For 25 years Stacey Kimberley Rogers owned a tuxedo shop, but all the while she knew someday she'd work with dogs, turning her 18 years of volunteering for the N.H.S.P.C.A. in Stratham into a profession. Two years ago she and her friend and fellow dog lover Maribeth Girard decided to go for it. They opened Club Canine Dog Wash & Day Spa in Portsmouth with a mission to "celebrate all things dog."
They're a heck of a lot of fun. They're happy and love it when you're doing something nice for them. It makes you feel good. I always have a big smile on my face when I come to work.
One of the services you offer is unique to the state - self-service pet washing, a new wrinkle in DIY?
Yeah, all you need to bring is your dirty dog. We supply brushes, towels, dryers, shampoo and aprons. When you're done, you can leave the mess behind. And it's great for the dog; they're not frightened because mom or dad is there.
On the list of what you do is blueberry facials ...
It's a product I found a few years ago. It made me giggle, so I had to have it. The word for us is fun, we've gotta have fun. Plus, it does wash their face.
No cucumbers on the eyes?
If they had a product like that and it worked, I'd use it.
I understand you also offer reiki and yoga for dogs. What do you say to people who are skeptical?
If just makes sense that if it benefits a human, it would benefit an animal, too. They get stressed just like we do. We have a reiki master who does it. You can see the dogs visibly relax.
And with yoga? Ooomm?
More like baaaark.
Do you ever think we go overboard with our pets?
Dogs are family; people absolutely love their pets. Some of the pampering can go over the top, especially for us New Englanders. But we're trying to do what's best and that's OK.
Do you have a dog?
Three of them - mastiffs. I must be crazy. They're big dogs. One of mine, Finnigan, will grow to over 200 pounds.
I was doing foster sitting for a litter of them that had been brought into the shelter because their owner wanted to feed them to his boa constrictor. His neighbor intervened.
Feed them to a boa constrictor?
Yes. It is unbelievable. I kept one of the pups, Quigley. That's how I got started with mastiffs.
Are you worried about a new business in this economy?
The pet industry is a $35 billion industry and research doesn't show it slowing down, fortunately.
Ever miss the tuxedo business?
No, I went from one happy business to another happy business.
This article appears in the January 2009 issue of New Hampshire Magazine