Sonoran Desert Pet Resort

Sonoran Desert Pet Resort owners Audrey and Jon Holmes expect an influx of animal stays as summer travel returns.

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

Owned by Audrey and Jon Holmes, the couple have seen an 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,” said Audrey Holmes.

There has been an influx of animals in and out of the Sonoran Desert Pet Resort, testing its safety policy. 

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

Sonoran Desert Pet Resort runs temperament tests to ensure dogs will be calm and even tempered so staff and animals will not be at risk. 

“One test is for daycare 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 walked on a leash and placed in and out of a kennel. They’re also tested on their reaction to objects falling around them. 

At 7 a.m. the next day, owners are required to bring their dogs back to play at the resort’s off-leash pack. 

From there, 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 that show signs of aggression, are stiff and show their teeth. They are not taken into the resort. 

For boarding, dogs are put through a free, 20-minute test during which they are taken in and out of a suite and tested to see if they can go to the indoor park area. 

The tests are also required because dogs are off leash the entire time they are at the Sonoran Desert Pet Resort.

Dogs are allowed to roam in “The Park,” a 2,000-square-foot turf area with quadrants where dogs are rotated in and out of every 20 minutes. 

For dogs that are spending the night, Sonoran Desert Pet Resort has several suites to ensure that they have a comfortable stay.

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

Dogs at the resort are also treated to a pet spa where they can be bathed, have their nails clipped and ears cleaned.

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

“We have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with pet resorts,” Holmes said. “We decided to buy one because we wanted a 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’ve had 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,” Holmes said. 

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

“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 and a half, Holmes and her staff are truly 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.”