Sonny’s Self Wash owner, Mary Kniskern looks on as Wilma Beckmann washes Fozzie, her 165 pound, 2-year-old St. Bernard. (Emily Matthiessen/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sonny’s Self Wash owner, Mary Kniskern looks on as Wilma Beckmann washes Fozzie, her 165 pound, 2-year-old St. Bernard. (Emily Matthiessen/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sonny’s Self Wash is a new place to clean your dog

American Rescue Plan funds help create new business, jobs

SEQUIM — Sonny’s Self Wash’s owner believes in the “whole dog approach.”

“I put a lot of effort into creating a comfortable place for pet parents to wash their dogs,” said Mary Kniskern, who opened Sonny’s Self Wash on Jan. 5 at 680 W. Washington St., Suite B-101, as an extension of her full-service grooming business, Sonny’s Spaw, at 440 W. Bell St.

“It’s about the well-being of the animals for me,” she said.

Money from the American Rescue Plan was used to lease the unit, fix it up and open it. Kniskern said she was able to create two new well-paying jobs and sees it as her way to put the money back into the community.

The facility — named after one of her two dogs, Sonny, who is 10 years old — features a bath with a ramp in each of three semi-private stalls with doors, so dogs can be leash-free and undistracted.

It also has a fourth room with a back-door entrance.

“It’s a safe place for antisocial dogs,” Kniskern said, explaining that owners can bring their dog in without the pet having contact with anyone else.

In the big dog stall is a stainless steel electric bathtub that can fit dogs up to 200 pounds and lifts with the push of a button, the “Flying Pig 50” Professional Stainless Steel Grooming Bathtub.

Kniskern said the bathtub model is the “creme de la creme” and very useful for the humans involved, as they don’t have to lift or bend to wash their dogs.

All supplies are provided and “there is always someone to show you how,” Kniskern said.

Nail trims are available. All staff are “fear-free certified and pet-tech CPR and first-aid certified,” she said. For information about those certifications, visit pettech.net.

“It’s definitely a needed service,” said Wilma Beckmann, who brought Fozzie, her 165-pound, 2-year-old St. Bernard to Sonny’s Self Wash to prepare him for the Western Washington Cluster Dog Show in Puyallup.

“It’s a nice, new, clean facility with plenty of parking,” Beckmann said.

Beckmann, owner of a mobile dog grooming business, said “this town has been needing this for a long time.”

Beckmann and Kniskern agreed that there is more need for pet care services in the area than there are providers.

Kniskern said she takes a holistic approach to her businesses, considering the emotional life of the dog as well as their hair, skin and nails, and focuses on fostering community connections and offering educational opportunities. The site also hosts drop-off boxes for pet food donations for the Sequim Food Bank.

Information about services and events can be found at www.facebook.com/sonnysspaw. The phone number is 360-477-4810 .

________

Emily Matthiessen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at emily.matthiessen@sequimgazette.com.

Mary Kniskern, owner of Sonny’s Self Wash, plays with her dogs Sonny, in front, and Piper, in her arms. Behind Kniskern are boxes for people to drop off pet food for the Sequim Food Bank. (Emily Matthiessen/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Mary Kniskern, owner of Sonny’s Self Wash, plays with her dogs Sonny, in front, and Piper, in her arms. Behind Kniskern are boxes for people to drop off pet food for the Sequim Food Bank. (Emily Matthiessen/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

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