‘Dogs Are Good for the Soul’: How One Local Groomer Pampers Pets
love, body language, and passion – Libby Baribeau shares what it’s like to be a pet groomer
Libby Baribeau transferred a decade of horse riding and training experience to a new arena when she began her grooming career more than 20 years ago.
Working alongside Puckabee’s Canine Salon owner Melissa Kullman, Baribeau uses her extensive knowledge of animal body language to groom a wide range of animals: cats and dogs, of course, as well as the occasional guinea pig.
Each grooming session begins with a bath and is followed by a blow dry and a haircut. All the products used in the salon are biodegradable and are made from natural materials and cruelty-free ingredients.
Some of Baribeau’s regulars are so experienced – and love their time in the salon so much – that they head straight for the tub when they arrive.
"You can see how much they enjoy it," Baribeau said. "The personalities we get to see every day are great! After their haircut, the dogs often get down and strut around. They know they look good.”
As well as providing traditional services, the salon also specializes in grooming dogs with special needs, including age- and behavior-related challenges. Both Baribeau and Kullman have more than 20 years of grooming experience, which makes them experts at understanding how to help animals relax.
“After so many years of working with animals, large and small, we have great reflexes and are very good at reading their body language,” Baribeau said. “We have very little surprise trouble. We can almost always tell when something is brewing and so we work to prevent it. Sometimes we have to take extra time with a pet who’s really nervous. Patience is so important.”
Because the salon accommodates special-needs dogs, both Baribeau and Kullman undertake regular continuing education certifications. Baribeau’s current course focuses on helping fearful dogs overcome anxiety, and she plans on continuing her study of Reiki to achieve mastery level.
“I’m looking forward to being able to use it on the dogs,” she said. “I love being able to pamper them.”
A lifelong animal lover, Baribeau began riding horses in fifth grade. For the next 10 years, she rode, trained horses, and gave riding lessons. Even after she stopped riding, she continued giving lessons.
It was on a whim that she decided to try grooming.
“I love it,” she said. “I couldn’t do anything else now. It’s such a satisfying job. We get to see the best of human-animal relationships. The pets that come in are adored by their families.”
Ultimately, as Baribeau explains, “Dogs are good for the soul.”
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