Middletown’s Shampooch Paw Spa owner aims to pamper pets with massage, facials – Middletown Press


MIDDLETOWN — To a dog owner, fur babies are members of the family and there is little they won’t do for them.

Lifelong animal lover Christina Gobar not only has dogs of her own, but she has many more that she takes pride in pampering in her business, Shampooch Paw Spa , which she recently opened in Middletown at 779 Newfield St .

The longtime pet groomer graduated from the Connecticut K-9 Education Center in Newington in 2008 and honed her skills, working in small and large grooming salons. The Farmington native worked for a national chain, but made the switch to a Plainville salon that offered more personalized services.

A year ago, after 12 years at the national company, Gobar  decided to follow her dream and began planning to open her very own business.

The decor and mood are designed to develop a warm and relaxing environment with soft lighting, instrumental music, fuzzy dog bed on the floor and framed canine-related artwork on the walls. Gobar has put personal touches throughout the space, including a barnwood-style doggie door that is set into the front counter and resembles a dog house.

“I try to keep everything calm like a spa. I only play acoustic songs and keep it relaxing, ” she said, adding that will she uses a soft voice and talks to the dog throughout the grooming session. “I feel like keeping the energy down for the dogs helps their experience here, ” Gobar said.

The spa offers traditional services such as baths plus hair cuts, nail trims and filing to smooth them out, ear cleaning, blow drying, dog massage (which Gobar said older dogs especially enjoy), teeth brushing and gland expression. Massage treatments include a blueberry facial, which can help with tear stains, and keratin shampoo for shiny and silky coats for all breeds, whether they have hair or fur.

With winter coming, she also offers a paw pad conditioning treatment to aid with cracked or dry pads. Dogs return to their families clean, trimmed and with a spritz of cologne or perfume. While canines are her main customer base, Gobar gets the occasional call asking for nail trims for people’s cats or rabbits.

Gobar’s mantra is “grooming with a loving touch, ” and it’s what guides her hands at work. Some dogs can get nervous at a groomer, so she takes her time and lets dogs take a breather if needed to ensure they are relaxed. “I really try to work at their pace instead of making them work at mine. I want them to enjoy this encounter, ” she said.

Her favorite part of her job is making the dogs not only look good, but feel good.

The salon is off a main road, ensuring high visibility, and has plenty of parking. Pet parents can even grab the coffee next door at Dunkin’ if they want to wait.

Gobar and her fiance, that also works in town, are planning to put down roots in Middletown. She said the high school is just a few minutes away and she hopes one day to be a resource for high schoolers looking for their first job.

On a typical day last week, Gobar checked in a client, a Yorkshire terrier named Shadow, for a shower and blow dry. She took her time to not just become acquainted with Shadow, yet to learn what his owners liked. She asked them questions about what hair length they preferred as well as the shaping around his ears.

This is her routine, intended to give each owner the style they are accustomed to.

“Everyone has different preferences associated with what they want their dog to look like, ” she stated. “I try to ask as many questions as I can to figure out exactly what they are looking for, and then I work with them the next time and ask if they want to go a little longer or shorter. ”

Gobar also works with new dog owners and says education is a big part of her job to help canines live their best lives to avoid issues such as  matting, itching and skin conditions.

She said she believes every dog should be spoiled with a spa day, and her customers can expect their own pets to get a high-quality groom in a relaxed environment. “Not only will their dogs look good when they leave, but they will feel good and proud, ” Gobar said.

With regard to information, see shampoochpawspa. com and Shampooch Paw Spa on Facebook, or call 860-500-9402.

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