Pampering Houston's Pets for Nearly 40 Years
Pampered Pet Inn has been serving generations of pets since 1982 in the very same spot where it stands today. Originally a modest grooming and lodging business, PPI has become a landmark in the Rice/West U area and expanded to offer even more services as the years went by. While the original owners may have started the business, the PPI that we all know and love was inspired by the passion of one woman: Ellen O’Connor.
Ellen grew up in Houston, attending Marian Christian High School and graduating the year that PPI was founded. She began as a groomer’s apprentice in early 1988, and, soon after, found herself at Pampered Pet Inn doing what she loves,
“My whim of being a dog groomer after trying many other fields turned into my passion. It was an unexpected joy, and I discovered I had a talent for it. I had always believed you should be happy, find your passion, and then find a way to make a living doing it. Sometimes you have to follow a whim.”
She spent 15 years gaining experience and honing her craft before being diagnosed with Lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. After six months of chemotherapy, Ellen decided it was time to jump into life head-on and achieve her dream of owning her own grooming salon. In 2003, she approached PPI’s original owners to submit her resignation and start her new journey, but was met with an unexpected offer: purchasing Pampered Pet Inn. In 2004, PPI was hers, and the adventure began!
Pampered Pet Inn quickly became a family business. Ellen raised her two daughters, Erin and Mary Kate, at the shop, having them help out here and there and gradually take on more responsibility. Her employees included their children in the PPI family as well. Jose Martinez, a manager that worked for PPI for many years, raised his daughter, Sam, alongside Erin and Mary Kate. Sam went on to succeed him in his role, and all three women work together to this day.
Sadly, 30 years of grooming has taken its toll on Ellen, and she has stepped down from many of her responsibilities. While she continues to groom, arthritis makes it continuously more difficult to take on long hours in the grooming room. However, she plans to continue as long as she is physically able, and hopes to pass on her skill by teaching an apprentice of her own.
Erin has taken over as the acting CEO of Pampered Pet Resorts, and Mary Kate has taken on the role of Doggie Daycare Coordinator. Together, the sisters are now raising their own children in the PPI family. Along with working together to grow PPI, they devised a plan to create Pampered Pet Recreation Center, a brand-new facility specializing in PPI’s enrichment-based daycare program. This facility opens September 2020, and offers fantastic new features like a state-of-the-art doggie splash pad, a sensory garden, and over 16,000 sq. ft. of play space. In honor of this addition to the Pampered Pet portfolio, they created a parent company called Pampered Pet Resorts to oversee the two (and, hopefully, more to come) facilities.
As always, Pampered Pet Resorts will continue their mission of serving generations of pets for years to come and honoring Ellen’s dream. While Erin and Mary Kate would never pressure their children into continuing the family tradition of taking on Pampered Pet Resorts, they hope that the cousins will find a passion for the family business, much like they did, and work together to continue pampering pets when they feel ready. The future is truly bright for Pampered Pet Resorts!