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Pet washer brings tub to you

With his bath pulled up and idling by the side of the road, 14-year-old Kramer hobbled bravely forward to take a plunge into the unknown.

"You're a very old boy but a good old boy, aren't you?" coos John Dick, peering into the golden retriever's blind right eye as he soaps him down with sweet-smelling shampoos that are medicated to help his dry skin. Kramer, a first-time customer with hip problems, doesn't struggle at all while a massaging shower head uses warm water to knead away at his thick, long hair. A thorough blow dry then reveals a seasoned coat that still has a lot of depth and luxuriant color.

A squirt of something sweet and potent soon puts the bite on Kramer's dog breath and, with his mane brushed, trimmed and tidied and his nails cut back to a respectable length, this is one old dog that has learned a new trick: If you can't make it to the groomer's bath, the bath can come to you.

That's been the business model for Dick's Mobile Pet Wash service, featuring a logo with the encouraging motto: "A Clean Pet is a Happy Pet!" Dick, who lives in Charleston, drives a gleaming white Ford F150 truck that pulls a custom-built, fully enclosed heated and air-conditioned trailer. Inside is a giant tub, a 55-gallon supply of onboard heated water and all the tools and equipment he needs.

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