Maureen Lafferty is anti-fur. Anti-fur in her tub. Anti-fur on her towels. And anti-fur in the drain.
That’s why she and the one big ball of fur she does love, Jackson, a yellow Labrador retriever, are patrons of the Portland Dog Wash.
“This is why I don’t do this at home,” Lafferty said, pointing to big clumps of fur at the bottom of the stainless steel basin.
In a country whose residents spare no expense on their pets, self-service dog washes represent another splurge, allowing dog owners to forgo the indignity of chasing a wet and soapy dog around the house, or across the lawn, along with the messy cleanup.
The trend kicked off more than a decade ago. Now it seems that just about every sizable city has at least one.
In Portland, Mark and Greg Goodwin got the idea after hearing from a friend about a dog wash in the Baltimore area. “We just dove into it,” Mark said.
Their business features waist-high tubs with all the accessories close by – combs, shampoos, conditioner, perfumes, towels, hair dryer. There are eye wipes and ear wipes and even dental wipes with a minty scent.
It’s a simple concept. Customers are willing to pay from $8 to $16 – based on the size of the dog – to let the Goodwins sweat the details.
Although some might consider it a splurge, it’s far less expensive than taking a dog to a professional groomer.