As a young girl, Monica Castillo was walking home when she realized she was being followed by a neighborhood cat, which then waited outside her house until she reemerged. The cat, a feral stray, allowed her to pet him, and eventually, adopt him. Monica’s mother, Francie, recounts this tale often, claiming that after this experience, Monica declared emphatically that she wanted to be a "doggy doctor," and never strayed from that path. After immersing herself in volunteer work, Monica attended school to become veterinary tech, a title she has held for the past four-and-a-half years. In 2011, the mother-daughter team opened Pepe Le Pooche Resort & Spa to better prepare Monica for her continuing education in veterinary school and to care for animals with kind attention and respect for their needs.
"Dogs know when they are being treated well," says Francie. To this end, she surrounds herself with staff members who were raised by animals or just have an affinity for them. Le Salon & Spa at Pepe Le Pooche hosts a crew of groomers who all hold certifications and have experience working around the particulars of different breeds, such as which prefer the scissors over a comb and which relish well-groomed mohawks and hair dye, upon request.
Pepe Le Pooche's onsite boarding and daycare facilities are cage-free, meaning dogs have free rein of play areas for most of the day, and hunker down in 1 of 10 large suites at night. Staff members stay on watch around the clock to ensure pets’ safety and play classical music to keep them calm. The resort does not have the capacity to board felines, but they are welcome to stay for daycare. The crew also plans all aspects of dog parties, from procuring the cake to hosting a blowout bash complete with party favors.