The Dog Wash in Wilmette keeps them cute and clean
Sara Carlson, a groomer at The Dog Wash, works on Toby at the shop July 19. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
The Dog Wash
Location: 340 Linden Avenue, Wilmette
Specialties: Pet grooming and upscale pet salon services
Updated: August 27, 2012 6:08AM
WILMETTE — From upscale salon services like doggie facials and custom haircuts to standard grooming and nail
trimming for cats and dogs, The Dog Wash in Wilmette has been sprucing up North Shore-area pets for
more than three decades.
Owner Karen Thompson started working for The Dog Wash, a grooming salon and boutique, as a pet groomer in 1993, and bought the Wilmette business from the previous owner seven years later.
Thompson lives and breathes canines, and started her career as a pet groomer at an early age when she took a job at an animal shelter grooming dogs and cats when she was 16 years old.
And although she now owns the business, she has no qualms about getting her hands dirty, spending nine-hour days grooming pets along with her 12 employees.
Outside of running The Dog Wash, Thompson breeds Pugs and Doberman Pinchers, and three of her pugs have won awards for “best in show” at international dog shows. She has also bred 21 American champion pugs.
“I’ve been a dog lover all my life, and grooming was just a calling for me,” Thompson said. “I feel veryfortunate to be making a living doing something I love.”
Risa Rosenthal, a customer of The Dog Wash, met Thompson three years ago when she was looking to adopt a Pug to keep her company during her retirement years.
Rosenthal had been battling multiple sclerosis for many years and her disease had forced her into early retirement.
Her search for dog breeders led her to Thompson, who happened to have a 10-week-old pug ready to be
When Thompson introduced Rosenthal to the one-eyed Winki the Pug, it was love at first sight.
Knowing that Rosenthal had limited income because she was on disability payments, Thompson offered to let Rosenthal take Winki home at no cost.
“She could have charged thousands for this dog, but she gave him to me,” Rosenthal said. “He’s the sweetest, kindest gift I’ve ever had.”
For the past three years Winki and Rosenthal have been living happily together in their home in Schaumburg. The pair goes everywhere together, from running errands to visiting with friends.
“You can imagine me walking around town with my cane and walking Winki with his one eye on a leash—it’s quite a sight,” Rosenthal said. “He has made me calmer and happier, which has helped alleviate the pain from my MS.”
Rosenthal and Thompson have remained close friends since she adopted Winki, and Thompson continues to help Rosenthal by paying for Winki’s medical bills and covering the costs of his food and supplies.
A humanitarian and businesswomen, Thompson’s kindness and dedication to her business have helped The Dog Wash remain a staple in Wilmette community over the years.
“I think we’ve been successful because we’re established here, and we’re fortunate to have such great clientele who keep coming back to us,” Thompson said.
Aside from standard grooming services like bathing, nail clipping, styling, de-matting and teeth brushing, pampered pets can also get a little extra luxury with blueberry facials and aromatherapy baths.
The blueberry dog facial is a bubbling and scrubbing facial that removes eye stains and dirt, leaving the pup’s face fresh and clean, Thompson said.
The Dog Wash is located at 340 Linden Ave. To make an appointment, call 847-256-8440. More information is available at www.thedogwash-wilmette.com.