Carmel Valley's Dirty Dogs gets pets squeaky clean

There's a new salon in Carmel Valley offering blueberry facials for first-time customers. If you want the facial, however, you'll need to be extremely furry and have four legs.

Carmel Valley residents Salomon and Regina Btesh have opened Dirty Dogs, a grooming salon and earth-friendly pet product store in Torrey Highlands Shopping Center. They offer pet bathing and grooming as well as toys, pet accessories and all-natural food and treats. The blueberry facials, made by downtown San Diego company South Bark, create a relaxing experience for pets who may be a little skittish about getting wet.

Dirty Dogs opened up their doors on June 20 for what they thought would be a soft opening.

"We got bombarded," said Salomon.

Even before the store opened people were coming by to thank them for adding such a service to the community. One neighbor has even taken to stopping by every morning as she walks her dog to say hello.

"It's such a great feeling," said Regina. "It's such a great way to open a business."

Regina is an interior designer with her own company, Details by Regina. Her husband Salomon is a general contractor. The two skill sets came very much in handy in creating their new space; a fabulously styled and nicely built pet salon.

Both are total animal lovers, being the loving parents of friendly 9-year-old Labrador named Moe. In addition to Moe, they also have three kids of their own: Elias, Nisha and Joel.

Twelve-year-old Joel was actually the one who came up with the idea for them to open up a dog wash. Not wanting to stifle his creativity, Salomon encouraged the conversation, which only continued over the dinner table. Soon, mom and dad started taking Joel's idea seriously, after all they did know Torrey Highlands Shopping Center owner Gary Levitt.

Levitt told them to come up with a business plan and they were off.

"It became a vision," said Regina. "We started doing our homework."

Homework meant not only research but visiting shops all over San Diego and even a trip to Seattle. Everywhere they went they gathered ideas for what they thought worked well. They decided on creating a one-stop shop for pet owners, their original plan even included offering veterinary services as well but the space was not zoned for the use.

They have hired on a very knowledgeable staff and their groomer, Linda Church, has 10 years of experience to work with. Additionally they plan to have informative vet visits and have paired with trainer Dawnette Meredith, known as "the Carmel Valley dog whisperer," to offer training sessions at the shop.

Regina has said that she wants Dirty Dogs to be a great experience for customers and it really is once you step inside the decked-out shop. Walls are painted oranges and greens, there's bamboo details and bone-shaped chalkboards tout specials and prices.

The five, elevated river rock coated tiles have an earthy look and are large enough to comfortably fit a lab like Moe. There is also a lower tub for heavier breeds. Full-service scrub, brushing and drying is on the service menu but owners can also opt to wash their own pet.

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