You’ll be hard-pressed to find K-9 officers better-fed than those in the Napa Valley.
In June, Central City Barber Shop on Solano Avenue began selling T-shirts featuring the pro-law enforcement symbol of a black-and-white American flag with a single blue stripe. The proceeds, owner Donnie Valderrama decided, would go to local K-9s.
They sold about $1,200 in shirts and spent $400 of their proceeds on eight bags of special dog food made for high-energy pups. Bags of dog food were given to K-9s at the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, American Canyon Police Department and St. Helena Police Department, and the barber shop gave $200 to police dogs at the Napa Police Department.
When it comes to operating a barber shop, Valderrama said, a good haircut is important. But supporting the community is key.
“Without the community, we’re realistically not anything,” he said.
It’s not the first time Central City Barber Shop customers — many of whom are officers — raised money for law enforcement. The shop sold the T-shirts in 2017 and planned to donate proceeds to fallen officers, but ended up using the money to donate food to first responders after wildfires struck.
The officers, dogs and dog trainer Chip Johnson of Top Shelf K-9 all came into the shop. Valderrama said he enjoyed the opportunity to meet the police dogs and their officers and trainer, and see who would benefit from the shop’s donations.
“It was a good feeling just to be able to say ‘thank you’, just to be able to feel like we’re contributing,” he said.
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Johnson, who works with K-9s at the Sheriff’s Office and American Canyon and St. Helena Police Departments, said the barber shop’s efforts were fantastic. He’s worked with Napa Valley police dogs for a decade.
“Anything that’s going to help ... law enforcement is great,” he said, adding he hoped the barber shop would re-up its efforts for local K-9s next year.
Victoria Escobar, a barber with Central City Barber Shop, said she’s never previously worked at a place that prioritized giving back to the community. Her customers were excited about the shop’s initiative too, she said.
“For me, it was just a first-time experience, so I thought it was really unique,” she said.
Escobar enjoyed the dogs’ visit to the shop. They were well-trained, but excitedly whimpered and whined when they saw the food.
“They knew,” she said.
Police dogs will soon be back at Central City Barber shop for its back-to-school event on Monday, Aug. 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited to visit the shop at 2469 Solano Ave., meet the dogs, and enjoy barbecued hot dogs and soft drinks.
An earlier version of this story misstated the number of shirts that the barber shop sold. It sold $1,200 in shirts.