Tara Evangelist – Certified Groomer & Top Dog


In 2009, my life changed for the better…a 9 week black lab puppy named Mickey was left in my care while his parents tended a weekend conference at McCormick Place. They never came back for him. This was perfect for me because after spending 2 minutes with him, I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

In the summer of 2011, I was laid off and I had the luxury of taking some time to figure out what I really wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to work with animals. I wanted to work at a place where I could bring Mickey with me every day. I came to the conclusion, I should become a Certified Pet Groomer that provided the best animal care possible while using high quality all-natural products, and then offer my services in a warm and inviting environment where they can relax and feel at home. Everything about The Temple was inspired by Mickey, he’s even part of the logo.

I became certified by the Illinois Board of Education in April of 2012 through Doggone Rite Grooming Academy, and worked in a couple of salons and kennels until I officially opened up The Temple in October 2012. During that time, I adopted an elderly (often grumpy) chocolate Cocker Spaniel named Hershey that was left at my grooming school and most recently adopted Trooper, the tail-less German Shepherd with gangrene that was saved by American Animal Rescue Society.

I must say The Temple has the best staff! We treat our clients’ like they’re family and their pets as though they are our own. They are pampered, expertly groomed, and most of all loved.

Rachel Giles – Client Care & Salon Manager

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That adorable Pittie next to me is Ella! She came along in need of a new home, and with one look at that face – I knew I was meant to be hers. She is my best friend and I love her so much so I have her tattoed on my arm! Since having her, my love for the breed has grown stronger. I have become an advocate for Pit Bulls and all other misunderstood breeds.

Through our struggles with allergies, I have taken on a new love for learning about holistic remedies, pet nutrition and all things dog! There is nothing better than spending my days covered in dog hair, slobber and seeing them smile.

I am excited to be part of the Temple family to further expand my knowledge and experience with dogs & cats!

Elvia Mabbitt – Dog Bather

At 14 I got my first dog. Ever since then my love for dogs grew and grew. I currently have 4 dogs, and would love to have more. I went through difficult times trying to find a career dealing with animals that I enjoyed. I found a job as a dog handler, which has helped me learn a lot about animal behavior and training. Although I enjoy dog handling, I love to using my creativity to help animals look and feel good here at the Temple.

Dakota Oliver – Grooming Assistant

Since I was a child, my family always had animals. Cats, ferrets, snakes, birds; you name it, we probably had one or two running about the house. Our first pup came from an animal shelter I volunteered for at age 13. Every time I was outside, this dog would lock eyes with me and whine until I said hello. She ignored everyone but me. I knew her home was with my family.

I followed my love for animals and started bathing dogs in 2009. After a year, the owner of the shop I worked for taught me how to groom. I used my skills to get me through college, and earn an undergraduate degree in Animal Wellness/Behavior.

After earning my degree, I came back to Chicago and tried grooming for a while. I discovered it was no longer for me. Most places I tried working were only looking to make a quick buck and didn’t seem to care about the treatment of their animal clients.

Fortunately, I earned a Grooming Assistant position at Temple of the Dog and Meow Lounge, and absolutely love working with the staff and clients! Everyone here is positive and truly love their furry comrades. After working here, I wouldn’t suggest any other place to bring your canine or feline companion for their spa day.

Jessica Villa – Grooming Manager

All of my life I knew I wanted a career that included my passion for animals. In 2007, I found that in grooming. I began working and acquired my certification through Petsmart.

After working for a major corporation for so long I knew it was time for a change. I wanted something more personal where I could connect with the clients and use my grooming and scissoring talents more frequently. I found this at The Temple!

I love grooming all types of dogs from the littlest to the biggest. I always take great care with everyone that comes in. It’s my goal for my passion to show in my grooms, and for my furry and human clients to leave happy and always wanting to return!

 Nyleen Molina РCertified Pet Stylist

My love and passion for working with pets started at my after school job washing dogs. I got my certification and worked for a major corporate for 10years. I quit because I lost the genuine connection with my pups and clients. I was constantly rushing through my grooms in order to get to the next. I didn’t find this to be fair to them or their parents.

At The Temple, it’s about quality over quantity. I’m able to discuss what their pet’s needs are and how I can help. I am so happy to be part of the team and reconnect with my passion and clients.

Lisette Santiago – Certified Dog Stylist


My love for dogs started at an early age. My first dog was a terrier mix named Toby. This love I had for dogs continue to grow and in 2003, I began a dog grooming career at Petco as a bather. In 2005, I became a certified groomer and the rest is history. I take pride in my work, and I go the extra mile to make sure my pets and owners are pleased. Customer satisfaction is very important to me!

I am the proud owner of two dogs: a poodle named Kells and Frenchie named Sophie. My love for dogs will never end!