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Pampered pooches right at home at Madison’s Chateau le Pooch

Pooches who are used to being pampered will feel right at home in Madison’s new Chateau le Pooch.

“It’s the Ritz Carlton for dogs,” said Joni South, owner of the new facility that boards dogs and cats while their owners are away.

South opened the pup motel with her husband, Bill Hutchinson, after her own dog had a bad boarding experience. “We put our beloved Louie, a French bulldog, in a kennel at the vet when our female dog, Marie Laveau, went into heat. After picking him up, we discovered he had almost no hide left on his rear end, which was the result of sitting in disinfectant. It took two weeks of antibiotics and a lot of TLC to help Louie heal. After that, we decided to buy the building next door to our store and open up a deluxe boarding facility for pampered pets like ours.”

The Chateau le Pooch is located next door to South’s specialty pet store, The Snooty Pooch.

“The store is named after our eight-year-old Boston terrier, who we nicknamed the Snooty Pooch, because she is so very snooty. I was traveling a lot at the time, and every where I went, I’d pick up something for my kids. After awhile, nothing impressed the kids, and they really didn’t care, so I’d pick up something for the dogs instead. In New Orleans, I found the cutest shops selling specialty items for dogs, and it seemed like something I’d like to try, but I couldn’t get anyone to do it with me.”

The gentleman she was dating at the time was Hutchinson, who supported her idea and told her to go for it. The couple married in July 2006 and opened The Snooty Pooch the following October near the railroad tracks in Madison.

The store has been a great success. In addition to gourmet dog treats, the store sells all manner of outfits and accessories for the best dressed canines in town. “We sell boas, cocktail dresses, mink stoles, pearls, raincoats, booths and much more. It’s so much fun to see Madison’s most precious dogs dressed to the nines.”

A bark hello

South’s own snooty pooch, Babs, makes guest appearances, as does Louie, “the dogfather.” But star dog Marie Laveau is in the store every day, six days a week, greeting customers as they come in to shop.

The Chateau le Pooch is unlike any other boarding facility in the state. Each dog has his or her own special suite, complete with a special bed, rugs and toys. Classical music plays throughout the day for a calming atmosphere.

“We take the dogs out and walk them down the Puppy Suds to visit, then we stop by The Snooty Pooch for a snack before taking them back to their suites,” said South. “Of course, we stop in to play as often as we can!”

South said it’s an honor to her to care for others animals. “What we found out is that the best vets in the world hire kids to care for the animals they board. And kids just don’t understand that you can’t leave a dog sitting in disinfectant. We have a loving, professional staff, including a therapist, who care for the animals that have been entrusted to us.”

According to South, the response has been overwhelming. “We may never go anywhere again, but this is a wonderful business and we are thrilled to be doing this!”

Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at andersonwrites@yahoo.com .

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