Salon Bark, 6274 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33308
I can’t explain it, but when I first saw Rigby, I just knew he was my dog. He was sitting demurely in a corner inside one of the holding cells at the Miami-Dade Humane Society. When I spotted him, I walked up to the glass, flashed my best smile and cooed something sweet in his direction. Even though he couldn’t hear me, he wagged his tail and batted his eyelashes. I was in LOVE. I snapped a picture for good measure.
Strangely, he wasn’t the kind of animal I thought I would be attracted to. Don’t judge me, but I was set on adopting a small lap dog, one I could carry around in a pretty purse, bedazzle with sassy bows and dress up in cute outfits, but after seeing Rigby (his already given name), something about him changed me.
I left the shelter that day (after filling out the required paperwork and leaving a strong request to adopt Rigby) with mixed emotions. I was on the fence about getting a pet. I wanted a dog, but after my petite Pomeranian passed away (almost ten years earlier), I was irretrievably heartbroken and honestly…
I didn’t think I could bare a loss like that again, so I let fate take its course. A few days later, the good folks at the Humane Society (more specifically, the sweetest and most spirited woman named Dayle), called me and explained Rigby needed a couple of surgeries before I could adopt him. She promised she’d call me the second he was available.
I’d never adopted an animal before, so I took the news as a form of rejection. I was disappointed, but thought perhaps, it wasn’t meant to be. About a week later, Dayle (who promised she’d call again) did just that and told me Rigby was ready to be picked up and taken home. Picked up?!! Taken home?
All of these crazy thoughts went through my head. What if he doesn’t like me? What if I wasn’t ready to be a doggie mommy and what if he was nuts? My boyfriend, James, said: “Well, then he’ll fit right in.” We stopped by the pet store and got everything we could think of and then other things we didn’t think of and then things we didn’t need. (You know, just in case…)
Shortly after, we arrived at the Humane Society, where Dayle ushered us into a private family room to meet Rigby for the very first time. He was anxious, hyper and sweet. We petted him and tried making a connection, but he was distraught and confused. It didn’t matter, though, because I knew deep down inside that he was supposed to be my dog.
Rigby took to James much quicker, which confused me, but I took it in stride and loved him the best I knew how (with all of my heart). He had been left alone a lot, had scars on his arms from being caged and was desperate for love and attention. Well, he was definitely in the right place…
It’s only been four months, but it’s been a sweet, intimate and unadulterated love affair. Rigby has healed me, as much as I hope that I have healed him. We snuggle in the morning, take long walks, watch movies and live our lives the best we know how — together. He’s my best friend.
I also take an obscene amount of pictures of Rigby and post them all over social media. Yes, I’m that annoying girl. Which, by the way, prompted one of my good friends and designers, Carlos Marrero to text me about something: “You are totally going to gag over!”
Gag is a good thing when you’re talking to Carlos. It’s the ultimate compliment. Meaning, it’s so good, you won’t be able to breath and then, you’ll choke because it’s so fabulous! Carlos was talking about a place called: SALON BARK.
He told me: “Shireen, it’s a place where you can take your dog to be pampered and at the same time, YOU can shop for the latest and greatest in fashion.” Of course, I was confused and quizzed him. “You mean, shop for myself and take my dog?” I asked. “Yezzzzzz,” he chirped. “You have to check the place out. It’s so-o-o-o you!” He said, dramatically.
Salon Bark is the brainchild of Danielle Gaudreau (a pretty and vivacious blonde), who created the boutique-slash-luxury pet spa because she couldn’t choose between two of her favorite things: animals and fashion. Her boutique is warm, welcoming and chock-full of pretty much anything you can think of…
Purses, jewelry, clothing, scarves and whimsical house accessories. You can shop for your dog, too. Whether it’s a bedazzled collar, sassy carrier or chic leash, Salon Bark has something for every fashionista and her favorite furry friend. Hence the title of the blog, “The Bark & The Beautiful,” but that’s not all…
You can pamper your puppy with a Paw-dicure, Blueberry Facial, Mud Mask, Blow-Out or Hair-cut (which are just a few of the luxurious services Salon Bark offers).
What I liked most about my visit (with Rigby in tow), was Danielle’s kindness. I was beyond worried about taking my puppy on his first major field trip, but Rigby was welcomed with open-arms and spoiled in the exact same way that I would spoil him, if not more.
Danielle (and her husband, whom she calls the Dog Whisperer), really do have a special way with animals. It’s a rare connection that can’t be faked. Rigby was definitely the KING of Salon Bark, if only for a few short hours. He got treats, toys, kisses, hugs and well, the list goes on…
Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight as we go inside this charming boutique where fashionistas and their four-legged friends can enjoy some major retail therapy, doggie spa treatments and most importantly, do it all while spending quality time together.
BTW, Carlos was totally right. Salon Bark IS my kind of place. After all, I only want the best for Rigby and maybe a little extra something for myself, too and that’s why “The Bark and The Beautiful,” is one of my favorite things.
The Promenade at Bay Colony in Fort Lauderdale. There’s plenty of parking, but if you can’t make it to Salon Bark, they have a luxury mobile spa “equipped with all the fancy, state-of-the-art equipment to make your dog feel like a celebrity.”
Monday-Saturday from 8:30am-5pm. Private shopping available by appointment.
All clothing and accessories for Rigby and myself were provided by Salon Bark. Prices available upon request.
James Woodley Photography
Styling by Jackie Kay
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Editor: Matthew “Dogboy” Auerbach
Special Thanks to Designer Carlos Marrero