Snapshot: Kerilyn Ruggerio
Occupation: I am the owner and head dog groomer at Happy Dog Pet Salon LLC. We provide grooming services for all breeds of dogs. It has been my passion ever since I was 14 years old, and I’m thrilled to be able to own my own business doing what I love.
Family: I come from a hardworking family of five kids. All my family members helped paint and clean the salon when I first opened. Without my dad and my twin sister I wouldn’t have been able to open as fast as I did. They were both here from sunrise to sunset helping me with whatever needed to be done.
Pets: I have a lab mix named Max, who occasionally will come hang out at the salon with me. Most groomers have something called a heart dog, a dog which inspires them to do what they do and Max is my heart dog. You could find him lying underneath my feet and being covered in hair while I’m pampering someone else’s pup.
What do you like to do in your free time? In my free time, I mostly hang out with my family and friends. I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend of six years, whether it be on the Housatonic River on his boat or at his family home in Vermont. I also love to do crafts; for example, I make all my own dog bows and bandannas for the salon; I find it super relaxing after a day at work.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? I would say my greatest influence is my boyfriend, Michael. He’s always pushed me to be a better person and I credit him for being the one to push me to open my own business. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? I would spend the day with my mom. My mom passed away from cancer when I was 5 years old and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I would love to see her one more time and just get to catch up on life and tell her how much I miss her. I truly hope she’s proud of the person that I am today and what I have accomplished in my short 22 years.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to live every day like it may be your last. There are many days that I’ve had a tough day at work and normally I would go home and mope around, but with that advice I will go out and do something that makes me happy. We only get one life to live, so we must live it to its greatest potential.
What is something you cannot live without? I would never be able to live without my twin sister, Maddie. She’s my best friend and the one I will always go to for advice. She is always there to help me whenever I need it, including helping me clean the salon some days and taking care of all my plants.
What is your proudest accomplishment? My proudest accomplishment is definitely opening up my own business at 21 years old. It was always something I’ve wanted to do; I just couldn’t imagine I would do it while I was so young. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else and I am thrilled to be where I am today.
What is a tradition your family does that is important to you? Every Easter season we make pierogies with my aunts on my mom’s side. Getting to spend that time with my family doing something that we all love to do is so much fun. Each year we always say it will be the last year because it’s a lot of work, but then the next year rolls around and we always find ourselves making pierogies again.