Dog owners get a little help |

Dog owners get a little help

Eight-month old Cocoa had a spring in her step coming out of the Dog Wash of Tahoe.

The chocolate Labrador seems to like it here, said her owner Kim Petragallo, who promised to return to the new business at the Bijou Shopping Center behind Smart & Final.

The South Lake Tahoe woman was surprised she didn’t need an appointment to have her dog washed. Petragallo has owned the dog for less than a month.

“She went right up the steps,” business owner Dee Robertson said.

Robertson started a dog-washing business in July because she was amazed one didn’t exist at Tahoe already, aside from groomers.

Where she lived in Oregon, the type of business cropped up everywhere. It was also time for a change in her career.

“I was ready to de-stress a little from accounting,” she said.

So the accountant lined up a location to sublet, scoped out similar businesses in Sparks and Sacramento and bought about 100-gallon tubs with inserts, and performed some interior work.

Sometimes the subtle touches get the most attention.

Robertson put up posters of different dog breeds. Visitors — in particular, children — like to use the posters to find pictures of their dogs, she said.

Of the approximately 15 dogs a week Robertson now sees, the most unique was a Bouvier des Flandres.

Some people bring in cats. One man washes his four Chihuahuas. Another asked if his ferret could get a bath. Robertson also provides drying and combing. There’s also a sideline clipping service.

Her goal is at least 30 animals a week using the establishment, even though the business paid for itself last month.

Robertson picked up the trade from some friends, plus she has a cocker spaniel, Barney.

The business caters to pet owners who either lack the time to wash their dogs and need help or shy away from using their homes to do so.

Robertson’s prices range from $12 to $16 for small to large dogs for self-serve dog washing. The prices are $10 more for full-serve.

Robertson said she enjoys watching the dogs’ eyes roll back in their heads when they’re being scrubbed.

The Dog Wash of Tahoe, which also sells a few dog-related items such as treats and toys, is open every day except Tuesday. It can be reached at (530) 542-2969.

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