Wag Wednesday: Sandy Sanchez and Benoit Rablat & Valentine


Over the past year, we’ve interviewed many members of the hospitality industry, and one constant among the interviewees has been a profound love for their pets. We thought it would be great to share this love with our readers. That’s why we launched an ongoing feature called “Wag Wednesday” to showcase industry peeps and their pets. Know someone who wants to be featured? Email us at bark@miamifoodpug.com.

This week, we’re featuring Sandy Sanchez and Benoit Rablat,‎ Owners of La Fresa Francesa Petit Café, and their teacup French poodle, Valentine

La Fresca Francesa - Valentine Group

Your Name: Sandy and Ben

Your Pet’s Name: Valentine

Sex: Male

Age: 5

Breed: Teacup French poodle

How did you come to own your dog? What drew you to them?

We house-sat for my brother, who Valentine lived with at the time. Their relationship was not working out, but we immediately bonded with Valentine.  A few months later after much soul searching, we all decided Valentine would be a happier pup with us. And it s been a love affair since then.

What’s the story behind your dog’s name? How would you describe your dog’s personality?

Valentine was born on Valentine’s day! However — and more importantly  — he is a LOVER, and he has earned it! He’s the sweetest little dog in the world: grateful and affectionate and loyal. Valentine does have other names he goes by. I often call him Valley or Doggie-Dog; Ben calls him Goat (because he jumps around like a little goat). My dad calls him Pichyrree, and my mom calls him Virindingo. It’s totally bizarre, I know. He must be very confused, but he goes with it.

Valentine is sweet, cuddly, gentle, eager to please and proud. He holds his head up with pride when we walk him, and wags his little tail —  like he’s so happy to finally have found his soulmates. We also share the same pride because we feel so lucky to have him.

How has owning a pet made your life richer?

Animals live in the moment, so to interact with them, we  have to be in the moment. Our lives are pretty busy and our thoughts constantly consumed by La Fresa Francesa. But when we interact with Valley, that all stops and we are in Valley World — laughing because he looks funny (his hair can get crazy) or having an endless conversation with my mother, who will give me every detail of what he did all day.


La Fresca Francesa - Valentine PJs La Fresca Francesa - Valentine Tongue

It’s said that dogs reflect their owners and vice versa. How does this apply to you and yours?

Valentine loves to eat. We love to eat. He will eat all day. So do we. He can also have pretty bad hair days!

Tell us a funny story about your and your dog.

The first time we brought him home, he must have flown from the floor on to our bed. Mind you, he is really tiny and has never been able to jump on the bed since that day. The bed is way too high for him. But on that first day, he must have been so excited. We walked into the bedroom and found him there — the ultimate expression of  “I’m home! and I’m not going anywhere!”

Are you involved in any pet organizations or philanthropies?

We have 3 officially adopted cats that live with us, and we unofficially adopted all the neighborhood cats in Fresa’s surrounding area. We feed them, love them and are in the process of spaying and neutering as many as we can.

We follow a lot of dog social media accounts like Doug the Pug and Menswear Dog. Do you? Which are your favorites?

Miami Food Pug! And … cats of instagram 

See past editions of Wag Wednesdays here.