Roommates open cage free pet grooming, daycare

Published 12:06 am Sunday, January 16, 2011

NATCHEZ — Roommates Jessica Adams and Jeanie Castillo have invested in something bigger than their house. On Nov. 1, they opened the doors of a new hotel — for dogs.

The duo said the unique aspect of their business, called Barking Beauties, is their commitment to being anti-cage. Their building is run like a doctor’s office, they said. Each pet has his or her own room and visits the groomers by appointment.

“A lot of the places we have here in town are drop-off, pick-up,” Castillo said. “The cages are stacked and all that; there’s never going to be that here. It’s quiet and peaceful and calm.”

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Not only that, the women offer what they call “Doggie Hotel” as well as “Doggie Daycare” for their customers. For $20 a night, “Doggie Hotel” allows dogs to stay in a private, climate-controlled suite. The dogs are encouraged to bring their favorite toys to make their vacation more fun.

For “Doggie Daycare” dogs can stay for up to 10 hours and spend time “playing with friends, chasing tennis balls, playing tug-a-rope and being pampered,” according to the Barking Beauties brochure. A day at daycare costs $10.

“It’s a matter of convenience,” Castillo said. “Everybody’s in such a hurry. The main thing too is the economy — everybody’s feeling that — we didn’t want to charge a ridiculous amount for anything. We wanted to keep it reasonable, something we could afford.”

The women said their setup is perfect for people traveling out of town or passing through.

Before opening the pet salon, Adams groomed dogs from her home for five years. Now she brings her experience to U.S. 61 North.

“When it gets time to the grooming, she’s the expert,” Castillo said, referring to Adams. “She’s the one that makes everybody happy with all her little shaping up and stuff.”

But when it comes to loving animals, the two women are both clearly the experts.

“They’re kind of like your babies,” Castillo said. “You take care of them. That’s why we decided to open this. It’s a non-kennel; that’s been our big thing, our big seller.”

Castillo and Adams met at the hair salon Pamper Me Please, where Castillo is hairdresser. The two eventually began living together, along with their pets, of course.

“Lord knows, both of us have been dog owners for most of our whole lives,” Castillo said.

Castillo, who calls herself “the silent partner” in their business, works full-time as a cosmetologist. On her off days and lunch breaks, she stops in to help Adams.

The duo said business is going well, and they’ve already attracted some repeat customers, such as Natchez resident Karen Callon, who has been bringing her Great Pyrenees Gatsby there since the business opened.

“They’re so friendly, and Gatsby, our dog, loves it there,” Callon said. “Sometimes dogs don’t like to go get a bath, and because it’s not a vet’s office, he feels more at home there. They’re so sweet.”

Callon said, too, that the women treat their clients like they’ve very special.

“Your dog’s not only your pet, but he’s their pet, too,” she said. “They treat your pet like they would treat their pet. They’re really easygoing, and they don’t let anything upset them. I think they manage their time well so they can give your dog undivided attention.”

Located at 525 U.S. 61 North, Barking Beauties operates by appointment Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 601-442-1270.

Barking Beauties also has a gift shop, where dogs — and their owners — can buy products, clothing, beds and other pet supplies.