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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Calling All Dirty Dogs: This One-Stop Shop Caters to Four-Legged Friends

Jul 28, 2011 09:34AM ● By Debra Novak

Most guardians of bath-averse canines have learned from bathtub wrestling experiences that their furry friends would rather skip sudsy moments. Whether due to a lack of time or patience for grooming or a bad back, many individuals with frisky, puddle-playing pups and knotted mutts look to businesses such as Dirty Dogs for do-it-yourself tubs for bathing Fido.

Elias Btesh, store manager for the Dirty Dogs’ Carmel Valley and Cardiff locations, was attending school in Santa Barbara and working as a lifeguard in 2008 when his dad called and asked him to help out. “We’d only been open in Carmel Valley for four months, and our five tubs were already in constant use,” says Elias, who assumed the management responsibility to help grow his family’s thriving business. “My brother Joel had the idea for this business when he was only 12 years old. He’s 15 now, and helps out when he can.”

Joel’s brainstorm for a dog wash in Carmel Valley evolved from his initial concept of do-it-yourself grooming to include one-of-a-kind, cage-free grooming by experienced in-house groomers. Grooming is now only one aspect of a storefront that also sells natural grooming products, as well as natural dog and cat food, treats, supplements, toys and gear. “We are unique because we offer a one-stop shopping experience with all these concepts, not just one,” says Elias, who emphasizes that all products are high quality, natural, and made only in the United States or Canada.

The growing popularity of cage-free grooming appointments, which typically take 90 minutes, has led to another store expansion. “Our 1,400-square-foot Cardiff store, which only opened in 2010, is adding another 700 square feet in order to offer a larger selection of products that our four-legged friends can enjoy ,” enthuses Elias, who proudly points out that the company employs 22 people from nearby communities. “There is a lot of work involved in training our associates on the 5,000 items in our inventory. However, we want them to be knowledgeable about products, so that they can educate our customers on what’s best for their pets,” he advises.

From the neighborhood kids who can’t resist stopping by to meet the Dirty Dogs official greeter, Simon, Elias’s loveable Chihuahua sidekick, to the 85-year-old who drops off a pup for a quick bath, all ages enjoy the fun and colorful stores that offer something for every pet lover. Elias believes that the niche Dirty Dogs has carved out will continue to grow, and says the proof is in his customers’ response. “Everyone who comes here says the same thing: ‘I’ve never been to a fun pet store like this one,’” states Elias. “And that’s exactly what we intended.”

Locations: Carmel Valley - 4639 Carmel Mountain Rd., Ste. 101, San Diego 92130; 858-259-3647. Cardiff - 2107 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff 92077; 760-944-3647. Visit

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