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Splish! Splash! 
I was taking a bath.
    It's that time of year again, snow, mud and slush.   Each time I drive through a puddle and the mud splats against my windshield, I give thanks for the automatic car wash.  You see, if it was 87 years earlier I wouldn't have the chance to take my buggy to a machine that will wash, wax and dry my vehicle without me leaving the comfort of my car.  Don't you wish everything in life was this simple?
     The first concept of an assembly line vehicle wash system was developed in the Detroit area in 1914. It was called "The Automobile Laundry" and used manpower to push vehicles from one wash station to the next in a circular fashion. By 1928, a drive-through type tunnel with a man-powered chain conveyor moved the automobiles through the carwash, and carwash automation was born.    By 1945, there were approximately 32 drive-through carwashes nationwide and today, according to the International Car Wash Association there are approximately 22,000 car washes in the United States and Canada providing approximately 350,000 jobs in the United States alone. 
     So for those of you who enjoy the Pet Love Shack, you are probably wondering what this has to do with pets? 
     Well, the first automatic pet washing machine has finally been invented.  Yes. It has been recently reported that two Spanish entrepreneurs have invented a side-loading automatic pet washing machine, called a LavakanThe inventors claim it is safer and less stressful for the animals than washing them by hand.
      I know some of you, like me love dropping Fido and Fluffy off at the groomers.  But groomers aren't opened twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and on those occasions when your furry friend at midnight, encounters Mr. skunk I think an automatic pet washing machine would be rather appealing.
     The co-inventors of this invention, Eduardo Segura and Andrés Diaz, came up with an industrial strength washing machine that soaps, rinses and dries dogs and cats in less than half an hour. And the best part is that us humans don't have to take a bath along with them!
   The Lavakan, which roughly translates to "dog washer," resembles a big industrial washing machine standing about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. 
     Operators use the Lavakan's touch panel to choose the best wash cycle for the animal's size and dermatological needs. Pesticide soaps, for example, require an extended wait period to kill fleas and ticks. 
    Groomers and anxious owners can look through a large glass door as their pets get squirted by sudsy water in the machine's metallic, lighted chamber. 
     The inventors insist the Lavakan actually reduces stress on pets by "The machine uses hydro-massage to lower stress and increase circulation, without removing its natural coating.  The inventors also claim that once a cat is wet they instinctively sit and lay down, "It's much better than having a cat attach itself to your face, which is what can happen when you try to wash one by hand." 
    The machines are well ventilated and uses no heat to dry the animal. And since dogs and cats are highly sensitive to heat stroke, two internal electronic sensors monitor the temperature of the machine's water and air, causing the Lavakan to shut down if it gets too hot or cold. 
    Because of the $20,000 price or $500 a month lease option, it could be a while before Lavakans appear as an optional household appliance.
     I wonder just how many "pet washing machines" will be available 87 years from now? 
     Could they someday be as popular as the carwash?
     In the Americas, nearly 90 Lavakan units have been sold to groomers and pet stores in the United States, Chile, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Guatemala. 
     Guess where half of them are headed? 
       You guessed it, The United States! 

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