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Barkhaus Mobile Pet Spa Brightens Up Your Dog's Life

By S. Mathur

It's a dog's life. Should you choose the Mini Spa for your pet, with a hydro-massage bath with premium shampoos and conditioners, tearless and coat brightening facial, fluff dry by hand, brush out, nails clipped and filed, paw moisturizer, light trim of face, feet and tail, and ending with optional cologne and bow or bandana? Or the Full Day Spa with all of these plus a haircut or styling as appropriate for the breed?

With Barkhaus, the spa comes to your driveway. Pet owners who struggle with all the guilt and anxiety of leaving their dogs on their own for hours in a salon love the idea. Owner Paula Cocuzza says that when working in a salon, she saw that pets were not really comfortable in that environment.

"I had been grooming for 8 years in a salon and its not always comfortable for the pets. There are a lot of elderly and sick pets that people have a hard time getting to a salon. I have 4 dogs of my own, one having separation anxiety and 2 have congestive heart failure. I decided there must be a better way. So I saw a van and decided that I could have 1-on-1 time with each pet. It works so much better. They are not as nervous or scared in the van right outside their own home."

Not surprisingly, the business has taken off rapidly. In fact, Barkhaus and its groomers are so much in demand that it's necessary to book at least a few days ahead. The mobile spa is a converted 22-feet Mercedes Sprinter with its own electricity and water, and a full-service grooming station that gets sanitized after each appointment.

Even more important, Cocuzza says that she takes the time to get to know each pet, so they can be comfortable with the whole process: "I travel from home to home and visit with each family about the pet I will be grooming. While they fill out the paper work I sit on the floor and visit with the pets so they can get to know me."

Each appointment takes one to two hours and Cocuzza says that dogs should be groomed every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the breed. It works better for the dogs, since they don't have to go beyond their own driveway. Unlike a grooming salon, they are never left alone and unattended, in a cage along with a roomful of strange dogs. However, for safety and liability reasons, pet owners cannot watch the grooming.

Apart from the pampering care pets receive, they avoid some of the discomforts and drawbacks of grooming salons. They won't be left in cage dryers, and the risk of infections and altercations with other pets is absent. The stress-free environment of the mobile spa is specially suitable for puppies, who are very impressionable. With in-your-driveway pampering, they can learn to love being groomed. At present Barkhaus only accepts small to medium dogs, up to 80 lbs.

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