Photo by Annemarie Donkin
These are photos previously published in the Topanga Messenger.Â From left, Keith and Pat Tomlinson, founders and owners of the Topanga Pet Resort, with their dog, Chen Chen.
When you spy a group of happy dogs with their tails wagging and frolicking in the hills of Old Canyon, it must mean they are visiting the Topanga Pet Resort. With its heritage oaks, shady trails and a wooden bridge over a seasonal stream, it is one of the most beautiful and historic properties in the Canyon.
The Pet Resort is also a state-of-the-art dog boarding, training and doggie daycare resort with spacious indoor runs, air conditioning and hours of outdoor activities supervised by a large, dedicated staff and experienced dog trainers.
Owners Keith and Pat Tomlinson have created such a successful business that it has attracted loyal clients from all over SoCal including Topanga, Agoura, Malibu, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Santa Monica, and Downtown Los Angeles.
In 2019, The Hollywood Reporter listed the Topanga Pet Resort as one of L.A.â€™s Top Ten favorite boarding kennels for celebritiesâ€™ dogs.
History of the
Topanga Pet Resort
After 40 years in Topanga, Guide Dogs for the Blind put its facility up for sale in 2005.
Seeing its potential, its longtime regional field manager and Guide Dog trainer Keith Tomlinson and his wife, Pat, purchased the property and opened the Topanga Pet Resort in 2006, offering dog boarding, training, and doggie daycare. The business thrived and created a loyal following among its clients.
Now, after 16 years, the Tomlinsonâ€™s are ready to retire and move to the Bay Area to be closer to their three grown children and four grandchildren. They have listed the 6.44-acre property at $5 million for the three-bedroom Mid-Century house and swimming pool, and the 4,500 square-foot kennel and facilities.
The Tomlinsonâ€™s acknowledge that their long-time staff wants to purchase the property and preserve the business.
â€śI would just say that we have a very dedicated and passionate group of employees who are great at what they do, love working with dogs and love Topanga; they feel like a family,â€ť Keith Tomlinson said. â€śWe are not in a desperate way, we are just ready to move on, put the place on the market, find a buyer and be with our grandkids.â€ť
Preserving the Pet Resort
â€śWe are both joyous that Pat and Keith will finally get to retire and be with their family and brokenhearted at the thought that the place we call our second home may soon be no more,â€ť wrote Topanga Pet Resort Manager Gini Holtzman on their GoFundMe page.
Holtzman said the staff are trying to raise the $500,000 down payment for the property: gofundme.com/f/save-topanga-pet-resort. She wrote that the perfect scenario would be that the buyer would realize how extraordinarily magical the Topanga Pet Resort is and nothing would change.
â€śThe reality of the situation is that the person who buys the property can and will do whatever they want with the land and that includes opening a different business, building something else, and even tearing down the kennel building,â€ť Holtzman wrote. â€śThis is what my hopes and dreams are: I know I wonâ€™t raise $500,000, but if we can get enough of a buzz, [someone who] loves dogs, loves bringing their dog here may want to invest in this. I believe the universe has plans; I know that what is going to happen, I believe it will stay in our hands. We just need someone to make that happen.â€ť
Topanga Pet Resort is located at 1776 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga, CA 90290. For more information: (310) 455-9663; TopangaPetResort.com.