association and CrimeStoppers. We’re doing ok, but it doesn’t take long for the money to disappear.”
Conlee said the county and surrounding areas have been tremendous in helping get the program, which has been entirely supported through private donations, off the ground.
“People in this area are fantastic. They just jump in and help when there’s a need.”