DOG ABOUT TOWN
Riley Mosteller, all of seven years old, has
been a fan of Happy Dog Café, Boutique
and Spa since puppyhood.
Happy Dog Café, Boutique and Spa
is a favored destination during the golden retriever’s daily romps around downtown Belmont, N.C., with owner Tonia
If a translation program for dog-speak
existed, Riley likely would express his en-
thusiasm in this way: “I love our walks,
and we often pop in at Happy Dog. Mom
always says she has to ‘mop the floor’ to get
me out of there, and why not? Teresa, Brian
and the staff treat me like family. I am al-
ways welcomed with open arms.”
Further, Riley loves to romp with his
buddies in the store’s day care facilities.
There’s nothing better, in his mind, than a
stroll to the park with his canine gang.
“We play, wrestle and bark,” he’d say.
One day, while taking part in an er-rand-running outing with Tonia, the family
car passed his day care posse on its way to
a park outing. He whined, attempting to
convey his dismay at missing the fun. Instead, he and Mosteller arrived back home,
where Riley plopped down on the deck of
his fenced backyard, pulling a long face.
“I wanted to be with my mates,” Riley
might say. “I tried to explain my feelings
to Midnight, my cat, but felines don’t un-
derstand a dog’s need to frisk with a pack
However, Riley is a clever dog. As soon
as his “mom” left once more, and the coast
was clear, he lifted the gate latch and struck
out on a mission to join his furry cohorts.
“Of course, I know the way to Happy
Dog; it’s only a mile. What’s the big deal?”
he’d add. “When I arrived, Teresa, Brian
and the whole staff were thrilled to see me,
although they did seem a bit perplexed.”
In the meantime, Mosteller received an
anxious call from her son, Zach.
“When Zach opened the door to let Riley
in, he was gone,” she says. “We panicked,
but soon heard from Teresa at Happy Dog,
saying that Riley had found his way there.”
Relieved that the family’s beloved pet
was safe, Mosteller says she shares Riley’s
enthusiasm for Happy Dog.
“We have been shopping for Riley’s
food, toys and treats at Happy Dog since
he was a puppy,” she says. “He loves their
freshly baked goodies. We spoil him quite
Besides frisking with his pals in day
care, Riley luxuriates in his Happy Dog
“Riley enjoys his ‘spa days,’ as we call
them,” Mosteller says. “All of his grooming
needs happen at Happy Dog.”
Beyond Riley’s enthusiasm for Hap-
py Dog, Mosteller says it’s the superior
customer service and love of animals that
keeps the pair coming back.
“Brian, Teresa and the entire staff are
just phenomenal; they are more like family
members and have such a passion for ani-
mals,” she says. “It’s the welcome feeling,
the kindness, the overall charm of the store.
The entire team is knowledgeable, helpful
She notes the Happy Dog community
environment as another plus.
“You get to know other pet families and
their fur babies,” she says. “There is tru-
ly the feeling of a large, extended family.
I can’t speak highly enough of the overall
customer service experience, from the mo-
ment Riley and I enter the door, we are
greeted and embraced.”
“They are flooded with information and education,” Anderson
While the day care facilities are not visible from the sales floor,
visitors are always welcome to view the goings on through the
closed-circuit television system.
“There are 15 cameras throughout the store, and they are focused
on grooming and day care,” Anderson says.
A balanced, healthy lifestyle is the goal when puppy, adolescent
and adult dogs converge with their owners to take part in the Commander in Leash training classes, taught in-store on a regular basis
by an advanced master dog trainer and educator. In addition, dog
owners desiring one-on-one lessons take advantage of private, in-home services.
Because of the popularity of the program, two classes run concurrently at a given time.
SIT A SPELL
With education and pet-care support an ongoing effort, manufacturer vendors are often on hand to impart knowledge and samples
during demo days and special events.
“Our main emphasis is consumer education,” Anderson says.
In that regard, educational and promotional efforts are often
month-long undertakings, such as Dental Month or Raw Food
Month.“For example, during Dental Month, we offer a 15 percent discount on dental products or services,” he says. “For Raw
Month, we will have vendors on hand to provide free samples and
Raising awareness for the plight of homeless pets is another focus
during these month-long events.
For example, Adopt-A-Senior Month stressed the adoption of
elderly animals. Black Pet Adoption Month spotlighted “black dog
syndrome,” or BDS, a phenomenon in which black dogs, or cats,
are passed over for adoption in favor of lighter-colored animals. A
fundraising component for each event benefited the local shelter,
Gaston County Animal Control.
“We used the same format for each event, an idea we got from
Stella & Chewy’s,” he says.
Fundraisers for the local shelter take place throughout the year.
For example, Happy Dog Café’s Photos with Santa finds pet owners
and their animal companions posing for a cause.
Out in the community, Happy Dog Café is often a presence at
local dog parks, offering some of that good old southern hospitality.
“What better way for us to get involved in the community than
to show up at a dog park on a hot day and put on a doggie ice cream
social?” he says. “People love that.”
“What better way for us to get involved in the community than to show up at a dog park
on a hot day and put on a doggie ice cream social? People love that.”
The day care facilities are inside of the store but are not visible to pet
owners. However, cameras offer an inside view to owners.
Sarah Chapman serves as Happy Dog Café’s
groomer/day care coordinator.
The staff embraces southern hospitality, and each
customer—canine or human—is cheerfully greeted.