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Julie Castaneda  | YWCA Women of Excellence

Julie Castaneda | YWCA Women of Excellence

Julie Castaneda
Founder and CEO
Dog Day Afternoon Pet Ranch & Resort

Dog Church

Julie Castaneda, founder and CEO of Dog Day Afternoon Pet Ranch & Resort, and author of Dog Church, is a pioneer in the pet service industry with more than 30 years of unwavering dedication to providing a safe, enriching, social experience for dogs, making her one of the most influential pet care providers in the Midwest.  

Julie is recognized for her commitment to Topeka by her work with YWCA, Valeo, VA, and HSUS, and by the quality of service provided by dog Day afternoon. Armed with her tenacious ambition, Julie created her dog daycare empire by honoring her belief in the sanctity of building relationships. Her steadfast devotion to authenticity, transparency, and peace of mind illuminate her ability to lead by example, not only in business but also in life. Julie illustrates phenomenal leadership with her unique ability to utilize her love of dogs as a conduit on her journey to empowering women and inspiring possibility. 

Her capacity to influence the lives of others by embracing her altruistic nature makes her a philanthropist of empowerment. She is the epitome of influential leadership in all she endeavors. 

TK: What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me. Nature and being outdoors. Animals. Especially dogs and horses. Love. Love is such a powerful energy force, it’s hard not to be influenced by love. But the real juice comes from Possibility. I get so inspired listening to people talk about their dreams for the future. Young, old, yours or mine, I love the possibility found in what we dream of doing or becoming. Those types of conversations leave me buzzing with electricity and I feel empowered to get out there and make something happen!

TK: What advice do you have for others?
Oh wow! My one single piece of advice would be “Never let anyone change your intuition”.  Be your own biggest fan! You can be or do anything! You are stronger than you know! So look inward for your direction, not outward. Everything you need is already inside you. The only thing left to do is trust yourself!

TK: What is the greatest lesson you have learned on your journey?
That I AM ENOUGH! I’m more than enough, actually. 

Too many women are sitting on the bleachers cheering for others, while on the inside their own passion is snuffed out. 

We say we aren’t ready, that we don’t have talent, that we aren’t educated enough, good enough, the timing is off, it’s a dumb idea, family will think we’re crazy, we don’t have the money... the list is endless. But you want to know the truth? The truth is its the POSSIBILITIES that are endless! It’s time to stop sitting on the sidelines! 

When I realized that I had a boldness in me... that I possessed my own greatness.... I became unstoppable! I will never again let the noise of the crowd drown out the music in my heart!


The YWCA is on a mission to empower women at all stages in their careers. Diversity in leadership is particularly vital to our vibrant business community in the Greater Topeka Area.

The YWCA is celebrating 31 years of recognizing Women of Excellence in our community with the theme “Dare to be Powerful.” We dare to be powerful, despite whatever obstacles may present themselves along the way. 

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
- Audre Lorde

Back to Complete List of YWCA Women of Excellence

Carolyn Ward   |  YWCA Women of Excellence

Carolyn Ward | YWCA Women of Excellence

Shelley Ramos  |  YWCA Women of Excellence

Shelley Ramos | YWCA Women of Excellence