Simply “Dave” to a legion of pet owners and friends, he started The Village Groomer in 1969 in a small shop in downtown Walpole, MA.  A former school teacher who had mastered grooming while moonlighting during school vacations, he soon became a familiar figure with his long flowing hair, silver jewelry and colorful clothes.  

He was the town’s first hippie and proud of it.

Those who looked beyond these symbols of his individuality knew Dave as a kind and compassionate man who delighted in caring for their dogs.  He knew each dog by name and was never embarrassed to get down on all fours to play with his canine customers.  He referred to them as his “kids."

Customers who became friends knew that Dave’s interests were varied. On any given day, he could be seen and heard holding forth with restaurant reviews, book swaps, recipe exchanges, political discussions, jokes which made us hide behind the cookie bins, kind words and honest tears when the lives of those precious pets drew to a close.

Once wife Kathy came into the business in 1976, Dave returned to school to get his nursing degree. He worked in several area hospitals but still found time to be a guiding presence at the shop.  After a devastating fire burned the first shop down in 1983, The Village Groomer moved to larger quarters and Dave planned to return “for a while” to get the retail shop going.  He never left. Although he loved nursing, the shop won out in the tug of war for his heart. A man of strong opinions, he became a popular speaker at grooming seminars around the country.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1991, he battled the disease for five years.  Missi left her career without hesitation to keep the shop going during her Dad’s illness so Kathy could care for him.

One rainy November night in 1995, 250 clients and friends turned out to donate blood for him in a makeshift donor center set up at the shop next to the facility we now call home. Dave was present for this outpouring of love but he passed away three months later, on Feb. 10, 1996.

His memory is honored annually with the David G. Salzberg Memorial Scholarship awarded at Walpole High School and The David Salzberg Humanitarian Award given to an outstanding member of the grooming industry.

As we strive to follow in his footsteps, we know those paw prints he cherished will help lead the way.