Oceanside is a dog community. Next to people, dogs are king — case in point was the doggers versus joggers political debates of Qualicum Beach in the early 2000s.
It comes as no surprise, then, that services for dogs are in high demand.
That’s where Ashley Henry and Becky Christensen saw an opportunity to pamper our four-legged friends.
The pair teamed up and opened Dogfathers Day Spaw in Parksville.
Located on the Island Highway across from Bluenose Motors, Dogfathers offers a few unique services, designed to give pet owners an experience they won’t forget.
First thing you notice is the smell of the place. It smells really good — thanks to an in-house dog treats bakery.
“The treats and the bakery area … it’s a different smell for dogs than the usual groomer-smell,” said Henry. “It can make a big difference for nervous dogs.”
The treats are natural, said Christensen, adding they have tasted them themselves.
“They are made from ingredients you would find in your own home,” she said, pointing to makings such as peanut butter, whole grain flour, rolled oats and vegetables.
Their meatball treats are their best seller, they say, adding the peanut butter and banana treats are close behind.
The second thing you notice is a large, dog-washing machine.
No agitator here — it’s a room in which a dog is placed and water jets soap, massage and rinse the pet.
The couple say it’s safe (their husbands have even tried it out themselves). It’s a device Christensen said she used when she had a similar business in Arizona. The entire process takes about 30 minutes and is safe for the dogs.
The front of their store offers a wide selection of pet accessories — from collars to blankets — but where the dogs themselves will enjoy the space is in the back.
There, Dogfathers has a new agility training area, kennels, an outdoor play space and grooming work stations for their dog care facility.
When in the care of Ashley and Becky, they say each pet has its own large space and they employ Katy Green to give them agility training and more.
“We want to make it as enjoyable as possible for our clients,” Christensen said, adding they work with local veterinarians to ensure all visitors to their facility have their shots.
Now open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Dogfathers is growing.
Already, Ashley said they are getting word-of-mouth referrals. As the business takes off, the pair said they will work to be open overnight, with someone on staff the entire time.
“We want to raise the bar a lot,” Christensen said.
For more details, drop by the Dogfathers Day Spaw, or visit www.dogfathersdogspaw.com.