Dogs, owners say Temple spa is well worth the wags
DAVID STONE | OUR TOWN TEMPLE
How about a sprinkle-covered donut while getting that long overdue pedicure? Perhaps a hair treatment with some of the finest shampoo made in fashion-conscious New York City? Or maybe that blueberry facial you’ve heard so much about?
If this sounds like a relaxing day at the spa, it is. But there’s a twist — the customers are dogs, and they are groomed and pampered like guests at a fine resort.
Welcome to Mobi Dog, a combination grooming salon, accessories shoppe and barkery that treats dogs like royalty.
“We treat all dogs like they are our own,” said Brandi Reese, owner of Mobi Dog Pet Salon & Spa. “We provide a fun environment for both dogs and their owners.”
It’s easy to spot the repeat Mobi Dog customers — their tails begin to wag even before the front door is opened. Inside they are greeted with smells from the barkery, which is like a bakery but the treats are for dogs.
“I’ve converted my home kitchen into a dog-treat bakery,” Reese said. “I use the best ingredients, and everything is wheat, corn, soy and grain free. I shop at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods, and I use human-grade ingredients. People can eat my dog treats — they just aren’t very sweet, but dogs love them.”
Reese cooks custom birthday cakes with a choice of flavors and toppings, and the birthday pup’s name decorates the top. She also bakes pupcakes and homemade chicken jerky.
“I use pumpkin, blueberries, cheese, bacon and peanut butter,” she said. “Even if a dog has food allergies or a sensitive stomach, we have treats they can enjoy.”
Reese has a little help to determine if a baked item has reached perfection — she has four dogs, four cats and a chicken.
“The dogs are my testers,” she said, grinning. “I have a Yorkie, a chihuahua and two miniature schnauzers.”
“We sell a lot of dog treats — some we make, some we order from other small businesses. Everything we sell is made in America by small businesses. Our dog collars are made by Vintage Designs, a company owned by two California sisters who make collars by hand.”
“All of our bones and chews come from a farm in Spring, Texas. Ingredients in our products are healthy, safe and organic.”
Reese has been grooming dogs since 2003, and she got her start in the suburbs of Chicago.
“I graduated from a dog-grooming academy and started a mobile grooming business on the west side,” she said. “Chicago was a big market for mobile grooming, but I moved back to Texas — I was an Army brat and moved around — and mobile grooming wasn’t big here. So, I decided to start a shop.”
Mobi Dog operated in Belton for years and built a large following, but a year ago Reese became ill.
“My shop was in an old house and it turned out to be full of black mold,” she said. “I got really sick, then moved to Temple. I love it here — good things often come out of bad situations. My clients in Temple have been very supportive.”
Unfortunately, not all of her Belton clients are making the drive to the new location. Reese said it has almost been like starting over.
“We lost some business with the move, but it’s building back up,” she said. “We have five groomers, and on a good day we groom about 10 dogs each — that’s the goal, anyway. One of the groomers, Logan, doubles as our dog washer. He gets to lift the big dogs, and he’s training to be a stylist.”
While Logan may be in training, the rest of the crew has a great deal of experience, she said.
“We are all certified and trained as stylists, and certified in canine CPR,” she said. “We offer packages that include bathing and blow drying, coat conditionings and facials. We also offer nail and ear care, and the shampoo we use is made by Les Pooch of New York. It costs about $80 a gallon — we don’t use cheap stuff. It is good for their coats and is long lasting. It also smells really good.”
“Every customer gets their photo taken and leaves with an accessory — a bow, bandana or tie,” Reese said. “It really is a happy place.”