by Sheila Julson

As Americans develop closer relationships with their pets, with that comes a growing awareness of providing high-quality food and wellness products for their furry friends. Aquila Brown, who owns The Yuppy Puppy with her husband, Gavin, was inspired to start her own self-serve dog wash and pet store when her dog, DuraMax, experienced food allergies, bladder issues and skin problems.

In October 2006, the Browns opened The Yuppy Puppy’s first location in north Spokane, and the business grew to offer five self-serve dog wash stations, a doggie day care, professional grooming, and a retail component. In February, they opened a second location downtown, with 1,900 square feet of retail space, a 1,000 square foot grooming area in the lower level, and two self-serve dog wash stations.

The Yuppy Puppy carries high-quality food, treats, toys and accessories for dogs and cats. “You won’t find anything in our stores that we wouldn’t feed our own pets,” Aquila says. All pet foods found on The Yuppy Puppy’s shelves are free from corn, wheat, soy and byproducts. They don’t carry any consumable products made in China.

“We have personal relationships with these pet food companies. We know their reps and have visited their facilities,” Aquila adds. Brands include NutriSource, First Mate—a small Canadian company with its own canning and kibble facility—and Farmina, out of Italy. The Yuppy Puppy also has a large selection of raw, frozen, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.

In addition, The Yuppy Puppy offers a buyback guarantee on all food. “If your pet hates it, we will take it back and you can try something different, so you’re never out any money,” Aquila says. Returned food is donated to the Spokane Humane Society to distribute to pet owners in need.

Pet parents can also find nutritional supplements and CBD oil for pets, as well as bone broth, popular for its anti-inflammatory and digestive properties. In addition to self-serve dog wash stations, The Yuppy Puppy also offers professional grooming, and a doggie day care at the north side location.

An educational component is key to the store’s service. All employees participate in monthly food training and sales programs so they can properly address all customers’ needs. The Yuppy Puppy has a smoke-free and drug-free work policy.

“Our staff is outgoing and laid back,” Aquila says. “We have fun and there’s no high-pressure. All the choices can overwhelm people, but if you’re making an effort to educate yourself about nutrition, you’re doing right by your pet, period.”

Yuppy Puppy also partners with area animal welfare organizations such as the Spokane Humane Society and Murci’s Mission for adoption events and donation drives.

Yuppy Puppy is located at 9511 N. Newport Ave., Spokane, and 830 W. Sprague Ave., Spokane. For more information, call 509-467-8221 or visit YuppyPuppySpokane.com. See ad, back cover.

Stay tuned for Pet Spotlights for Pawpular Companions in April, and Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile in May.

Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.