Animal Haven – Lifestyles of the Urban and Furry

In 1996, if you had told us that Pussy & Pooch would be at the epicenter of the DTLA pet community, we wouldn’t have imagined it. Pausing to reflect on the decade milestone of LA Lofts in the last issue, we have been reminiscent of one of our own today, as I celebrate transplanting from Cleveland to Los Angeles 19 years ago. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising/FIDM and former staff member of the design college, I first became a DTLA resident in 2001. Having made the long journey from Ohio to California with my two cats in tow, for years I had to do my pet related errands all over town, schlepping heavy cat litter, and searching for premium foods & grooming services. My then soon-to-be husband and business partner had a similar situation, albeit suburban experience, as a dog-owner transplant from Toronto to San Diego. It goes without much saying that the urban landscape in DTLA all those years ago was dramatically different than what we have today and without any shred of an actual or dynamic ‘pet community’. As our personal relationship developed over time, so did our affinity toward pet specialty retail stores, seeking out the local pet stores wherever we would travel as a way to treat our pets to something fun and unique. The inkling to create a pet specialty retail store in DTLA for modern residents and their pets began in 2005, as we continued to be inspired by the renaissance happening all around us… the Historic Core being ground zero for the pet-loving community. Launching Pussy & Pooch was our way of sharing something special with our neighborhood-at-large and ultimately has been something that has built a strong community of pet people, some may even say, an ‘animal haven’. In turn those ‘pet people’ have changed the face of DTLA four paws at a time, making our neighborhoods safer, more comfortable, more dynamic, and for those of us with fur kids, a lot more enjoyable. 

What started as an idea to create a pet-friendly amenity (with the name not easy to forget) has now developed into 4 locations and an award winning a pet lifestyle brand that is known locally and places around the world in 10 short years. Creating a design forward, edgy and fun retail experience that could be appreciated by our creative community of artists, designers, entertainment professionals and others-- for people who love their animals as much as we do ours—becoming a trusted pet care resource for health, wellness, and urban lifestyle, that is who we are.

We’ve enjoyed a great number of clients-- both human and non human-- obviously we are known for cats and dogs, but have had a wild assortment of in-store visitors that have included rabbits, pigs, parrots, and even an iguana and a pair of llamas!

Many people were curious and frankly were shocked by what we created when we opened our doors near the end of 2007. Our proximity in the Historic Core to Skid Row has not gone unnoticed. An interesting fact about Pussy & Pooch is that just as our animals reserve judgment and love unconditionally, we have accepted our community for what it is, and in turn have had the respect and business from many of our neighboring people, including the Skid Row residents. Where two worlds potentially collide over gentrification, they actually peacefully coexist in our world when united by bonds of animal companionship. We’re proud to become a solid resource for all things related to pet care and for every demographic woven into our diverse culture. Our single most important job is to help others care for their animals. 

For DTLA residents caring for animals, we’ve established a fun, safe, clean, social spot to unite the pet community and supporting it in many ways though outreach, fundraising, donations of products/services, hosting adoption events, and advocating animal welfare. Our monthly Mutt Mingles on the last Tuesday of the month are a great socialization opportunity for pups – and people alike. Situated within Gallery Row, flashing back to Artwalk in the early days when we were featuring a collection of local artists in our Bailey Gallery; Animal-themed artwork sales transpired where our Meat Market pet food aisles are now currently shopped.

A lot has changed over the years as our city takes shape. It’s an awesome feeling to think of all the new puppies/kittens we’ve met and watched grow; the newly adopted rescues getting acclimated to a new environment; the somber loss of lifelong friends who’ve gone to the Rainbow Bridge; old neighbors/friends; new neighbors/friends, and ever evolving human relationships; even those that move away from DTLA may still come back—what remains constant is at heart—our city, and our pets of DTLA.

Insider Tip | Our Favorite DTLA Pet Friendly Place

Q| Where is the best park to walk your dogs?

Vista Hermosa Natural Park

Located at the western gateway to Downtown, 10.5-acre Vista Hermosa Park is an urban natural park developed and maintained by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) that boldly returns the serenity and diversity of nature to the Los Angeles urban core. The park features walking trails, streams, meadows, oak savannahs, picnic grounds, and a nature-themed playground amidst native Mediterranean vegetation. Address: 100 N. Toluca Street - the park is on First Street west of the 110 (Harbor Freeway) between Beaudry and Glendale Blvd.