One look at Daphne’s model-long neck, perfectly poofed pom-poms, and snow-white fur and you realize that working at her mom’s New Jersey European glamour-style salon is exactly where she belongs.
Linsey Barbuto and her husband knew they wanted a dog. He is in law enforcement and was naturally drawn to getting a German Shepherd Dog. Linsey loved shepherds, having grown up with them, but didn’t want to deal with the breed’s shedding. The couple had two rescue cats at home who already did a good job of getting fur all over the place, and the thought of adding one more to the mix was just too much. After a lot of online research, they found the perfect breed — a Standard Poodle.
Daphne has been a part of the family business from the very beginning. She came to Linsey and her husband from Family Affair Standards in North Carolina. One of the qualities the couple was looking for in a dog was intelligence, and Daphne is a fine example of her breed. She is a very quick learner. The trainer who worked with Daphne spent more time teaching Linsey and her husband than the dog.
Linsey knew that in order for Daphne to be able to come to work with her, she would have to be properly socialized. Like most working dogs, Daphne’s time as a puppy was spent introducing her to different stimuli, like children and face touching, so that Daphne would react positively to anything that she might come across while at work with her mom.
The perfect employee
For Perlei Salon, Daphne is a draw for customers and employees. The French/Italian style of the business almost demanded that it have a stunning white Standard Poodle as a mascot. That was a position that Daphne was more than happy to fill.
“Daphne has such a personality, she belongs out in the world,” her mom says. It was clear to Linsey that Daphne wanted to be at the salon. Daphne loves the attention, and it is her pay for the work that she does.
Having a dog “niece” is a perk for the people working at the salon. Allysa Carrara, creative stylist, senior colorist, Orbie brand ambassador and one of the six human employees, believes that the pup is the best part of her workday.
“Daphne’s loving energy and charisma are contagious,” she says. “She makes us all laugh and truly brings joy to the staff and clientele.”
Although every once in a while a customer is concerned about being near a dog, something that Linsey and the salon accommodate as needed, most people are thrilled about the four-legged employee. In fact, Daphne is the reason Miranda Geller first become a client. Miranda saw Daphne on a friend’s Instagram page and had to check her out for herself. Now she and her 6-year-old daughter go to Perlei Salon, and Miranda will tell you that “a hug from Daphne is everything.” Her daughter simply calls the place the “Poodle Salon.”
All in a day’s work
Linsey believes that pets are a great way to calm your nerves and ease anxiety, and is confident it’s a job that Daphne loves doing. Every workday, Linsey grabs her things and asks her, “Are you ready to go to work?” That is Daphne’s signal. She pops up, goes out the door and happily jumps into the car. Once at the salon, Daphne runs in, greets everyone to let them know she has arrived and then gets ready to do her thing — bring joy, happiness and cuddles to anyone who walks in the door.
Daphne can often be found at the receptionist area, which is the perfect place to say hi to her favorite clients. How do you become one of Daphne’s favorites? You bring her a puppaccino, of course! Those who have learned this get extra doggie love!
The clever pup roams wherever she would like and seems to know intuitively when her mom is busy focusing on a client and that if Daphne needs anything, she should ask one of her mom’s two assistants. The gorgeous girl is more than happy to tell you what she wants — you just have to ask. A bark and perhaps some joyful circles translate into “Yes.” Zero response is “No.”
When the day is over and it’s time to go to bed, Daphne sleeps in between her two humans. At first her dad wasn’t sure if he was going to be fully on board with such a feminine beauty. He is now obsessed with Daphne and she with him. Linsey even thinks he enjoys the extra attention he gets as a big, athletic man walking a fancy Poodle.
Linsey has fallen madly in love with the breed and doesn’t believe she will have any other for the rest of her life. If you ask her what she thinks about her co-worker she will happily confess, “She’s honestly my best friend.
Working Dogs are Just Like Us
Q: Do you groom Daphne your-self or do you take her to a professional dog groomer?
A: Daphne gets professionally groomed every three weeks at Planet Poodle in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Q: If Daphne had a superpower what would it be and why?
A: The ability to transform from dog to human and back to dog at any moment. Daphne is the big-gest people “person” I know. Her favorite thing to do is give hugs. She’s a hugger.
Q: What gear does Daphne use?
A: Daphne is always dressed to reflect the seasons (sweaters in the winter, for example). She also has bows to reflect the season in colors and holidays. At Perlei Salon, Daphne drinks from a bowl I made in a ceramic class with a hand-crafted dog paw print. Clients are always gifting her toys, for which Daphne is very appreciative.
Q: Does Daphne have any nicknames and if so what/why?
A:Daph for short. Clients, friends and family just call her Daphne.
Q: What is Daphne’s diet?
A: Daphne is strictly on a raw diet that consists of Stella & Chewy’s dehydrated beef patties. She also gets salmon Trader Joe’s treats.
Q: What is the weirdest or fun-niest thing Daphne does?
A:She tries to jump into the shampoo sink to drink the water. It looks like she’s trying to help wash. We call it “shampoodles” at Perlei. She always tilts her head when spoken to, like she’s reading your lips.
Featured photo: Courtesy of Linsey Barbuto-Nunez