Ahwatukee Foothills residents Tammy and Howard Teeter say they weren't really planning on opening a pet resort. But when their mobile dog training business became popular, customers were asking for it, so they decided it was time to find a storefront and stop housing dogs in their own home.
"As we were doing the mobile training business, our customers kept wanting more and more from us," Tammy said. "So we did do some grooming out of our home, then we started doing boarding out of our home. We've got daycare dogs at our home and so now it is busting at the seams, we needed a place. They just kept wanting more, which is awesome. They really trusted us and wanted to use us again."
Tammy has been taking care of dogs professionally for years. She was the owner of one of the largest boarding kennels in west Georgia for 12 years, as well as a vet tech and a surgery vet tech before moving to Ahwatukee. After the move, she decided to focus on just training because that's what she has the most passion for.
The Teeters have been doing Wiggles & Wags mobile dog training for three years and now that the business is growing and customers are asking for more, the two are happy to say yes.
It took more than a year to find the right location, but they were able to find a spot in a Tempe shopping center that would allow them to build an outdoor play area for the dogs and have plenty of room for kennels and a grooming station.
Because of Tammy's experience in Georgia, she was able to learn exactly what they'd need for this pet resort, and they have it all.
Near the front office of their new resort, there's a grooming room, training room and daycare area, complete with a treadmill for older dogs who could still use some exercise at their own pace.
Each dog that comes in for daycare will be pre-screened by Tammy to make sure they're a good fit.
"We do introduction tests to see how they'll do with other dogs," she said. "Obviously, if you have one that's too dominant or too pushy, those dogs don't get in. You also have to make sure that you put dogs together that are similar in energy level or size so they're somewhat compatible. We also have several different areas so we can move dogs around."
For overnight boarding there is an entirely separate facility away from the main building. In it there are three different tempered glass and panel kennel sizes, ranging from 4 feet by 5 feet to 5 feet by 7 feet.
Each kennel is made by the Mason Company to withstand any jumping without breaking. There's a bathtub in the back room for dogs that might have an accident and need a quick cleaning.
For day-to-day cleaning of the kennels, the Teeters found special chemicals that are non-toxic, but still take care of any dog or cat diseases, and all waste is flushed immediately and does not sit in waste baskets in the building.
Outside, behind the pet resort, is a large enclosed play area that is getting equipped with shade, misters, play pools and other amenities to make the stay even more enjoyable for pets.
Security measures, like an extra enclosed transfer station for taking dogs inside and outside to play, are in place. In addition, they are installing security cameras that the Teeters will use to monitor pets at all times overnight from their home.
Tammy and Howard will be at the resort for the majority of the time and their daughter, Nina, will be helping out after school. Nina is only in third grade, but she has been around dogs for so long she's become an expert and has even won trophies and ribbons for handling dogs at Flyball and Frisbee competitions.
The Teeters said they didn't want to hire anyone with any less experience than their 9-year-old daughter. They sifted through plenty of applications to find the few employees they have and to make sure they were all properly certified.
They'll be hosting an open house at the new location, 1811 E. Baseline Road in Tempe, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with different vendors and events for pets and their owners. They're also open for tours at any time.
"For me, it's about being able to provide safe places for their pets to go," Tammy said. "The customers just kept wanting more and we just kept saying, well we can do that and we can do that. Now, we have 780 customers that were excited for this so that moves over with us. It's just time to expand. To be so well received is just wonderful. We wouldn't be here without all those people who helped us start."
For more information on Wiggles & Wags, visit wigglesandwagsboarding.com.
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