Faces Behind the Facades: Salty Dog Grooming
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Faces Behind the Facades: Salty Dog Grooming

In this blog series, we’ll pull back the entrepreneurial curtain to meet the faces behind the façades in our Downtown District.


For Natalie Babcock, owner and operator of Salty Dog Pet Parlour, it all started in Wawa, Ontario with a black cocker spaniel named Rhubarb. Her canine companion was a beloved family member who brought joy to her childhood. Natalie was also blessed with entrepreneurial grandparents for role models.

At first, she pursued a degree in Theatre Arts, then followed her dream of adventuring across Canada, including our far north in Nunavut.

In 2003, she got her professional diploma after studying with Master Groomer Marnie Matheson in London, Ontario. She perfected a unique grooming style of manageable pet cuts for all breeds of dogs and cats.

Natalie opened her first shop in Picton to rave reviews. Then, a military posting to Nova Scotia with her husband took her out of the area. Their son was born there. His dwarfism required a posting back to Trenton to be close to Sick Kids’ Hospital in Toronto. He is a healthy, happy child getting all the care he needs. 

Ever the entrepreneur, Natalie’s next successful business venture was in Trenton. After two years, she sold her interest to follow a more focussed “pets are people too” philosophy at 224 Coleman Street near our Downtown District. A co-worker’s father owns the building and is committed to their success.

Salty Dog Pet Parlour opened in February, 2020, one month before Covid shut everything down. Undaunted, Natalie navigated all the ensuing challenges and is busier than ever, partly the result of people welcoming pandemic pets into their families.

The business is set up like a studio to offer one-on-one client experiences in a cage-free environment. It’s a bustling place with the scent of clean fur in the air, the clack of scissors, the buzz of clippers, and the steady drone of hair dryers. 

Hand-picked, empathetic groomers develop relationships with their furry friends over time to make it a pleasant experience for everyone. A hydro-massage bath, with a professional cut, sounds divine.

Other services include a paw or face tidy, teeth-brushing and cat nail caps. Natalie offers an ongoing $10 nail trim with half the proceeds donated to charity.

Speaking of charity, Salty Dog Pet Parlor is sponsoring an Easter Photo Fundraiser through April 30. A donation of $10 per photo will be donated to Sava’s Safe Haven, a shelter in Romania aiding Ukrainian animals in need. Book now if you want to be a part of this worthy cause.

When it comes to pet care, Natalie has it covered from nose to tail. Since a healthy pet starts with a healthy diet, she is pleased to announce that Morrison Brothers raw pet food is now available at the Parlor.

Natalie is enjoying the expanded marketing exposure offered through a one-year pilot project of Associate Memberships to entrepreneurs outside the traditional boundaries of the Belleville Improvement Area. 

“As the Downtown District gains popularity, we realize consumers and visitors don’t see boundaries,” says Luisa Sorrentino, Executive Director of the Downtown District BIA. “Associate memberships are perfect for businesses or organizations that are not within the physical boundaries of the BIA but would like to be part of the thriving and supportive business community the BIA has to offer.”

Interested businesses can contact Caitlin Lavoie, Media & Marketing Officer, at hello@downtownbelleville.ca to learn more about the Associate Membership Pilot Program.

Wendy is an award-winning author. Her creative non-fiction work is featured in an American publication “Tales2Inspire: the Opal Collection” edited by Lois Stern. Her most recent work is “Storied: Chronicles by the Circle of Six”, a memoir collaboration with five other local authors, available at the Bazaar Artisan Market in the Downtown District.