Pet grooming

This New Milford woman started pet grooming when she was 9 years old. Now she has opened her own business

NEW MILFORD – While some people change careers multiple times in their lifetimes, resident Erica Beatty doesn’t seem like one of them. She’s been in the pet grooming industry since the age of 9 and just opened her own dog grooming business in town called The Gentle Touch Pet Salon.

As a preteen, Beatty, who grew up in Sherman, raised and showed sheep.

“My great aunt Nancy, who lived next door, had a sheep farm. I had six sheep at a time and showed them to the Bridgewater and Goshen fairs, and the Big E, ”Beatty said. “We had to wash and dry them, trim their hooves and trim them to get them ready for shows, so I had a bit of experience there doing that.”

When Beatty was 16 and a student at New Fairfield High School, she discovered a job as a dog bather for a woman who owned a Danbury dog ​​grooming salon called Magic Touch.

“I tried it,” said Beatty, who is now 38.

She fell in love with work and never looked back.

“I remember learning the whole process of bathing and how to do it right,” Beatty said. “My mentor was a great teacher.

In 2000, she became a groomer at Petco in Brookfield, where she worked for nine years. She later co-owned Pampered Pets on Executive Center Drive in New Milford.

Four years ago, she and her business partner moved the business to New Preston.

“We received a very good offer from our new owner at Aspetuck Animal Hospital, which is attached to Pampered Pets,” she said.

At the end of November, Beatty went out on her own for the first time.

“I was very ready to branch off and do my own thing,” said Beatty, who has three dogs – Doug, a corgi; and two mixed breed dogs – Willy and Rocky. She lives with her boyfriend Nicholas Wagner and her two teenage sons – Kane, who is 15, and Damien, who is 17. Damien works in his new store a few days a week as a dog washer.

The Gentle Touch is located in a 972 square foot space previously occupied by Amanda Rose Salon and Boutique.


Services The Gentle Touch offer includes shampoo, toothbrushing, a luxury spa package, and nail and face cuts.

A paw treatment is also offered, which is a cream or wax that is applied to the pads of dogs’ feet to protect them from ice and salt in winter and prevent the paws from cracking.

In addition to dog grooming, Beatty also grooms cats, which includes bathing and trimming.

She said that cat skin is very different from dog skin. Grooming cats needs to be done much more carefully than grooming dogs, due to a cat’s unpredictable temperament, she added.

“It’s taking a big risk, taking a cat. You never know how they’re going to react, ”Beatty said, adding that she had gloves and muzzles in case the cats bite or scratch.

Beatty said she would work on any breed, size or temperament of dog.

To put the dogs at ease before their service, she said she tries to radiate positive energy.

“The energy that you project on the dog is the energy that it is going to take from you,” she said. “If you are nervous or scared, if you are confident or calm, this is what they feel and how they will react.”

Additionally, she strokes and talks to animals and tries to get a feel for their personalities before doing the service to them.

“Typically, it should only take a few minutes if the dog is receptive to any type of new person,” she said.

Beatty said her biggest challenge of going on her own, however, has nothing to do with the animals themselves – “it’s about managing the business part, like making sure all paperwork is prepared and keep up with QuickBooks and bank accounts, ”she said.

The dog grooming industry

The dog grooming industry as a whole hasn’t changed much in 20 years, Beatty said, “except people have gotten more creative with different hairstyles.”

She said she would like to offer dog hair dyeing services, which she said is a new trend.

“You can do so many different things with it,” she said. “You can design and shave the dye in the dogs’ coats.”

She added that the dog grooming business flourished during the height of COVID-19. Since it was considered an essential service, it was allowed to remain open – and business was booming.

“Last year we were maybe busier than we’ve ever been,” she said. “People were at home with their pets all the time. Plus, a lot of people got new pets during quarantine. No matter what happened, people still wanted to take good care of their pets, so even though they couldn’t go to many places, their pets were a priority. “

Beatty said she plans to stay with the business for life.

“It’s just very satisfying to have dogs all dirty and matted and then be able to send them home in a much more comfortable state,” she said.

The Gentle Touch Pet Salon, 72 Park Lane Road, New Milford, can be contacted by calling 860-488-3433, emailing [email protected], or visiting


[email protected] 203-948-9802.