Sonoran Desert Pet Resort

Jon Holmes, Audrey Holmes and Kaiser care for animals at Sonoran Desert Pet Resort in Anthem.

Sonoran Desert Pet Resort offers a getaway for animals staying for a few hours or days at a time. 

Owned by Audrey and Jon Holmes, the couple have seen a “refreshing” uptick in the number of dogs in their 8,000-square-foot facility in Phoenix. They only expect to see more as people go out of town this summer.

“I think that everybody is itching to go somewhere so that’s great for our business after the difficult year we just endured,” said Audrey Holmes.

There has been an influx of animals in and out of the Sonoran Desert Pet Resort for day care and overnight boarding. . 

“Our main goal is safety,” Holmes said. “We’re really big into temperament testing every dog that comes into our facility.” 

Sonoran Desert Pet Resort runs temperament tests to ensure all dogs are calm and even tempered so staff and animals are safe.

“One test is for day care and that is a much more in-depth temperament test that takes about an hour and costs $25,” Holmes said. 

During this test, dogs are tested to ensure they are good candidates for off-leash, group play. Since there can be up to 20 dogs in day care, the staff needs to ensure every dog is loose and nonaggressive before being accepted into day care.  The day care temperament tests are conducted by appointment only at 7 a.m. Monday to Thursday.

During the test, the dog is identified in one of three categories: green, yellow or red. The resort wants about 80% of its dogs to be green. 

“We want mostly green dogs,” Holmes said. “Green dogs are loose, happy and really easy going and yellow dogs are cautionary dogs or dogs that can be reactive or protective.”

Red dogs, which are dogs who show signs of aggression, are stiff, reactive and can show their teeth. They are never accepted into the resort. 

For boarding, dogs are put through a free, 20-minute temperament test during which they are taken in and out of a kennel suite and tested to see if they can easily walk on a leash and go to the indoor park area without a problem.

“We watch for resource guarding, which can make a dog aggressive,” Holmes said.

For dogs who are spending the night, Sonoran Desert Pet Resort has suites in a variety of sizes to ensure a comfortable stay.

The signature suite is called the “Dog Condo,” which is a 6-feet by 8-feet private room and includes a television and an elevated bed. 

The resort also has a pet spa where customers can have their dogs bathed, nails clipped and ears cleaned.

The couple want pet owners to feel comfortable leaving their dogs while at work or on vacation. 

“From having dogs of our own, we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with pet resorts,” Holmes said. “We decided to buy one because we wanted a nice place to leave our dogs when we go on vacation.” 

Customers have only had rave reviews about the resort and the care it takes of its animals. 

“We have customers who have been coming to us for years and they know that they can rely on us for excellent care and that their dogs will not just be sitting in a kennel. All boarding dogs are constantly rotated into our indoor park area all day long,” Holmes said. 

Dogs are not the only animals that Sonoran Desert Pet Resort takes in. They have housed chinchillas, hedgehogs, guinea pigs and turtles, just to name a few. 

“As long as we can safely handle the animal and we have the space for it, we’re happy to take them in,” Holmes said. 

After enduring a financially difficult year, Holmes and her staff are thankful that their customers kept the resort in business. 

“We count our blessings that we have the loyal customers that we do,” Holmes said. “We’re lucky to have our doors still open.”