Dog groomer opens salon on Oneonta's Water Street

Allison Collins 

Groomer Lea Moscatello holds Pekinese dogs Gyende and Boo at her Hair of the Dog Grooming Salon in Oneonta earlier this month.

Lea Moscatello has the cure for what ails canines.

Moscatello, 28, opened Hair of the Dog Grooming Salon at 82 Water St., Oneonta in November. Doing so, she said, was the professional realization of a lifelong passion.

“(My family) came upstate about nine years ago,” Moscatello, previously of Long Island, Colorado and Utah, said. “We all moved together to Cobleskill, then I went my separate way and graduated from SUCO and I stayed in Oneonta.

“I went to school for psychology, but focused a lot on animal behavior, and I was a vet tech assistant for most of my working life,” she said. “I started working with animals at a very young age and I am certified for grooming through online schooling.”

Grooming specifically, Moscatello said, allows for a deeper connection to her clients.

“I wanted to work for myself, and I like the client relationship that I have with the people and the animals,” she said. “It’s way more one-on-one for me and the animal. I build such a stronger relationship with the animal and it’s so rewarding knowing that they’re so well taken care of — their skin, fur, everything — and with my vet tech background, I can recognize some things an owner wouldn’t.

“A lot of people, in any field, will work just for work, but this is truly what I love to do," she said. "It’s like a project for me: I see a starting point and then get to see (each dog) through to the finished product.”

Moscatello provides standard and specialty grooming options.

“I offer a ton of different services, from your basic bath and brush-out to a full groom with haircut and I offer de-shedding and de-skunking services,” she said. “I’m so happy here and I love this little spot because it’s tucked away and quiet for the animals.”

For fancier pups, Moscatello said, she also offers all-natural, dog-safe hair dye and nail polish, using Pawdicure pens.

The response from dogs and owners, Mocatello said, has been “humbling.”

“This (location) was a grooming salon before, and the lady retired,” she said. “So I get some of her old clients and I’ve had a ton of new people just from word-of-mouth and social media advertising. My clients are amazing and everyone’s so loyal and the feedback I’ve been getting is really great.

“I had probably the worst year of my life in 2019,” Moscatello said, “and that’s what gave me the push to do this and really make the jump. Now everything seems like it’s falling into place and … I’m beyond grateful.”

Doggie demographics, Moscatello said, are diverse.

“(Clients) are coming from Oneonta and surrounding cities like Otego, Davenport, Cobleskill and a lot of people are coming from Cooperstown,” she said. “I’ll do dogs of all sizes, and I even do cats.”

Moscatello said she plans to continue building her clientele and reputation.

“I’d love to stay here as long as I can and really develop a good relationship with the city and surrounding cities and be that groomer that everyone wants to come to and trusts with their animal,” she said. “That’s the biggest part — the trust I form with the client. I don’t want people to bring their animals to me because they just need a haircut; I want them to be comfortable and for the animal to be able to hang out and feel like this is a second home where they get to come and take a bath.”

Hair of the Dog is typically closed Sundays and Mondays, and grooming sessions are by appointment.

For more information, call 607-431-1925, find “Hair of the Dog” on Facebook or follow @hairofthedogoneonta on Instagram.

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