Pamper your pets at Pawfections in Los Lunas
Like a lot of people, Larissa Baldonado came by her profession somewhat by accident.
After graduating high school in her native Belen in 2003, the then Larissa Hendren went to Denver to go to school. To make ends meet, she took a job at a PetSmart as a cashier.
Anything beyond being a cashier in a pet store, she said, “wasn’t in my plans. But one day, they were short of groomers and they asked if I wanted to try it. I liked it a lot, so they sent me to training.”
PetSmart has its own academy to train groomers, and that’s where she learned the craft.
She came back to Valencia County in 2005, working at a PetSmart in Albuquerque and with other groomers.
Along the way, she married Uriah Baldonado, another Belen High graduate, and they now have three children.
She got out of the grooming business for a while to work in her parents’ jewelry store in Los Lunas, but opening her own business “was always in the back of my mind.”
When the jewelry store closed, she decided to take the plunge and opened Pawfections Pet Spa in Los Lunas, choosing a location in the strip shopping center at Main Street and Los Cerritos Road.
The center is right at the entrance to a large residential development with several hundred homes and across Main Street from a large, older residential development with several hundred more homes — not to mention the rapidly growing developments west of I-25.
It is the only pet grooming businesses in the area, and one of only two west of the river in Los Lunas.
“I thought it would be a good location,” Baldonado said with a sly smile. “There’s nothing else in this area.”
As it turned out, “It’s been a great location,” she said, “Business has been good. I’m surprised at the turnout I got, especially in this economy.”
In just over a year of operation, Baldonado has about 600 clients, she said, and has added two groomers to meet the demand.
“I’m making a living, and I’ve been able to provide two other jobs,” she said, “so that’s pretty good.”
Baldonado takes what she calls a gentle, pampered approach to pet grooming and care, with full services for dogs and cats.
As a matter of fact, she said, one of her most popular services is the “Pampered Pooch Package,” which includes all the regular grooming services such as a bath, clipping and nail care, plus tooth brushing, a deep-coat conditioner, shea-butter paw cream, a special treat and a toy.
“We really strive to make it a comfortable setting for the pet,” Baldonado said. “We use gentle techniques and we don’t force the pet to do anything. That’s why our slogan is, ‘Where your pet is fully pampered.’”
Pawfections Pet Spa also carries pet products ranging from collars and leashes to shampoos.
Why the name “Pawfections?”
“I just thought of it,” Baldonado said. “I was thinking of it like ‘perfection,’ and I thought it was kind of cute.”
The business is closed on Wednesday and Sunday (“Wednesday is slow, and most everyone else is closed Monday, when we’re open,” she said), and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday.
Pawfections Pet Spa is at 1400 Main St. N.W., Suite L, in Los Lunas. The phone number is 865-5369, and the website is www.pawfectionspetspa.com. Reservations are generally necessary.
Contact Dana Bowley