The Wagly business concept aims to provide pet owners
comprehensive services in one convenient package.
BY ELLYCE ROTHROCK
Shane Kelly and Alexander Petersen set out o achieve what seemed an elementary yet daunting goal—to simplify ownership for
pet owners by combining everything from veterinary and hospital services to training and fitness
to grooming and boarding and more into one
Enter Wagly, a fully integrated pet service operation founded by Petersen in October 2014, which has
campuses in the Seattle and Orange County, Calif.,
areas, and soon will open in the Bay Area and points
beyond. When Kelly joined Petersen in April 2015 as
CEO, he already was a certified pet industry veteran,
having served as CEO of Pet’s Choice, a Bellevue,
Wash.-based 60-location animal hospital, and CEO
of Best Friends Acquisition, parent company of Best
Friends Pet Care, which has 38 pet care service centers and 15 veterinary hospitals across the U.S.
Today, Craig Susen, formerly the chief technical officer of Trupanion
pet insurance provider and
Wagly’s COO, and Peter
Brown, DVM, Wagly’s chief
veterinary officer, are carrying on with the mission.
“Our focus is to always
do what is best for [own-
ers’] pets,” Dr. Brown said.
“Wagly aims to disrupt the
pet care services industry
by targeting the fast-grow-
ing ‘pet parent’ segment
that lives an active family
lifestyle. Pet lovers are con-
sumed with their pet’s hap-
piness and wellness, and
seek a brand they can trust
that offers the expert knowl-
edge that fulfills all of their
All of which are good
reasons pet needs should
not be segmented, Brown
“What is best for the pet is to have all services
working together synergistically,” he said. “An ex-
ample of this is that boarding pets need to be med-
ically monitored to improve the quality of their
experience. All of our services are supervised by
Wagly’s brick-and-mortar design features a
central lobby that connects all its services with
visuals that showcase the hospital, day care and
grooming spaces, which are present in all facili-
ties. Services offered on site include day care, over-
night boarding with luxury and standard suites,
grooming, training, socialization, group classes
and individual training. A small retail area serves
customers’ immediate needs. All Wagly campuses
include a full-service veterinary hospital.
Establishing an operation like Wagly isn’t exactly easy going.
“Creating a new startup business without acqui-
sition certainly adds challenges,” Brown said. “Our
strategy for marketing is a combination of com-
munity exposure, being the
local pet care authority and
digital. Pet parents’ bond to
their current pet care provid-
er is often very strong, and
it’s critical that our main
differentiator is that we are
experts in the field.”
Wagly will concentrate
on three markets for the
next 18 months—Seattle
and Northern and Southern
California—and plans to ex-
pand east in 2019.
The main focus for
Wagly, though, is what’s
best for pets.
“What makes your pet
happy?” Brown asked.
“Physical health, mental
stability and a purpose in
life all contribute to happiness. Wagly is a place that
brings happiness to your
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