MAN’s best friend can be treated like a prince at a boutique selling cakes, popcorn and beer for dogs.
Wags & Whiskers, which recently opened in Stockton is attracting customers from as far afield as Newcastle and Leeds to its pet shop with a difference.
Freshly baked scones and cupcakes are on offer in its ‘Pawtisserie’ alongside canine-friendly icecream and tea bags which, owner Carl Shepherdson insisted, were nutritious and had proven health benefits.
After previously travelling to London to stock-up on high-end treats for his pampered pooch, Maggie the Yorkshire Terrier, the 26-year-old from Stockton decided to set up his own shop on the doorstep.
After successfully test-trading his business in Stockton Borough Council’s Enterprise Arcade, he moved last month into his own town-centre unit on Dovecot Street, catering for every breed and every size of hound from Great Dane to Chihuahua.
“I have always been a bit dog mad so opening my own boutique is a dream come true,” explained Mr Shepherdson who has hung an indicative sign on the front door with the slogan ‘Dogs welcome, people tolerated’.
“I had a nutritionist in the shop last week speaking to customers and there were surprised that by changing to better quality foods it can really improve their dogs’ health.
Popular items at the shop, which also sells a small range of cat accessories include personalised collars, dog cake-mix kits and prams which are designed for animals with mobility problems.
Brands include Pet Head, Lily's Kitchen, Billy & Margot and BecoThings.
The dog who sups Barker’s Brew (a non-alcoholic beef flavoured syrup poured onto dry dog food) , might also use Ted Barker’s cologne, be massaged with oatmeal paw butter and stretch out on a bed by designer label, Joules.
“Some people spend more on their dogs than they do on their kids and some really do think of their dogs as children. One lady spent £120 having a retractable dog lead covered in Swarovski crystals. I haven’t really gone down the dog clothes route as I want everything to be practical.”
Owners eager for their pets’ accessories to be as stylish as their own can buy strawberry covered bowls for a shabby-chic look or mock wood panelling for a more minimalist decor. After requests from customers, Mr Shepherdson is planning to stock leather-effect sofas for dogs this Christmas which can cost hundreds of pounds.
“Dogs are a big part of people’s families so I want to ensure they have the very best,” he added.