After experiencing layoffs in the late 1990s that left her without a house or a car, Debra Sullivan, now owner of Jackson’s Place Pet Resort & Bakery, decided it was time to start her own business.

The pet care industry was a natural fit for her, having parents who bred and showed French bulldogs and Great Danes. She first started a pooper-scooper business in 2000, later adding pet-walking and sitting services. When Sullivan moved to Montrose in 2004, the opportunity to open Jackson’s Place came when she saw a two-story property for lease.

The day care took off and outgrew that location within 18 months. Eventually, Jackson’s Place moved to Dunlavy Street, and this August marks the day care’s 16th anniversary since opening. Sullivan and her fiance also opened a second location in Midtown last August.

Jackson’s Place, named after Sullivan’s late golden retriever, offers grooming, boarding, and day care to dogs of all ages as well as a bakery with dog cookies and birthday cakes. Sullivan takes pride in Jackson’s Place being the first completely cage-free dog day care in Houston, she said.

“From the time they enter to the time they leave, they’re with their doggy friends or with a caring person,” Sullivan said. “There are no cages or crates, ever—not even when they sleep.”

Employees even sleep with the dogs that stay overnight, and customers who leave their dogs for boarding receive daily reports.

“I want all dogs and customers to feel comfortable and at home,” Sullivan said.

She encourages her employees to add personal touches, she said. For example, one employee includes poems in her daily boarding reports.

“We make sure their dog has the most awesome time in their life, and that way, both the dog and their owner are happy,” Sullivan said.

Jackson’s Place Pet Resort & Bakery

1635 Dunlavy St., Houston


Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.