While we often refer to our dogs as our best friends, they are considered family. We care about them deeply, protect them, watch over their health, well-being and happiness. For this reason there are numerous businesses in every town and city that address anything our furry friends may need or want.
One popular dog service that is readily found is the dog salon – a place for Fido (does anyone name their dog Fido) to get a haircut, wash, nail trim or other regular grooming maintenance. Generally speaking, one drops him or her off with a stranger, browses a store or does a few errands and returns some time later.
What I haven’t seen is a self-service dog wash and boutique. Until now. Paw Place at 416 Huttlestone Avenue in Fairhaven. Started just over a month ago, the boutique is already generating quite the buzz and the response has been overwhelmingly a positive one.
Owner/operator Miriam Bourke’s inspiration for the business was that she recently moved back to the SouthCoast and realized the self-serve concept – one where the owner strengthens their bond with their dog – didn’t exist. On top of that, every pet store that she visited had a very generic, cold, big box feel. “Hi, customer #43,354, can we help you?”
Miriam was passionate about changing that. How about a boutique where you could be on a first name basis? Where the customer service would get to not only know your name, and your dog’s name, but get to know your dog’s needs, favorite food or treats? How about a warm, friendly and inviting destination?
Not being a big box and carrying every single variety of toy, food brand, collar or leash under the sun wasn’t an issue for Miriam. In fact, she feels it’s her strength: that means she can focus on quality, not quantity. “I put a lot of care and research into the brands and selection that I carry.I can tell you what company manufactures each of my products, why I choose to carry them, what feature about the product makes it makes it worth you spending your money on it. Because I focus on quality over quantity my customers don’t have to sift through garbage advertising trying to figure out if an item, or treat, or food is safe or high quality. They can shop with peace of mind knowing I’ve already done the research for them.”
This is the type of attitude someone has when they are doing what they want for a living, not what they have to do. Miriam has always had a passion for animals, especially dogs, so she always dreamt of owning a dog related business. The first step into that direction was attending Bristol “Aggie” on the encouragement of her father. While there she majored in Animal Science, where the education focused on dog grooming, vet assisting, animal nutrition, and care for any animal you may find in a pet store, e.g. rodents, rabbits, birds, cats, fish.
So why would you be interested in a self-service wash? Besides the aforementioned bonding with your pet, it fills a real need in the community for those dog owners who have a nervous, excitable, aggressive or anxious dog. By doing the wash yourself, your dog will not be stressed.
In addition, if you typically wash your dog at home, you can do it in a space created for it and not in the bathtub or kiddie pool at home. Everything you need is within reach and the stations are ergonomically designed so that you don’t have to be on your hands and knees. At Paw Place they have professional grooming tubs that have restraints to keep them in the tub, ramps to help get them in, and they are elevated so your back will thank you!
Paw Place offers the Basic DIY Bath ($19) which includes “use of tubs, your choice of one of 4 premium soaps, and use of grooming tools including brushes, nail clippers, professional dryers, and towels.” Available Add-Ons are Toothbrush and toothpaste ($3), Finishing Spray ($2), Ear wipes ($2), or De-shedding shampoo ($5). The Deluxe DIY Bath($24) which is all that plus toothbrush and toothpaste, conditioning finishing spray, and cleansing ear wipes.
While you are there you can grab some dog food – Paw Place carries top quality brands like Blue Wilderness, Core Wellness, Evo, Merrick (Grain Free and Limited Ingredient Formulas), Natural Balance (Original and Limited Ingredient Formulas), Stella and Chewy, and Taste of the Wild. Need treats? You’ll find a variety of all natural healthy treat options for your dog. Sustainability and eco-friendly practices are important to Paw Place, so they try to source as many of their treats from local companies as possible.
Need leashes? How about a nautical rope leashes? Hand-crafted leather or something from the Wolfgang collection which offers a lot of different prints. You’re covered!
Although Paw Place has just started out, they are already generously supporting “local”: Miriam donates $1 from every bath to a variety of organizations. Right now one of those organizations is” K9s for Warriors.” They provide service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD or traumatic brain injuries. So, you get great service while helping out a wonderful cause.
Want to see what people are saying? Paw Place’s review section currently is a perfect 5 stars!
I’ll let Miriam have the last word: “I’m not sure of the origin of this quote but they are the words I live by, ‘Life is short play with your dog.’ It’s easy to get caught up in our very busy lives but we are the center of our dogs’ universe, don’t blink because their time with us on this earth is far too short.”
Well said, Miriam.
416 Huttleston Avenue
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am-6:30pm