Goldendoodle from Port Reading goes from ‘ruff to fluff’

From left: "Romeo," Michael, Cathy and Emily Barbuto celebrate Romeo's "People's Choice" award from the Best Friends Pet Hotels' Diamond in the Fluff national contest.

“Romeo” Barbuto, a Goldendoodle dog from the Port Reading section of Woodbridge, won the “People’s Choice” award from the public in a national contest held by Best Friends Pet Hotels.

Romeo was chosen for his transformation “from ruff to fluff” in the national “Diamond in the Fluff” Before and After Grooming Photo Contest. Romeo’s family, Cathy and Michael Barbuto, and their daughter Emily, 7, brought Romeo to be groomed post-quarantine at the Windsor NJ Best Friends location at 1379 Route 130.

The Barbuto family was elated when they found out that Romeo was chosen as the “People’s Choice” award, and Emily said of her dog, “I’m so excited! Romeo looked like a hot mess before, and after we had him groomed he looked so handsome,” according to information provided by Best Friends.

This summer, Best Friends Pet Hotel celebrated the bond between pets and pet parents, first narrowing the winners via an online vote to twenty top furry finalists who looked pretty “ruff” during the quarantine. The top prizes in the “Diamond in the Fluff” contest were chosen by special judge and celebrity pet groomer Jonathan David, a finalist in Animal Planet’s “Groomer Has It” show, according to the statement.

The most transformed pooches were crowned with customized prizes from Best Friends Pet Hotel, including a “Ruby from the Ruff” Prize Pack, a “Sapphire After Scruff” Prize Pack, and “Diamond In The Fluff” grand prizes – one People’s Choice winner, and one celebrity judge winner.

“Pets are such a comfort to us at this time, but our pets’ grooming schedule went on hiatus in quarantine. In my salon in West Palm Beach, we have our work cut out for us. I’m proud to have served as a judge in this creative online photo contest and enjoyed reviewing all these ‘ruff-to-fluff’ contestants. Romeo was a handsome doggy diamond shining brightly in this contest,” Davis said in the statement.

“Congratulations to the Barbuto family and all our dedicated Best Friends Pet Hotel pet parents who submitted fabulous ‘before and after’ photos for this first-ever contest,” Darryl Sampson, vice president of Operations and Growth, Best Friends Pet Hotel, said in the statement. “Thanks also to all our hardworking employees and groomers who care for dogs, cats and pocket pets in all 31 of our employee-owned centers.”

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