By Nancy Covert
When this intrepid ST reporter caught up with Loki, a 10-year-old blonde Belgian Shepherd Service Dog, she was luxuriating in a warm, sudsy bath.
Her owner, Robert Gardner, had just scrubbed her down and was rinsing the soap from her nicely trimmed coat. Loki looked content. A large striped drying towel awaited on a nearby table.
New to this area, the Speed-E-Mart Dog Wash opened earlier this month, according to Steve Lee, Station Attendant at the Union 76 Station at the intersection of Steilacoom Blvd. and Farwest Dr. The station owners had recently transformed the Drive Thru coffee bar into a fancy pooch spa earlier this spring, explained Steve.
Business is slowly picking up, he said, adding that flyers about the Dog Wash service are being distributed around the area.
Taking man’s Best Friend to the Dog Wash avoids the mess of washing the dog at home, opined Gardner. Loki had no comment, but she appeared to be enjoying the attention. The devoted service dog recently lost her prime patron, but she hadn’t lost her enthusiasm not only for fetching and carrying but also for removing shoes, jackets, opening doors, etc, Gardner explained.
“These dogs don’t just ‘fetch,’ but they like to be first to ‘fetch’,” he added.
The Union 76 Dog Wash is open from 4:30 until midnight. It’s located next to the full- size car wash. The Dog Wash features nine options, including oatmeal treatment, conditioner; even a “de-skunk” option. Ten minutes for $7.
After snapping a few photos of Loki and Robert, this writer moseyed back to the car, only to encounter Mario Reeves, another dog wash customer, who groused a bit that the ST reporter hadn’t interviewed him when he brought his two dogs to the indoor bathhouse a few days earlier.
C’est la vie—that’s how it goes in this business—either feast or famine.