Valeria Barrera could arguably be the dog whisperer of Deming. Her calm yet assertive nature suits her clientele at the Dog Salon, located at 214 S. Gold Avenue downtown.
Barrera recently celebrated her salon’s second anniversary on Friday.
“It was a challenge when I first started this business venture, but so rewarding,” Barrera told the Headlight. “It starts with a passion for dogs, experience in the field of grooming, and ultimately providing a quality service.”
She knew dog grooming would be her future from the age of 13. “We always had dogs in the family and I definitely had a connection with them,” Barrera explained.
Born and raised in Deming, Barrera graduated from Deming High in 2015 and moved to California shortly after. At the age of 19, she began her grooming career working for the Pet Smart corporate chain.
“They sent me to a Pet Smart Academy for four months where I learned the skills and techniques for dog grooming,” Barrera said.
She returned to her assigned store and completed her apprenticeship under a master groomer. “It was grooming and learning on commission, and the commission was low,” Barrera stated.
She returned to Deming with her husband, Jorge Martinez, toward the end of 2018 and thoughts of opening a dog grooming business were slowly coming into focus.
As the COVID-19 pandemic stretched over three years, starting a business in a small town could be viewed as a huge risk. Barrera took that into consideration, but threw caution to the wind and depended on her dog grooming talent and a keen business sense. The Dog Salon opened on May 19, 2021.
Dog grooming is not an exact science. “Not everyone can do it successfully and consistently,” Barrera explained. “It begins with your energy and finishes with the same energy. …A calm and relaxed disposition will translate into a calm and relaxed dog.
“Some dogs can be troublesome the first time they enter our shop. By the next visit, they know they will be pampered and groomed.”
Grooming your dog regularly leads to a happy and healthy dog. Barrera said that clients would bring their pets in once a year, maybe twice. “There are so many health issues that can occur if a dog is not groomed regularly,” Barrera said.
The Dog Salon provides a variety of grooming services taking breed, condition of the coat and dogs’ size and weight into account. “Then, I can give a quote,” she said.
Of all the services provided by Barrera and her crew, deshedding is a seasonal and most popular service. Breeds that shed have double coats. That includes German Shepherds, Huskies, and even Chihuahuas.
“We are packed during shedding season,” Barrera said. “The customers love it. They know their dog will get shampooed, conditioned, blown out, brushed out, nails done, ears cleaned and teeth done. That’s our luxury package and we tie them with a cute bandana.”
A basic service is broken down into two price ranges: a dog cut and no cut. Prices range from $20 to $80 for grooming services, by appointment only.
Billy Armendariz can be reached at [email protected]