Sunday Costell was always an animal lover. She became an animal nurse at age 20, and was soon a veterinary technician and professional groomer. She was then lured away from animal nursing by the more exotic service industries, but continued to groom and minister to her friends' furry friends. Two years ago she returned to her first love and opened the Dog and Cat Spa in scenic Milwaukie. There she offers boarding, grooming, daycare, training, a holistic store, and even shuttle service. She hopes to open four new stores in the next five years, and use the proceeds to fund her dream of opening a "Dog Camp" where troubled youth and juvenile delinquents can be housed while learning to train dogs from animal shelters, teaching the young 'uns empathy and enabling the animals to become more adoptable. Of course Sunday takes her work home with her: Her deep-purple suburban manse hums with the joyous cacophony of four dogs, three cats, four cockatiels, and one two-year-old.
What's your favorite breed?
English Mastiffs. They're big huge dogs that are incredibly docile, big couch potatoes.
Probably Akitas. I've been bit in the face at least eight times by Akitas and Chows. Their temperament is so hard to read. They give no warning signs before they attack. Still, I love working with them, and with all the breeds. I love the challenge. This Thanksgiving we had 120 dogs and cats at the spa. It was the best Thanksgiving of my life. It was heaven.
What's the hardest part of the job?
It's physically very taxing. And it can be difficult to see how some people treat their animals. A man once brought in a very high-strung Shih Tzu. When we told him the animal couldn't be groomed without sedation, he got really mad and started punching the little dog. We have a lot of abandoned animals; people drop off their dogs or cats for boarding and never come back. We eventually find them all homes. Right now we have an incredibly sweet Staffordshire Terrier that's been at the spa for five months. She's a pitbull so no one wants her.
Any recommendations for pet toys?
There's this new revolving Kong toy that dispenses a fresh Kong every two hours. It's awesome, especially for dogs that are home alone for eight hours.Do you ever do any unusual grooming cuts, like a mohawk?
Totally. I offer a free cut to any of my neighbors who will let me do a mohawk. But then I get to add the food coloring, too! I recently did a green mohawk on a Cairn Terrier mix. I'm not sure how much the owner loved it, but her kids sure did.