Valerie Johnson has always loved animals. The 59-year-old is one of the founding members of the Chico Cat Coalition, and three months ago she and her friend Cheri Lovell started a unique boarding, care and pet rescue in Paradise called Chez Pooche: Bed & Biscuit Boutique (5610 Skyway). Chez Pooche offers dogs and cats the run of a small, quaint, converted home and back yard, along with much pampering, gourmet food, massages, aromatherapy and a selection of high-end pet products (such as a dog tuxedo by “Fursace”). Call 353-5728 for more info.
What’s unique about Chez Pooche?
This is not a kennel. This is a totally loving environment for dogs and cats. They wander in and out as they please with beds and blankets throughout. We have safety pens and a room for senior dogs that are more frail. We can even care for your pet in your home. Plus we offer high-class products like custom doggie treats from Tin Roof Bakery and special shampoo you can’t get just anywhere. Our doggie massages use top ingredients like coconut oil, lemon juice, Epsom salts and aloe vera.
Have you ever tasted the doggie treats?
Yes, we’ve actually eaten them and they’re really good! We asked people where the best bakery was and everyone said, “Tin Roof Bakery,” so we hired them. The treats are all-natural, wheat-free with ingredients like turkey, bacon, spinach and carrots.
Why else might people bring their pets in?
Most [pet owners] are going away for one or more days to visit or go on vacation. Some bring their dogs [here] to be socialized from their fear or aggression. I love to bring them out of it with gentle tones and handling. Dogs get all excited and love to come here. One owner who just dropped her dog off has been following me since 2005 when I had a dog boutique in Roseville’s Galleria mall.
What brought you to Paradise?
I had my dog boutiques and doggie day care in Roseville and Rocklin from 2005 to 2009, but it was too stressful and I couldn’t enjoy the dogs. I have family and grandkids in this area, so it made sense to come here.
You also rescue animals?
Yes, I’ve rescued cats and dogs since I was 4, and helped start the Chico Cat Coalition in the 1990s. We now rescue abandoned cats and dogs and work with Paws of Chico to spay and neuter them. We have two rescued cats that live here which we call “hotel kitties,” and a Chihuahua we found in Chico.