WESTFIELD – Pampering pups is the priority at Serenity Dog Spa owned by The Groomer. From baths to blowouts, every pooch gets treated like a prince or princess at this doggie day spa.
Owner Tracy Durkee moved the business – formerly known as The Groomer – from its Main Street location to its current space at 22 Church St.
Durkee said when she moved, she changed the name a bit to represent what pets would experience at her shop. The name “The Groomer” was established by the former owner of the business. When Durkee purchased the business in 2011, she kept the name but decided it was time to tweak it.
“I wanted a name that represents the type of atmosphere I provide for my clients, and their humans,” Durkee said. “Serenity Dog Spa does just that, and I still kept ‘owned by The Groomer’ because I didn’t want people to think I just closed.”
Durkee’s friend owned a grooming business at 22 Church St. and retired, encouraging Durkee to check out the space.
“I loved the ample parking and close proximity to many other small businesses that my clients could potentially visit while their dog was being groomed,” Durkee said. “After she moved out, I moved in. With the help of my husband and sons we completely remodeled the space from top to bottom. While they installed the new lighting and built the dividing walls for the waiting area, grooming area, and office area. I installed the new flooring, painted, and found the decor to make the space feel as relaxing as any other spa.”
Serenity Dog Spa owned by The Groomer offers bathing, brush-outs, haircuts, and all other regular maintenance dogs need in a truly spa-like setting.
“Where my services differ is in the technique,” Durkee said. “I pioneered the no-cage grooming experience in our area. I only groom one dog at a time to ensure they get the best treatment possible without any interruptions.”
Durkee’s dog clients enjoy some pampering time in a relaxing atmosphere.
“Start to finish, it’s always a familiar, comforting and compassionate grooming experience for my clients,” she said. “This also helps me to be quite efficient with my grooming time. The average is just one hour start to finish. This helps dogs to get back to being at their own homes quickly.”
Growing up, Durkee knew she would somehow have animals as part of her career.
“As a child I loved all animals and wanted to be a veterinarian from a young age,” she said. “I would walk neighbors’ dogs, and pet sit for them when they were on vacation. As I got older, I worked with horses at a riding stable, grooming the horses, tending to their daily needs, and received riding lessons in exchange for my time.”
Durkee worked for a groomer her senior year of high school and realized she loved grooming because she could care for the animals and make them feel and look their best.
“In between my employment at different grooming salon locations I also was a surgical vet tech. I realized that my empathy would make being a veterinarian difficult for my emotional well-being,” Durkee said. “Being a veterinarian, you experience the good in well pet visits, but also many cases of illness, neglect and death.”
Durkee felt her place was in grooming.
“The days are always filled with happy wagging tails,” she said. “It will never be about the profit for me. My personal success comes from all of my return clients, and their dogs that are happy to see me. When you are caring for people’s pets it should never be about the money. It should always be about the love of the job, and the animals we work with.”
Durkee has survived the pandemic but said it has had its ups and downs.
“In the beginning it was stressful having to cancel all of my clients in order to follow state guidelines,” she said. “I strive to keep people happy, so having to reschedule without a set return date was hard, but I have wonderful clients who all understood that the bigger picture of keeping everyone healthy was worth the sacrifice.”
Durkee’s husband, an essential worker, was employed when other businesses, including Durkee’s, had to shut down. She said it allowed her business to reopen and stay afloat.
When groomers were allowed to reopen with COVID guidelines, Durkee adjusted.
“Only having one client, and their dog(s) in my salon has always been my policy, so things have not changed much in the sense of social distancing guidelines after I was able to reopen. I just sanitize everything even more frequently now to keep everyone safe,” she said.
Serenity Dog Spa owned by The Groomer has limited openings for new dogs. Durkee said she keeps her Facebook page and website updated with information and availability and anyone interested in making an appointment should contact her at 413-485-7166.