For someone who hates strangers, can’t talk and shakes in fear at the sight and sound of the hairdryer, taking Coco on a trip to the hair salon with me was not overly appealing. Admittedly, the girl in question – my sweet three-year-old – happens to be a dog but as most owners know our furry friends and the sound of a hairdryer do not often go happily hand in hand, writes Suzanne Baum.
However, in a bid to get my nervous Cockapoo over her pet anxiety and my curiosity in what makes the Gary Ingham Aveda Lifestyle Salon and Spa one of the most dog-friendly hairdressers in London – I decided to take her with me.
This was a first experience for the two of us but obviously not so for the other clients and their pet pooches who – so relaxed - didn’t even bark at us.
In fact, the staff – obviously so used to canine company- didn’t seem remotely bothered styling one lady's hair as the dog sat on her lap and highlighting another with her dog’s head resting on his feet!
After a hair consultation with my stylist, during which Coco sat on my knee in front of the mirror, we headed to the luxurious wash basin area that consisted of the nicest leather loungers I have ever seen. None of the neck ache associated with putting your head back – these full-length leather chairs meant you could practically lie vertically.
As Coco jumped up on the seat beside me I was quick to try and place her on the floor but as my stylist reassured me she was fine where she was, I began to relax. It is a known fact that stroking a dog releases endorphins and that, combined with the most soothing hair wash and head massage, was a truly wonderful experience.
With a coffee and biscuit for me and a bowl of water and dog treats for her, my stylist was very attentive to us girls.
The wonderful aroma of Aveda products and the dim lights, together with soothing music, the warm floor and a hairdryer that was so quiet Coco didn’t bat an eyelid, was deeply relaxing – so much so I wasn’t surprised to find Coco fast asleep under my feet.
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So, What's the Verdict?
For dog owners who don’t like to be separated from their pets, or for times when you just have to bring the pup along with you, this dog-friendly hair salon ticks all the boxes.
The fact that owners Sean Spence and Gary Ingham have a Miniature Schnauzer of their own that can often be found sitting at the window of the shop, means that your dog won’t be short of a friend - or a member of staff - to give tummy rubs.
As for my hair, I had one of the best blow-dries ever – the Aveda products left it feeling like silk and even Coco’s hair benefited from a drop of oil I rubbed into it on my way out!