We are happy to spotlight Apha Dogs, previously “Modern Dog” The New owners of Alpha Dog Jamie Higgins and Alex MacMillan have over 10 years of experience in the field, ranging from working in kennels at the Neponset Animals (where they both met) to working as groomers at other pet grooming shops, including Modern Dog, (more on them later)
They rebranded formally modern dogs in 2021 and officially reopened as Alpha Dogs in September. They have kept all of the past staff that includes groomers with well over 20 years of experience grooming pets in Ashmont, including a groomer that trained both Alex & Jamie over 10 years ago at the Neponset Animal Hospital and showed them the ropes with basic grooming services & know works with Alex and Jamie. They both worked closely with the previous owner Charles J Maneikis who taught them how to handle all of the back of shop work and served as a role model and is someone that they look up to.
In their years of experience they have seen what works and what does not work. With that knowledge they completely revamped the previous design of Modern Dog, they moved the grooming tables out into the open, so when you walk into the shop you can see the work being done on the dogs & in some cases can see if your dog is well behaved. They have also moved the bathing station & drying area to the front of the shop, The whole process is no longer hidden behind the scenes.
In some other shops dogs would wait in small caged cubbies that are confined and cramped, At alpha dogs they offer larger cubbies that are not caged, these bigger cubbies allot dogs to move about, stand and stretch the bigger dogs that come into the shop are given proper mats and beds that are completely open and allow your dog to rest comfortably.
They have literally thought of everything, even replacing the tile floors with hardwood floors and carpeting, so that when the pets arrive they don’t automatically think they are at the vet, it creates an atmosphere similar to one’s home, which adds to your pets feeling more at ease and comfortable with the grooming experience.
Alpha Dogs are not the typical groomers, they are a high end Boutique that offers services and cuts that not many if any other local shops offer. They offer creative grooming and hair dying. Alpha dogs offer a particular service that typically is only available for show dogs called “hand stripping” which essentially is where they physically pluck each hair. It takes more of an understanding of the craft to do properly and Alex who was trained by the best in the field.
Jamie does the hair dying personally, she uses plant and fruit based hair dye that is cruelty free and safe for humans and animals. Jamie is one of the only groomers in the area to offer this service and her track record proves she is at the top of her field, She placed 3rd out of 40,000 constants in the Creative Groom Contest (OPAWS freestyle) hosted by 0 OPAWS, for her submission of a “baby cheetah” which was really her mothers dogs that she made out to look exactly like a baby cheetah. This great accomplishment is what led Alpha Dogs to open a shop that offered these services.
Alpha Dogs are full service groomers, they groom all pets, including cats, reptiles, birds and pretty much any pet you can think of “ except fish”. Alpha Dogs is mainly appointment based; however if you just want a quick nail clipping they do expect walk-in customers, typically after 2:30pm. At alpha they welcome dogs who are deemed to be too aggressive to be seen at the larger chains. They have the patience and the alpha mentality that allows them to work with aggressive dogs.
Each dog is catered too, they take their time and make sure that every pet that comes through their shop is receiving not only the best haircut possible, but that it’s as stress free as possible. Since they are appointment based, it allows them to essentially game plan a tailored experience for your pet, if they don’t like one groomer then they can have some else help them.
For Christmas Eve Alpha Dogs is offering customers 10% of grooming services if they bring in their pets in a Christmas get up. They are also planning on hosting a cookout on Dorchester Day this year where they will be raffling off items and gift certificates as well as allowing customers to come into the shop for a DIY pet wash where their trained staff will help teach the best practices to bath your pets at home.
More about the owners:
Allow us to introduce you to Alex MacMillan & Jamie Higgins, the New Owners of Alpha Dogs, previously known as Modern Dog. Alex & Jamie’s story is one that we have been excited to share, since our initial sit down. Both Alex & Jamie have loved and had a passion for working with animals from a young age. They both Grew up with dogs, loving dogs and taking care of them. Jamie jokingly added that “They were both raised by dogs”
This shared passion and love of animals led them both to work at the Neponset animal hospital. They both began working at the hospital at the same time, literally getting hired a week apart from each other in 2016. Grew up with dogs, loving dogs and taking care of them. They were both raised by dogs. It was at Neponset animal hospital where Alex and Jamie were trained in every aspect of grooming work, from learning how to deal with aggressive pets, to learning how to clip nails properly. They quickly rose up the ranks and became full time groomers. As their skills and knowledge of the work grew, so did their ambitions. Jamie would go on to work at a shop in Quincy and Alex would go on to work for Modern Dog working directly with the previous shop owner Charles Manikies, Alex developed a strong connection with Charles and with his help learned alot about what it takes to run a shop. When it was time for Alex to move on to another opportunity that would allow him to operate in more of a managerial role he recommended that Charles Hire Jamie to Replace him.
Charles was immediately impressed by Jamie’s work ethic, deciaction, passion and table side demeanor and hired Jamie, While Alex was working in West Roxbury earning the Moniker “Schonser King” Jamie was getting first hand experience running a shop, Charles entrusted Jamie to do both the front end work as well as the back end work. Jamie added ” working for a modern dog was the first job I had where I would wake up happy to go to work” As far as role models goes, Charles “ was a boss that cared more about the business than the money and encouraged his staff to grow and achieve bigger and better things. As small business owners Alex and Jamie do their best to empower their staff to think outside of the box and provide a service that is tailored to each pet that comes into the shop.
After some time passed Alex and Jamie reconnected and rekindled their love. They started to discuss the idea of opening a shop together, around the same time Charles began to explore selling the shop. One day Charles asked Jamie if she and Alex would be interested in buying the shop from him. Jamie called Alex and they both agreed that it was the right time for them to make the big leap, after all they were both already running their respective shops, doing the front and back end work.
They added that “Working as a couple can be challenging at times, but thankfully for them
It has been easier than they expected because they are on the same page and want the same things for the business. They are both dedicated, driven, passionate and motivated people that provid there 2 and 4 legged customers with the best experience possible, When customers walks out of the door they leave happy because they know that their pets are catered too.
Alex grew up all over boston, spending time in watertown, more of the gipsy. Malden, Cambridge, Belmont, Fenway before buying a home in Dorchester where he and Jamie reside. Alex credits his Omah (dutch for grandmother) for instilling in him his drive to become a business owner. She owned her own transportation business and would always tell Alex “ whatever you do, own it. I don’t care what you do, just own it”
Jamie born and raised in Dorchester, she spent 6 years on Centre st, then moved to Victory Road, the armory was her backyard, she would go on to attend the murphey school and Fenway High before moving on to codman square. As a child Jamie grew up playing youth hockey in Dorchester and was on a team that won states. Her family has seen how the community has grown and is happy to be a part of the development and continually try to help in any way they could.
Jamie and Alex have made gift baskets for local charities including the Carl’s Hosey Fighting Henchmen helping hands foundation as well as for veterans fighting PTSD. They have also worked with (STAR) Survivor, Tails & Animal Rescue which works with foster dogs. Alpha dogs has offered free grooming to dogs who are extra matted. Or considered to be aggressive dogs. At Alpha dogs they strive to treat everyone as equals and provide their customers with the best experience possible, you can trust that with Jamie & Alex your pet is in good hands.