Wag N’ Wash opens in California to keep pets clean
By Darwin Weigel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on: June 17, 2016
St. Mary’s County dog owners can stop drenching their bathrooms or chasing their unwilling pets with a hose when they need a cleaning. The new Wag N’ Wash Natural Food & Bakery in California has eight dog-washing stations to get Fido clean with minimum fuss.
Veterinarian Dr. Kirk Forrest and his wife, Anne, opened the first East Coast store of the Denver-based franchise June 4, and said they were surprised by the good turnout.
“It was extremely busy Saturday and Sunday,” Kirk said. “They told us halfway through the day on Saturday that we were already higher than their largest soft opening of a store that they’ve had. We did really well.”
The Hollywood couple isn’t new to taking care of pets — the two owned St. Mary’s Veterinary Hospital in Lexington Park for 21 years before selling it to a large hospital chain in 2009. Kirk continues his veterinary practice at the hospital but plans on expanding his consultation time at the new store.
“What I see in my day-today practice — nutrition is so important — but you’ve got a 20 to 30-minute appointment and you’ve got an animal that’s sick or other things and you don’t have a whole lot of time to address nutrition,” Kirk said. “You don’t have time to discuss diet changes and needs. I’ll do consultations here. You really need an hour for those things.”
Kirk is also expanding his veterinary skills and is getting certification in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to offer a holistic approach to pet care.
“Once we really get going, we’re going to do monthly seminars on health issues like diet, arthritis, fleas and ticks,” he said. “We’ll probably do it on a reservation basis just because we only have so much room.”
Wag N’ Wash is also a pet store with leashes, toys, collars, flea and tick medicines and the like for both dogs and cats. The store also carries lines of specialty pet foods.
“We sell a variety of what are called ‘natural food’ brands,” Anne said. “People nowadays are concerned about not only what they eat but what their pets eat.
All the diets contain no corn, soy, wheat gluten, chemical preservatives or artificial flavorings or byproduct meats.” But the real specialty on the food front is the in-house bakery. “Everything in the bakery is baked in-house. Everything is from scratch; and it is all human grade,” baker Josh Silvas said. “Human grade is if you got curious, you’re totally fine taking a taste.”
Silvas is from Denver and was in town to help the Forrests open the store and get their baker, Shayna Burton, up and running. Anne said the California store will start with 12 of the company’s 26 recipes for cakes, biscuits and treats, including six different biscuits offered in a mix-and-match format. “We had to make a few adjustments,” she said. “The state wouldn’t accept Denver’s guaranteed analysis, we had to do it here.”
“In Maryland we have to register [each one] with the department of agriculture. It’s $50 a recipe every year.” The bakery keeps a plate of sample treats on its display case for customer’s to pamper their pets and coax them through the bathing and grooming process.
“If people do bring their dogs we encourage them to take samples with them to the wash and get the dogs associated with a good environment,” Silvas said. “Dogs hate getting baths and groomed and whatnot. We tell people to grab samples and reward them as they come out of the wash, spoil them. That’s what we’re here for.”
The eight self-serve washing stations are set up for ease of use with the dogs standing in an elevated stainless steel tub. Each wash package, much like at a car wash, elevates the choices from a basic wash with the house shampoo through to the top tier washes that offer choices of shampoos and washing techniques.
“The most popular one in all of their stores is the Ultimate Wash because you get to use this Bathmaster,” Anne said. “This thing mixes the shampoo — and then when you’re rinsing, the conditioner — with water and you rub the nozzle against the dog’s coat which makes the whole process a whole lot quicker. It really gets the suds underneath the coat.”
The store supplies the shampoo, conditioner, towels, cologne and grooming brushes as well as an apron, she added. The store also has three full-service washing and grooming stations in a different room. The first of which will be occupied by groomer Wendy Downing of Mechanicsville who will accept reservations Tuesday through Saturday.
“Wendy is a wonderful groomer,” Anne said. “Kirk and I used to own St. Mary’s Veterinary Hospital and Wendy used to work for us. So we know Wendy well.” She said they’ll add other groomers as the business develops. A grand opening is scheduled for July 9 and 10.
The store is located in the San Souci Plaza. “It’s a lot of fun,” Kirk said of the new business, which he and Anne have been working on for the last year and a half. “It’s not like at the veterinarian’s [office] where the dogs are sick a lot of the times, so they’re stressed. Here, they’re relaxed.”