Dog wash is owners' best friend

Posted: Sunday, January 11, 2004

Have you ever given your dog a bath but trashed your house in the process of getting your canine companion clean?

Drains are plugged with gobs of fur, the walls and floor are soaked from splashing about, not to mention all the soggy towels needed to clean it all up.

For anyone who has ever experienced this scenario, or for those who have been procrastinating bathing their pets to avoid the hassle, there is a solution. Our Best Friends pet shop in Soldotna has recently expanded its operation to a new building to provide self pet-washing services.

"You wash 'em, and we clean up the mess. That's our slogan," said owner Jody Hoskins. "We're excited. We think it's going to be a good thing."

Hoskins said the business is not to be confused with professional grooming though.

"We're doing our own thing. We're not trying to put any groomers out of work," he said. "A person brings in their dog and we provide a place to wash the pet, shampoo and supplies, and a place to dry the dog. We don't wash the dog for them."

The fee for all this is $15. He added, "This is for the person that lives in a small apartment or just wants to clean a dog themselves without any mess."

Hoskins said the facilities can accommodate dogs of any size, from tiny chihuahuas up to enormous Saint Bernards.

"I don't think there's a dog too big to fit in one of these tubs," Hoskins said.

The tubs he's referring to are the four stainless steel wash basins, complete with temperature-controlled, hand-held shower heads and rubber mats for sure footing.

There also are ramps for dogs too heavy for their owners to lift and inserts for small pets to stand on in the tub.

"Three of the tubs are 2 feet by 4 feet and one tub is 2 feet by 5 feet," he said.

Hoskins added that the wash tubs aren't just for dogs. "We can do cats, too." They provide mesh shower bags to put the cat in so that the animal is restrained and owners don't have to get scratched.

Owners also can choose from a variety of shampoos, including vitamin enriched, oatmeal, tearless, moisturizing and whitening and brightening for pets with light-colored coats.

Hoskins' business partner, Kathy Baldwin, said the business is off to a good start.

"There's a lot of interest already," she said. "Our first day, before we even had the dryers in yet, we had a guy come in with his Australian shepherds. There was hair from wall to wall when he left us, but he left happy."

The couple said they originally got the idea for the pet wash from similar businesses in the Anchorage and Eagle River areas that were very successful.

"We thought there may be a need for one here," Hoskins said.

For anyone interested in taking their furry friend to the pet wash, Hoskins said don't bother calling in advance, just bring them on in.

"We're first come, first served right now," he said. "If it gets too busy we'll go to appointment."

For more information about the pet wash, call Our Best Friends at 262-4330.

Joseph Robertia is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion. He has worked with wildlife and domestic animals for more than 10 years as a veterinary technician, a zoo keeper, and most recently as a zoologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society. He welcomes any pet-related questions or story ideas, but please none of a veterinary nature. Ideas and questions can be sent to his attention by e-mail at clarion@alaska.net.



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