Meet the Dartmouth woman who brings well-loved stuffies back to health
Chelsea Boudreau has always had a soft spot for stuffed animals.
The Dartmouth, N.S., woman still has many of her own fuzzy friends from childhood and she understands they can be hard to part with — even if they're in need of some tender love and care.
That's why Boudreau started Cuddle Care, a new business that specializes in rebuilding well-loved stuffed animals.
"Anyone who's owned a furry friend of any kind knows just how emotionally attached one can be to it," Boudreau told CBC Radio's Information Morning Nova Scotia.
"That's why I do my best to address all their concerns [and] walk them through the process."
Boudreau, who has a fashion degree from the Centre for Arts and Technology, now Da Vinci College, said she was inspired to start her own business after working at Build-A-Bear for several years.
But, she said, Build-A-Bear could only repair their own branded bears.
"We would have so many people come to us hoping that we can repair furry friends that unfortunately, we just couldn't," she said.
"So I knew there would be people who would be not only interested in those kinds of services, but a bit of a market for it as well."
Boudreau started Cuddle Care earlier this year, and operates out of her home. She calls herself a "stuffie specialist" and the company's resident teddy-ologist.
Boudreau said she's working on building her clientele. So far, she's had two patients: one in need of some replacement parts and another that needed a complete repair.
That client is called Baby, a stuffed doll that belongs to a woman in New Brunswick, who has had her since she was an infant herself.
Boudreau said when she got the stuffed doll, it looked like it had been run through a paper shredder.
The owner told her it had actually been run over by a lawnmower at one point.
"This particular friend has seen a lot of action throughout her years," Boudreau said.
"[The owner] wasn't looking for a complete reconstruction or trying to restore it back to its original condition, she was just looking to have her be a bit more whole."
And that, Boudreau said, is the point of her work.
"Even though she won't look like her original self, she'll still retain a lot of those elements," she said.
"And of course, by trying to preserve the original stitches from those family and friends, also helps preserve those memories as well."
Boudreau said the most rewarding part of her work is seeing "the joy and light in people's eyes" when their cuddly toy is returned.
"These bears are loved in so many different ways that I just want to be able to help my customers continue to love their bears for many, many years to come."
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