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Best Pet Love for Pound Pups

I saved Billie, my new border collie mix, from death row. It was late on a Friday night, but there was no way I was leaving her behind. She had lost about 15 pounds in the month she’d been at the shelter, and, eager to feed her, I picked up an emergency bag of dog food from PETCO (it was the only place open late). She wouldn’t eat the food. She was filthy, but I didn’t want to traumatize her further with a dunk in my bathtub.

The next day, on a friend’s recommendation I brought her to Catts & Doggs for grooming. I hadn’t made an appointment and the groomer had gone for the day, but the owner, Virginia Castro, was so stoked that I’d rescued a dog, she gave me some lavender pet toilettes, cleaned the dog’s ears (which were super gross) free of charge and said if I came back tomorrow, she’d come in (on her day off) to wash the dog. She also gave me about 10 sample bags of food. She instructed me to open each one up and place them all around a room and let the dog pick. The next day, she gave me a discount for the dog bath. In fact, she didn’t even take the money for her store, she insisted I put the cash in a jar at the counter, where she collects money to help low-income families spay and neuter their dogs or cats.

Catts & Doggs has been in business for more than a decade, and Castro has her own line of dog beds called Get’m, Get’m, made in downtown L.A. (she also designs custom guitar straps). Anyway, Billie was a star. She was given all kinds of treats and showered with equal doses of high-end shampoos and love. I’d taken her into a few other boutiques in Silver Lake and was surprised at how snobbish places could be about pound pups. Not at Catts & Doggs — Castro knows these pooches need extra attention and care. Billie left looking like a new dog; she could have fooled them at the toniest of pet shops. Not that we’re going anywhere else. Oh, and Billie chose an organic, wheat-free kibble and a “green” toy made from recycled materials. What a good dog!

2833 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake, (323) 953-8383. ?Reservations required for grooming; cash only for services.