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Joe Gruters and Jared Moskowitz enjoy a post-shift moment after bartending at Red Dog, Blue Dog.


Red Dog, Blue Dog in Tallahassee brings together party foes to save the pups

Slinging cocktails so the dogs can wag their tails.

Every dog has it day, and in Tallahassee that was Tuesday, Jan. 28.

After a push for legislation supporting dogs — and other critters — during Humane Lobby Day at the Capitol, folks adjourned to the Township bar in CollegeTown for an evening of friendly cross-party competition at the sixth annual Red Dog, Blue Dog fundraiser.

Eight guest bartenders — four red, four blue — served specialty drinks and hustled for tips that will be donated to three local animal rescue groups, the Animal Shelter Foundation, the Leon County Humane Society and Last Chance Rescue.

Slinging the Red Dog Das Mule (raspberry flavored beer and vodka with ginger beer) were VISIT FLORIDA CEO Dana Young, Sen. Joe Gruters, Rep. Colleen Burton, and Rep. Alex Andrade. Pouring the Blue Dog Gaarden Party (peach schnapps, lemon-lime vodka and blue curacao) were Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, Sen. Gary Farmer, Sen. Jason Pizzo and Rep. Tracie Davis.

One of the most popular ladies at the event was Penelope, a 2 ½-year-old petite brindle pit mix, representing all the adoptable dogs at the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center. Though a bit overwhelmed by the attention she was getting, Penelope was still generous with her doggy kisses. 

Last year, Red Dog, Blue Dog earned more than $9,000 for the nonprofits and “we’re hoping to beat $10,000” in 2020, said organizer Sara Clements, a vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting. Team Red has won every year since the fundraiser’s inception, although in 2019, Team Blue came within $250 of the winning total, she said. No winner was announced at the event; that will have to wait until the credit card receipts are tallied.

Among those wetting their whistles was Kate MacFall, Florida director for the Humane Society of the United States, who had spent much of the day lobbying against SB 1237, which — “after several pages of warm, fuzzy things” — would preempt more than 70 local ordinances regulating and banning the retail sale of pets, she said.

Stefanie Brendl, founder of Shark Allies, was in town to advocate HB 401 and SB 680 banning the trade, import and export of shark fins in Florida. 

Also spotted enjoying the festivities were Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears, Sen. Darryl Rouson and Reps. Shevrin Jones, Mike Grieco, Vance Aloupis, Dan Daley, Perry Thurston, Chip LaMarca, Matt Wilhite and David Silvers. 

Others involved in the process who attended included Melissa Ramba, Ellen Anderson, Dave Shepp, Rebecca DeLaRosa, Rhett O’Doski, Greg Black, Alex Dominguez, Chelsea Murphy, Brad Swanson, Trimmel Gomes, Sean Stafford, Tom DiGiacomo, Will Rodriguez, Chris Dawson, Erin Collins, Eddie Gonzalez, Angela Drzewiecki and Erin VanSickle.

Unlike the tension found in Washington, D.C., it was a good-natured crowd at Red Dog, Blue Dog.

“It’s nice to poke a little fun at the rivalry,” said Sandi Poreda, one of the event’s original founders.

Sponsors included Florida Internet & Television, Duke Energy, McGuire Woods Consulting, Bulldog Strategy Group, Allison Aubuchon Communications, Enwright Rimes Consulting, Brecht & Hunter Heuchan and Strategic Digital Services.

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