About Us

Erin and Leif Onstad

Hi! We’re the proud owners of Ponga’s Pet Palace. Our business opened August 26, 2006 and Blackie J was our very first boarder. Since then we have truly enjoyed pampering the pets of the Northshore of the Greater New Orleans area.

Erin and Leif | Ponga’s Pet Palace | Pet Grooming, Boarding, Doggie Day Care | Mandeville, Covington, Madisonville, Lacombe, LA

Erin has always had a love for animals. This passion was exhibited over many years of volunteer work with groups such as the Visiting Pet Program, LA-SPCA, LISA, St. Tammany Humane Society and annual participation in Woofstock and Mardi Paws. She also assisted in caring for abandoned pets in the aftermath of Katrina.

Erin’s career with pets began in 1990 when she was employed as a veterinary technician who was quickly promoted to clinic manager for nine years.  Over the years, she has obtained numerous certificates related to the pet industry. She has been named a veterinary nutritional advisor and consultant through the Hill’s Pet Food Company. Erin, Leif and other staff members have Pet First Aid and CPR Certification.

She regularly attends seminars and continuing education classes focusing on pet nutrition, illness, skin conditions and treatment, dental procedures and most recently pet CPR. Erin attended Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans for a portion of her freshman year before moving to Gulf Shores, Alabama and completing her education at Foley High School. Although she did not graduate from college, she attended the University of New Orleans while managing the veterinary hospital. Erin was a biology major and earned over one hundred credit hours.

Leif was a senior vice president of a Louisiana based corporation for fifteen years, managing large and small commercial facilities. After college, he was involved in the television and film industry. He is a Brother Martin High School graduate and a University of New Orleans graduate with a degree in Communications.

Erin and Leif have been married since 1992. Although they have no human children, their babies are their two dogs, Willow and Jake, and their cats Fred, Lamont and Elizabeth at home and Fiona and Oliver at Ponga’s Pet Palace.

They enjoy attending pet seminars to expand their knowledge in order to educate their clients and staff members as well as keep up with the latest trends.

Erin and Leif always envisioned opening a pet resort and work happily together daily to truly make Ponga’s a one-of-a-kind Pet Palace!

black dog with t-shirt | Ponga’s Pet Palace | Pet Grooming, Boarding, Doggie Day Care | Mandeville, Covington, Madisonville, Lacombe, LA

Blackie J
Ponga’s Pet Palace’s 1st Customer

Certifications and Affliations

At Ponga’s Pet Palace we make sure to be certified and take classes to offer the best we can to your pet. Here are some our credentials.

Pet First Aid
Creative Groomer

Sheltie Rescue
Greyhound Pets of America

Northshore Humane Society
Local schools and sports organizations
Mardi Paws
Bark Week

Our Staff

We’re eager to care for you and your pet and feel that our jobs are exceptionally rewarding.

Staff respect and admiration are extremely important to Erin and Leif. This job requires compassion and respect towards the pets. We all take great pride in our jobs and this extra care will result in you, the pet owner, realizing that your baby truly enjoyed his/her stay with us.

Letter to Ponga

Dear Ponga,

From the first time I saw your pretty face, I knew that I had been blessed with the opportunity to be the mother of a truly unique dog.

You began sharing your love with the community when you were nearly one year old. We began our mission by volunteering at local public schools and the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter with the community informing children of proper pet care and the important of staying in school to pursue career interests.

Although, we paraded every year from 1993 through 2004, we proudly paraded through the Vieux Carre during Mardi Gras 1996, with you, Ponga, reigning as the Duchess of the Krewe of Barkus Parade.

Ponga, I truly enjoyed our visits to senior citizen homes and children’s hospitals while we were members of the Visiting Pet Program from 1993-2002. Their motto is “Bringing Love and Leaving Smiles” and it certainly was a fitting motto. The love you brought, Ponga, was so genuine and the smiles you left on my face, as well as others, was authentic.

In August 1999, the fund-raiser held for LISA (League in Support of Animals) was greatly appreciated and your hard work commended. Additionally, the fund-raiser held for Visiting Pet Program in December 2000, was another success. Our annual fundraiser, Ponga’s Pet Pawty began in December 2000 and along with the contributions from sponsors, we’ve been able to support your pet friends of the LA-SPCA.

The LA-SPCA so proudly represented and respected you for your commitment and dedication to their very special cause. Ponga, I’m so proud of your achievements; namely, 3rd Place Chairdog in LA-SPCA’s Dog Day Afternoon in years 2001 and 2002. Congratulations on being 2nd Deputy Chairdog for 2003 and 1st Deputy Chairdog for 2004. I’m so amazingly proud of you for obtaining the position in 2005 of Honorable Chairdog. No other was as honorable as you. (Remember, this statement is certainly from a mother’s perspective!!)

Ponga, you inspired me to build a site, not only in your name, but a facility you and other canines and felines could call their “home away from home.” In your memory, Ponga’s Pet Palace will always treat and respect all visitors with the utmost of care and love and attention that our furry friends so truly deserve. The love and compassion you instilled in me, Ponga, will always remain and shine in my servitude of Ponga’s Pet Palace.

Even though I’m here without you, Ponga, I promise this to you, as my way of thanking you for so many years of love and service given to me as well as those who needed your graciousness in their lives.

Love Always,
Mama – Erin Tracy Onstad

Erin and Ponga | Ponga’s Pet Palace | Pet Grooming, Boarding, Doggie Day Care | Mandeville, Covington, Madisonville, Lacombe, LA