Workin’ at the “Car Wash,” Baby

The Trestle Inn Hosts the First Annual Dog Wash Fundraiser for PAWS

The Trestle Inn, known for its whiskey and Mod 60s-70s Go Go, hosted the third of its fundraisers for the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) on Saturday, August 2, 2014.  At just after one o’clock, the corner of 11th and Callowhill echoed with barking dogs and Rose Royce’s funky soul.


Josette Bonafino, who co-owns The Trestle Inn with her husband Ian Cross, is passionate about proper companion care.  She became a board member of PAWS ( in December 2013, and since then she has hosted two other events to raise money for the shelter.  “I got the idea for this particular fundraiser based on a Facebook post several months ago,” she said as we chatted in the black and red interior of the lounge where black and white portraits of Go Go dancers adorn the walls.

“Everything we do here at The Trestle Inn captures the essence of the 60s and 70s, from film screenings, to food, to beverages, to events like these,” she explains.  “One of my friends made a comment about sitting at the car wash, and I instantly thought of that song ‘Car Wash’ and had a vision for a dog wash,” she waves her hand toward the windows of the club.


Outside those windows, against the red brick and black trimmed façade, Noe Bunnell, owner of BONeJOUR (, prepared to wash dogs.  The cost for an oatmeal shampoo and dry was $20 and nail clipping was an extra $10.  “Every penny of these proceeds is going to PAWS.  Noe is here on her own time to lend a hand.”

TrestleInnPAWS_2709-02AUG14In keeping with the theme of the day, Donal McCoy, owner of Sassafras Bar and Serrano in Old City ( provided the Hot Dirty Dog Barbeque.  Donal is one of Josette’s fellow PAWS board members, and he and his wife Jen are passionate about animals as well.  They and another member of their staff served lunch and chatted with pet owners, watching the canines go through the rinse cycle.

KelSo Beer ( donated two kegs of beer to the cause as well.  When dog owners purchased their services, they received tickets for one free glass of KelSo Pilsner or a glass of wine if they preferred.  They washed down their Hot Dirty Dogs while Noe and her staff and volunteers scrubbed the pups.

Then the entertainers arrived.  Beth, the newest dancer at The Trestle Inn, swung her hips to disco favorites as j the audiophile ( spun records.  In her cut-off denim shorts, polka-dot halter, large white sunglasses, and bright red lipstick, Beth stopped traffic as she shimmied on the Go Go block.


Brittany Lynn, the hardest working drag queen in Philadelphia, followed Beth.  In black sequined boots and a wispy gray pantsuit, Brittany Lynn—a.k.a. Ian Morrison—belted out “Everybody’s Girl” from Steel Pier the musical and Harry Connick, Jr.’s “Recipe For Love.”  Brittany Lynn, whose canine babies came from PAWS,also donated her time to the cause.


Josette’s goal was to raise $1,000 for the day.  “The new PAWS location at Grant Avenue and Bustleton in Northeast Philly needs more money to make the facility whole, so it’s possible that all the money we raise today will go there.”  PAWS has two other locations in Philadelphia:  Old City and Grey’s Ferry.  PAWS is the largest no-kill shelter in the city, and Dana Spain, the president, is working to make Philadelphia a no-kill city.  Each year, the foundation rescues about 1,200 felines and 300 dogs.


The Trestle Inn sponsored two other fundraisers for PAWS this year, which they plan to repeat in 2015.  The first was the Bourbon Battle in March 2014.  They invited guest bartenders from around the city to compete in a bourbon cocktail creation competition.  The event was ticketed, and it brought in nearly $1,700, all of which went to PAWS.   The second—Kitten Week—ran in April 2014.  That week, the films at The Trestle Inn were kitty-esque and Brittany Lynn hosted Pet Quizzo.  They crafted specialty cocktails—Kitten with a Whip and Cathouse Punch—and the money from the sale of those cocktails went specifically to rescuing kittens.

Besides raising funds and awareness about companion care, Josette and Ian are involved in other philanthropic work as well. They founded Multi-Cultural Youth Exchange ( to allow youth to learn about diversity and social responsibility through art.  Students explore diversity through film, art, literature, and in response they create slam poetry concerts, collages, murals, and other collaborative art projects.  There is also an opportunity for students from Philadelphia to connect with students around the world in the MYX cultural exchange program.  The foundation is always looking for volunteers to help with this project as well.


Josette and Ian clearly have a passion for helping their community, whether it is to raise funds or awareness or both.  As for their work with PAWS, Josette says, “We’d really like to flesh out the entertainment component of this.  My piéce de resistance would be hosting a celebrity Go Go fundraiser.  I want to involve the bigwigs from the city, from politicians, to athletes, to newscasters, to entertainers.  Can you imagine Mayor Nutter getting up on a box and doing Go Go?  Just think of how much money we could raise if he was willing to get involved.  And all the money would go directly to PAWS!”

Visit to stay up-to-date with the latest fundraisers as well as fun events happening at the corner of 11th and Callowhill.

Staff Writer: Jann Simmons Andiamo

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