It’s true: Man’s best friend can come in all shapes in sizes. Whether yours is a dog, cat, fish, small animal or reptile, chances are your goal as an owner remains the same: Keep them happy and healthy.
But that’s not all. Nowadays, pet owners are adding pampering to the list. Gone are the days when Fido is given a plain ’ol garden-variety squeak toy and a plastic food dish. No. He’s got a wardrobe any fashionista would be proud of -- and it may even include a raincoat and matching galoshes. (Fido might even prefer an organic treat, or two.)
This is where comes in. Located on Five Mile Road here in Plymouth, Wags to Wiskers is a veritable headquarters when it comes to all things for your pet. From food, supplies, toys, and bedding, this Plymouth business provides it all -- and more. (They even host animal adoptions and low-cost vaccination clinics.) And here’s the best part: Susan Carpenter, the president of Wags to Wiskers, does it all as a labor of love.
Plymouth Patch: You cannot run a business like this and not absolutely love pets. Take me back to when you first fell in love with an animal…
Susan Carpenter: We’re going to go way back, to the Lassie [television] series…(laughter)…every Sunday night we’d watch that show, and he’d raise that paw, and I just thought he was looking at me, you know? As a child, my mom didn’t want us to have dogs or animals. She wasn’t a big pet lover. So as soon as I was old enough, I got my first collie, and I’ve had collies ever since -- we now have three.
Plymouth Patch: How many total pets do you own now? Just the three collies?
Carpenter: Yup. I think that’s enough (laughing).
Plymouth Patch: So how did Wags to Wiskers come to be?
Carpenter: It’s always been my dream to have a pet supply store and do something to help the animals. I finally got to the point where I thought, Let’s just try to see if I can turn this dream into reality. So, along with my husband and partner, Bryan Cobb, we decided to take our dream and make it real.
Plymouth Patch: When did you open?
Carpenter: We just opened last year, so we’re coming up to our first anniversary this month. August 13 and 14 we’re going to have sales going on and light snacks…on August 13 we’re going to have the Humane Society of Huron Valley here with kitten and dogs up for adoption. (This adoption is held every Saturday from 11am until 1pm through the summer and fall months.) And then on August 14 pet photographer, Jill Andra Young, is coming in to take pictures of owners and their pets for a minimal cost.
Plymouth Patch: I really like that you offer holistic products, and I know what that means for humans…but I’m not sure what all that entails for our furry friends. Tell me about your array of holistic items.
Carpenter: We’re not always able to say that there’s one particular food that will fit every dog, just like people have different needs. So what we try to do is carry a variety of healthy foods that have good meat sources -- vegetables, even fruits -- that are very good for the dogs. We specialize in dogs that might have skin problems. We also carry raw food, which is fabulous for the animals -- cats and dogs. The dog is very closely related to the wolf, which is a carnivore, so an all-meat diet is really a natural diet for them. We even carry a lot of kibble that is grain-free. Some whole grains are okay for the dogs, too. But if there is a problem with a grain allergy, we do carry the grain-free foods, too.
Plymouth Patch: What are your most popular products during the summertime?
Carpenter: We do have life jackets for dogs that are going boating. A lot of people like to go out on the lake, so we like to recommend that they put life jackets on their pets. We also have some beach balls that are actually dog toys. Of course, healthy snacks…in the spring we carry raincoats, also, for the dogs. They really enjoy having their little raincoat on so they don’t get wet.
Plymouth Patch: Do you allow pets to shop in Wags to Wiskers, too?
Carpenter: We actually encourage it! We always ask people to bring their pets in. We’ve had bunnies come in, of course, many, many dogs, and a couple of kittens. That’s always fun. We occasionally have one of our doggies there as a greeter at the door…
Plymouth Patch: I’m sure your dogs love having the opportunity to try out all those wonderful snacks you carry!
Carpenter: Definitely. Particularly when my husband and I are behind the counter waiting on someone. I once saw her [one of the collies] run by with a long link of sausages in her mouth. Luckily our customer was very understanding when I said, “Excuse me, I have to attend to something for a minute…”
Plymouth Patch: Let’s talk a bit more about your animal adoptions and your low-cost vaccination clinic…
Carpenter: We’ve got the low-cost vaccination clinic coming up on August 20 from 11am until 2pm. The shots are $12 each, which is really a great deal -- or three shots for $30, which is even better -- for both dogs and cats. We also do micro-chipping for a nominal fee. This will be our third low-cost clinic this year…
Plymouth Patch: Oh, and one last thing! Your dog training classes…some dog owners might say, “Well, I don’t care if my dog can roll over, play dead, or, say, memorize a dance routine.” But I know that dog training classes offer much more than that. Why should owners consider taking classes at Wags to Wiskers?
Carpenter: It’s not so much about fancy tricks. It’s about getting the dog socialized. It’s such an important part of a dog’s life, to be sociable with people and other dogs. One of the advantages of our classes is that they’re small, there are maybe four or five dogs in one class, so you get a lot of individual attention from our trainer, positive reinforcement, and the owners learn a lot about dog behavior and how to understand maybe what he’s trying to tell you -- and how you can speak to your dog in a language he’ll understand. Might I add, we’ve had young children participate in the training along with their parents. This has really helped the kids gain more confidence with the dog, and have a real understanding of their pets, too.
Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies
44707 Five Mile Rd.
Plymouth, MI 48170