Instructors

Dara Forleo

“As early as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to be surrounded with anything that could be pet or ridden.” During high school, with my parents encouragement, I had the pleasure of having my own small farm that I filled with cats, dogs and show horses. A dream come true for any animal loving girl and that passion has stayed with me since.
I have been working with horses and dogs professionally since 1991. My knowledge ranges from the competing, handling, and grooming horses, cows, dogs and the occasional rabbit. In 1999, I attended the Nash Academy in Lexington, Kentucky. Following the completion of The Nash Academy, I earned a BA for Small Business Management from Ottawa University.

After moving to New Hampshire in 2006, I utilized my business degree to open my first grooming shop and boutique, The Doggie Bag & Day Spaw.
In six years I built a business that has earned recognition from the community and my devoted following of clients. I was awarded the Best of Souhegan Valley Award for Best Groomer in 2007 through 2012. After selling The Doggie Bag and Day Spaw, I opened up Dara’s Paw Spaw and in 2015 … The Whole Pet Grooming Academy.

I work closely with our local high school and their Internship program, which allows juniors and seniors to intern in industries they may want to explore in college or with vocational training.  In 2017, I started to travel as one of the newest industry speakers for Barkleigh Productions.  Barkleigh hosts professional grooming expos throughout the country.  2018, I became a board and one of the founders of The American Professional Pet Groomers Association, which is a new organization who’s mission is to improve the grooming industry for groomers and the pets we take care.

I scour the market for the best products and have adopted progressive techniques to accommodate every one of my client’s needs. My pleasure comes not only from the finished product, but also with making sure the pet enjoys and is comfortable throughout the entire process. My passion for animals comes from my desire to ensure their utmost happiness.
Now this knowledge and experience will be passed on to students that come through The Whole Pet Grooming Academy for training. Let’s talk today!


Rachel Podgurski

Rachel has joined the staff at Dara’s Paw Spaw and The Whole Pet Grooming Academy. She will be acting as our office manager, receptionist, groomer and as an instructor in our Academy. Originally from New Jersey, Rachel moved to New England to attend graduate school in Vermont. Rachel started out her professional career in the field of design, holding a bachelors in Interior Design and a masters in Historic Preservation. Following grad school, she moved to Peterborough where she worked for 5 years at Monahon Architects. In 2012, a death in her family, followed by the closing of the architecture firm in 2013, lead to a career change. Having worked with horses for years, both as a barn manager and as a volunteer at Miracles in Motion and Touchstone Farms’ Equine Therapy programs, Rachel decided that working with animals was where her path was leading.

Rachel took a job as an adoption counselor at a NH shelter for a year before accepting a job at the Monadnock Humane Society as the Adoption and Customer Service Coordinator. For 2 years, the Humane Society was her home away from home. In January of 2016, the illness of a family member led to her leaving the Humane Society to act a as caregiver. In March of 2016, Rachel started working at Court Street Veterinary Hospital as a vet tech, and continues to do so on a part-time basis.

Rachel decided to enroll in the Advanced Pet Stylist program through the Whole Pet Grooming Academy in March of 2017, graduating in May 2017 and accepted the position with Dara! We are so excited to have Rachel on board!

 


Latifa Meena

Animals Psychic and Communicator, Latifa Meena will make you smile the first time you meet her. She is eloquent and quick, with an infectious giggle. She began her professional career as an animal psychic and communicator along with and “hands on” healing in 2006. She has clients all over the world along with conducting Basic and Advanced Animal Communication Workshops.

She has been featured on TV, Animal Planet…Call of the Wildman and MTV Kesha My Wild and Beautiful Life. She has also appeared on local TV for the past several years and hosted live theater events for the public to attend. No matter what she engages in, Latifa is fun, outgoing and a pleasure to be around.

Her passion is to engage with humanity be helping us all to understand their animals companions is encouraging and welcoming. She feels every time she engages and is called to be the translator is an honor and privilege to give the animals a voice in their time of need, daily routines or changes in their lives.

Latifa enjoys the seeing her students learn in each workshop. Her ability to teach us how to relax, be available and allow the seemingly impossible, possible, makes it comforting with nothing but encouragement and praise.

The greatest perk of her job is the wonderful love and kisses the animals share with her. They are truly appreciative and grateful.


April Begosh

April is the Owner of Healthy Pets NH, a canine wellness center based out of Concord, NH and a mobile classroom offering classes in pet wellness throughout New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. April has been a licensed massage therapist for humans since 1995 and just recently completed her level 2 certification in reiki.

In 2007, April, a lifelong pet parent and animal lover, decided that she wanted to be able to provide the same quality massage and wellness services for pets as she does for her human clients. She began an independent study program in small animal massage using information and educational materials from a variety of schools and pet professionals such as Integrated Touch Therapy in Ohio, Dr. Michael Fox, DVM, Jonathan Rudinger, Founder and Director of PetMassage in Ohio and Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, LMT and author of Canine Massage. She also took a course specializing in animal reiki.

In 2009, she furthered her training in pet wellness by becoming a certified Pet Tech instructor of CPR, first aid and wellness care for pets. In 2014, she opened a dog daycare within a grooming salon where she later became the Salon Manager. Then, in 2016, she completed a course through FitPaws USA and The University of Tennessee and became a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer. April uses her skills and talents to create treatment plans, exercise programs and classes that are designed to improve the overall quality of life of her animal clients and to deepen the bond between them and their human companions.

April has a true passion for working with animals and intends to continue to educate herself in topics that will allow her to create and to teach others how to create a lifestyle for their pets that is safe, healthy and happy.