Last weekend, Spa Dog owners Hilary and Adam welcomed my dog Teddy and I into their pet grooming salon, and warmly told me their story of how Spa Dog came to be. Both having lived or worked in close proximity to animals on a farm, they wanted to start a business in Vancouver which would reflect their eco-friendly values and community-minded lifestyle.
In 2012, Spa Dog Organic Dog Spa opened its doors with its own line of pet grooming products – Black Sheep Organics. Like other dog groomers in Vancouver, Spa Dog’s pricing is based on the size of your pup. You can pick and choose from various packages, one of the most basic services being a bath with Black Sheep Organics Shampoo, to a full body trim and style. Other add-on services include nail clipping and smoothing, teeth brushing and gentle ear cleaning.
However, the idea of “Green Living” stretches beyond just their grooming products, into every nook and cranny of Spa Dog’s clean and earthy space on E. 18th & Commercial.
My first impression of Spa Dog was that it was very open and welcoming. Other dog spas often shuffle their clients into the back room, but at Spa Dog, the openness of the space allowed you to peek in at pups getting their fur blown dry or trimmed. The door separating the front area of the spa from the grooming stations is made from a reclaimed wood bed headboard.
Adam and Hilary are hands-on business owners, Adam takes care of the washings on the weekend, while Hilary is a certified groomer from the Western Dog Grooming School (yes, there is such a thing). All the staff members wear Spa Dog t-shirts printed on organic cotton, and when the grooming is done, the excess dog fur is composted and eventually gets used by farmers to help grow their crops. Their floors are then cleaned with a pet-friendly organic spray.
Whenever possible, Adam and Hilary source BC and West Coast products, in order to reduce their carbon footprint during transportation. Essential oils from their product lines are from Naramata, shampoo base from Oregon, while antler treats are wild-harvested from Prince George and jerky strips are made without additives, preservatives, chemicals or fillers. These treats are displayed on second-hand furniture recycled from Craiglist.
The SpaDog.ca website is full of interesting tidbits about the various products their use – from ingredients to packaging, as well as their policy against animal testing. Believe it or not, even the servers on which the Spa Dog website is hosted on operates on wind power.
This is one of the greenest small businesses I have encountered in Vancouver and there’s no surprise that they were featured in the 2013 Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver awards. Spa Dog is truly a service which doesn’t just “bark the bark”, they walk and walk and offer services which are completely aligned with their values on having an eco-friendly and sustainable business practise.
If you and your pup ever do get the opportunity to drop by Spa Dog on Commercial Drive, be sure to say hello to Adam and Hilary. I have no doubt they would love to enthusiastically share with you in person about the values and philosophy of Spa Dog Organic Dog Spa, while showering your pup with love and (healthy) treats.