Appropriately enough, owner-operators Fred and Dawn Fontaine started Dirty Dog Wash so they could self-serve their own canine cleaning needs.
Seven-year-old Buddy Buddington sits calmly in a tub as Denise Buddington sprays him with water to wash off his shampoo. He then gets the dryer treatment.
After a while, Buddy gives Denise a "I want out of this tub" look, and she complies. Towels are applied to finish the drying process.
Buddy didn't have much to say. He's a dog, specifically, a yellow Labrador retriever.
Denise Buddington last week had brought Buddy to the Dirty Dog Wash, a new self-serve dog wash in Medway, with her 6-year-old daughter Victoria, who assisted in the cleaning process. She was pleased with the results.
"It went great,'' she said. "Better to do it here than your own house. It's a lot easier and you don't mess up your bathroom.''
Located in the back of the newly renovated Medway Mill at 165 Main St. (Rte. 109), the Dirty Dog Wash opened Feb. 12. Appropriately enough, owner-operators Fred and Dawn Fontaine started the self-serve company so they could self-serve their own canine cleaning needs.
"We have four dogs and it's expensive to pay a groomer,'' Dawn Fontaine said. "To pay $50 a pop really seemed excessive. It was a lot easier to just do it ourselves.''
First, the husband-and-wife team checked out other self-serve dog washes.
"We found out it was really fun, so we liked that aspect of it,'' Dawn Fontaine said.
The price for a basic wash at the new business is $18. That gives dog owners a choice of a wild berry shampoo, a shampoo for sensitive skin or an oatmeal, anti-itch shampoo. A conditioner is included in the price, as is doggie cologne.
A specialty shampoo for hounds with a heavy-duty odor costs $2 more, and a flea shampoo costs $5 more. Senior citizen dog owners receive a $5 discount, and owners of service dogs such as seeing-eye dogs pay only $10 for a basic wash.
For dogs from a rescue organization, the first wash is free with their owners receiving a $5 discount for every subsequent wash.
The Dirty Dog Wash also has a Frequent Bathers Club. After five washes, the sixth wash is free.
The company also has a shampoo designed specifically to deal with skunk spray. It even has a skunk emergency number (508-735-9523) to call in case of a spraying.
Dirty Dog Wash features commercial-grade sprayers, professional forced-air dryers (no heat to harm the hounds), four waist-high tubs, soft restraints, ample "dog parking'' if a customer has more than one dog, brushes, easy access ramps, chamois-style towels, terry cloth towels, non-slip rubber flooring, two grooming counters, ear wipes, dental wipes, nail trimmers and water-resistant aprons, both adult- and child-size. Walls separate the tubs to prevent any unruliness among the wash recipients.
Dawn Fontaine pointed out that all the tubs at the Dirty Dog Wash "are fully disinfected between washes. Cleanliness is a huge part of the business, as some customers have gone to self-serve dog washes that are more like a coin-operated system without an attendant and have found them to be very unsanitary.''
No appointments are necessary at the Dirty Dog Wash. If a pup has a problem with having other dogs around, an appointment can be made. While cats are also welcome, owners should call in advance to make sure any dogs with feline issues aren't present.
Fred Fontaine calls the public reaction to The Dirty Dog Wash enthusiastic. "We've had a great reception,'' he says. "Everyone who has come in has said, 'What a great idea. We're definitely going to be back.' People are having fun doing it, too.''
As for Buddy, though he didn't have any comment, he looked like a happy camper. He was wagging his freshly cleaned tail.
Do you know of a small business the Daily News should profile? Contact Bob Tremblay at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-626-4409.