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Scrubadub in the tub: Self-service dog washes are taking off

Maureen Lafferty is anti-fur. Anti-fur in her tub. Anti-fur on her towels. And anti-fur in the drain.

more stories like thisThat'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 Maine's largest city, the bustling Portland Dog Wash has five tubs, which are disinfected after each wash.

"This setup is much easier than doing it at home," said Lafferty, who wore a standard issue vinyl smock while tending to her 9-year-old dog.

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