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Let The Machine Wash Your Pet

We're used to washing machines for laundry, dirty dishes, and cars. But a washing machine for pets?

Dog owner Josh Starer says with a laugh, "Yes. It's today's instant society. We want our fast food, we want our dogs washed fast and we don't want to do it."

And so he puts Boomer in the "Pet Spa." As the spray hits from the top, bottom and all three sides, Boomer settles in for a good cleaning.

The Early Show National Correspondent Hattie Kauffman has the complete report.

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Asked what he hears customers say when the Pet Spa owner asks them if they want to have a spa, Starer says, "Some people wouldn't dream of letting the machine do the work. And on the other hand of the spectrum, people couldn't be happier to put their dog or cat in the machine, start the process and then run across the street for coffee."

But some owners find it tough to relax as they watch their pets disappear in the spray.

Starer says, "I was very anxious, incredible anxiety, actually. My dogs are my life."

Located at Belmont Pets in Long Beach, Calif., the Pet Spa is attracting a lot of attention. Dog owners bringing their pets in for traditional grooming can't wait to take a peek at the new machine.

Dog owner Anna Finley says, "This is like teaching an old dog new tricks."

Teri Bays, also a dog owner, adds, "I can't believe it; it's like you always hear stories: don't put your you kids in the washer, and those little jokes that they make. But it is like one of those front-open washers."

Animal behaviorists, veterinarians and engineers designed the Pet Spa with the safety and well being of the pets in mind. Water and air temperatures are computer-controlled.

Pet Spa owner Eric Hatch says nothing bad has happened inside the Pet Spa since it arrived at the Belmont Pets. "We've never had to stop the machine and take an animal out because they were too stressed out or unable to cope," he says.

Anyone knows grooming a cat isn't easy. Cat owner Matt Guy knows it firsthand, having tried to wash and dry Oliver. He says, "He'll run straight from the shower to under the bed and it's impossible. You have to move the bed, and he gets all the lint from under the bed, 'cause you can't sweep under the bed."

But once in the Pet Spa, Oliver disappears from view. Being in box at 90 degrees is probably uncomfortable for his cat, Guy says, "But they call it a spa, it can't be that bad. I would go in. I would never make Oliver do something that I wouldn't do myself."

To demonstrate the spa's safety, owner Eric Hatch took the plunge.

"It's awesome!" Hatch says laughing once he gets out the machine. "Warm water from all directions. It's a gentle spray. It feels good."

It costs from $12 -$15 per wash, which is about half of what you'd pay a professional to bathe a large dog. According to Stinky's owner, it seems to do the job.

As she peeks under her little dog's tail, Lynda Montgomery says, "It looks good. We'll check for the hidden treasure, it's gone."

So what other kinds of pets are capable of riding in the pet spa? Hatch says, "I had somebody ask, 'Could you wash my pot-bellied pig in there?' And I suppose if the pig wasn't too large, it could be bathed in the pet spa as well."

If you're the kind of pet owner who just has to have one of these machines for yourself, they cost $25,000.

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