Four-Legged Satisfaction:Tail Wiggles Evokes Tail Wagging
Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography
I don’t think I’ve had a single day in my life when I haven’t had a cat or dog or horse or fish or something. Our family has generations of pet lovers,” said Janet Wiggers, owner of Tail Wiggles, the darling shop she owns with her mother, Karen Cully in the Village at Wexford, where all things related to the care, keeping, and love of dogs and cats can be found.
“Tail Wiggles originally opened in 1998 as a little dog bakery on Palmetto Bay Road that had a couple of retail items,” Wiggers said. “We were longtime customers, and I’d always joked with the owner that if they were ever going to sell to let me know.” Prior to purchasing the shop in 2014, it relocated to Coligny Plaza for several years, and then moved to its current location in the Village at Wexford in 2012. “We have tried to keep the bakery aspect, but expand to more retail.”
In addition to being greeted by Cadee Grace, Cully’s own loveable rescue dog, one of the first things you see when walking into Tail Wiggles is the enormous table in the center of the store with jars of delicious-looking treats. The cookies and biscuits are so beautifully decorated and look so yummy they could be mistaken for human treats, but rather are intended for the enjoyment of four-legged friends. Just one of many locally-made treats and accessories stocked in their shop, the jars are filled with seasonally themed iced goodies, decorated for every holiday: hearts for Valentine’s Day, red-white-and-blue for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, trees and snowflakes for the winter holidays, pumpkins and ghosts in the fall, and even a plaid cookie during Heritage Week.
“People appreciate being able to take home a little of Hilton Head with them, whether it’s in the cookies or in the collars,” Cully said. Local supplier, Beach Biscuit, supplies Tail Wiggles with darling mini-cookie treats in shapes like turtles, dragonflies, and lighthouses. Fresh jerky chews, bones and pig’s ears are produced in Bluffton. Colorful and whimsical leashes, collars, and harnesses are made in Savannah. “We have so many visitors who feel like locals because they visit several times a year. This is one of their stops for their pets every time…and they always gravitate toward the iced cookies.”
One of their best sellers, Big Sweetie Treaties, is made by Grant Cully, president and CEO of the family’s local insurance business, Harbour Health Insurance Solutions, Janet’s dad, and Karen’s husband. Ridged like Ruffles potato chips and dehydrated, they are a preservative-free, sweet potato treat, intended for dogs with allergies. They started making the treats because the family had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who was allergic to literally everything. “My husband likes them with barbecue sauce, and babies teethe on them,” Karen said. “It’s an all-purpose product.”
Tail Wiggles is brimming with treats, toys, collars, harnesses, and leashes, pet beds, grooming and dental products, ear and eye wipes, calming products, bowls, accessories, books, greeting cards, T-shirts, and food, which is where Wigger’s passion for pets shines. Just a few of the food brands they carry include Acana, Orijen, Fromm, Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Balance, Blue Buffalo, Holistic Select, Merrick,Taste of the Wild, Wellness, Stella & Chewy’s, and Weruva. “A lot of the foods I carry, I started carrying because people requested them,” Wiggers said. Before adding new brands, she looks up information about the company itself, the product ingredients and where they are sourced, always checking that everything is sourced and manufactured in the United States or Canada. “I also look up their reviews from Dog Food Advisor and check to see how many recalls they have, and I look into what other people have said about them.” The product knowledge and willingness to do the research and match the food to the pet’s needs is one of the things that sets Tail Wiggles apart.
Not missing an opportunity to benefit animals across the Lowcountry, when checking out at Tail Wiggles there is a tip line on the receipt, just like on a restaurant bill, providing a place where customers can make donations to the local pet-related charity of the month. “One hundred percent goes to one of the local shelters, and it changes every month,” Wiggers said. “Throughout the year we also set up booths at several of the Hilton Head Humane Association events and donate the profits from anything we sell to the charity.” The Tail Wiggles team can also be found at events benefiting Noah’s Arks Rescue and Palmetto Animal League.
In addition to encouraging visits to Tail Wiggles by their four-legged friends (friendly dogs and brave cats are welcome), every Friday the shop hosts a different dog from the Hilton Head Humane Association. “At twelve o’clock the dog arrives and is here from noon-3 p.m. They spend the day with us being the shop dog. The visiting pup gets the day to be spoiled rotten. They meet other dogs, they meet kids. They get noises and interaction and socialization that they usually wouldn’t get at the shelter.” Sometimes they even get adopted.
Sharing her life with husband Andy, two dogs, Rosco and Mike, and three cats, Monster, Cali, and Darby, and her business with her animal-loving family, it is unlikely that Wiggers will ever go a day without a pet. All the dogs and the brave cats who get to know her and Tail Wiggles are ever so grateful.
Tail Wiggles is located in Village at Wexford, 1000 William Hilton Parkway, Suite E1, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please call (843) 686-3707, visit tailwiggles.com, or find them on Facebook.