BURRILLVILLE – A pet lover with more than a decade of grooming experience is expanding her practice to a new brick and mortar location in Oakland, with the opening of a shop she says she hopes will make her clients feel like they’re part of the family.
The Grateful Dog will occupy the building that previously housed Clay Creations, with a tentative opening date of Monday, Feb. 1.
The business is the latest move forward for groomer Chantell Tousignant, a North Smithfield native who first entered the field as an apprentice at Colonial Kennels in Burrillville. After roughly four years at Colonial, Tousignant took a job at a grooming shop in Uxbridge, Mass., where she worked for six years until that business downsized after the pandemic hit in 2020.
Since then, Tousignant has been grooming from home under the moniker The Grateful Dog, building a loyal clientele with her slower-paced personalized service that focuses on the needs of each pet.
“I try to only have one family or one dog that I’m working with at a time,” Tousignant told NRI NOW. “I like to take my time and cater to the dog’s individual needs.”
The name, she says, is fitting for a business where service isn’t rushed, and also a nod to her music tastes.
“Both my parents are Grateful Dead fans and I grew up loving the Grateful Dead,” Tousignant said. “I thought that would be a perfect name for us. We’re laid back.”
A busy mother of three who now lives in Burrillville, the groomer says she looked into the opportunity to rent the space when she heard earlier this year that Clay Creations would be closing. The property at 1910 Victory Highway, which also encompasses the neighboring Glendale Post Office, was purchased by Wesley Amato this month. The structure, a distinct, single-story round-shaped building, was built in 1935 according to town property records.
“I’ve always loved the space,” Tousignant said. “The building is so unique.”
Before Clay Creations, the building housed a hair salon, a day care, and the groomer says she’s heard that at one point, it served as a clam shack.
“It’s been a lot of things,” she said, noting that the new use won’t require much in way of renovation. “It was pretty much set up perfectly for me.”
Tousignant is certified in geriatric and difficult dog grooming and notes she specializes in larger breeds, or, “the dogs that outweigh me.”
She notes that she stopped taking new clients in her Burrillville home around six months ago and that the new location will provide an opportunity to expand.
“Now, I’m going to be able to open up my schedule a bit for new clients,” Tousignant said.
While she’s open to eventually hiring additional groomers, “I’m going to be a one-woman show for the time being.”
The format will allow The Grateful Dog to maintain the low volume, personalized feeling the groomer most enjoys.
“I am aiming to keep the same home-like feeling I have in my new shop,” she said. “I love to have my clients and their dogs feel like they are part of our family. That’s really important to me.”
The Grateful Dog will be open by appointment only with regular hours Tuesdays through Fridays. To make yours call (401) 365-7772.