Wow. What a journey. I can't believe I'm writing a long overdue blog post from our reception area overlooking the beautiful King's Heights dog park.
Lots to be thankful for
Just over a week ago, on Monday, October 26th we had our grand opening celebration. We had a ribbon cutting ceremony and I said a few words; well, more than a few words but I wanted to make sure I reached everyone who helped make my dream became a reality. Since I’m overdue for a blog post, I would like to take this opportunity to express a heartfelt thank you to the following individuals:
First and foremost, a huge thank you to Scott, Rick and Jeff from WPI Renovations. These guys took an empty concrete bay and transformed it into a place we can call home. From ensuring we have exceptional heating, ventilation to a functioning and properly placed toilet, these guys were never more than a phone call away.
Thank you to Corey and the team at Centaur Products for installing our floor. Safety and sanitation is very important, so having a low impact, sealed, waterproof floor that's super easy to clean (we sweep and mop every day!) is a great feature for our puppy pals.
In line with safety, a huge thank you to Sean with Home Rail for installing our double gates and fenced off areas.
Feeling the love
The Airdrie Business Community! Thank you for all the support, the referrals and the guidance. I am so privileged to know so many strong entrepreneurs.
Our amazing clients. I know that most companies say they have the best clients, but we really do! Your beautiful flowers, yummy goodies and offers to help setting up the daycare are appreciated more than you know. We not only love your fur babies, but are incredibly grateful for your encouragement and support.
My fantastic team. Seriously, I have such a fantastic team. Words cannot express how much I love and am grateful for all of you! Holly, Becky, Nicole, Ryan, Chantel, Ray and Alora you are the heart of Airdrie Puppy Pals. Thank you for choosing to join me on this crazy ride, to grow with me and to share your love and passion for all puppy pals.
My parents. For taking my late night phone calls and helping me talk through decisions and for driving all the way from Winnipeg for two days for our Grand Opening event! (I found out on Tuesday my father was having kidney stone attacks but nothing would stop him from being there for our big day!) If anyone wants to know where I get my stubbornness, determination and family values from, well now you know ;)
Last; but certainly not least, my amazingly supportive husband Ray. Mr. Puppy Pals - you wear so many hats. You are our painter and interior designer, our retail manager, our dog walker, our chief financial officer, graphic designer, website administrator and Mr. fix-whatever-we-need-fixed. You do so many things that enable us to focus on provided the best of care to our puppy pals. Without you, this would not be possible <3
Until next time, we will see you at the (King's Height off leash) dog park :)
Please give a warm welcome to Airdrie Puppy Pal's first guest Blogger - Chantel.
Chantel is fur mom to Gunner a German Short Haired Pointer, Oakley a Weimaraner and Bennie a beagle. Chantel enjoys walks, puppy playtime and lots of snuggle time with her fur babies.
Depending on where you go, and who you talk to, you’re likely to get varying opinions on pet insurance and whether or not it’s a necessity. I am no expert on the matter, but I do have some recent personal experience that someone out there may find useful.
Bennie the Beagle
I have a Beagle named Bennie. He turned 7 years old in June. When I first got him at 8 weeks old and took him to my local vet office, they recommended pet insurance, handed me a brochure and said I could enroll for free for a free month and then decide if I wanted to keep it. I enrolled for the free month and thought “what a great thing I am doing for my little beagle buddy, he is going to be so safe and protected!” When the free month was up, I cancelled the insurance. Part of my decision was naïve in thinking that he was so young nothing would or could go wrong and I could worry about it later, the other part was because I was in school and it didn’t seem like a necessary expense at the time. Flipping through that brochure and reading about all the different packages and what was and wasn’t covered was also rather overwhelming and I didn’t take the time to really evaluate whether or not it would be a worthwhile investment.
Fast-forward to 4 years later. I took Bennie for a checkup and the vet noticed that he had cracked a tooth. A piece was actually missing. Of course I asked what the impact of that would be, if he would need a filling or how on earth that worked for dogs?! They told me that he could need a filling or a root canal, depending on how bad it turned out to be, but I could watch it and make sure I am brushing his teeth and go from there. They gave me quotes for the filling and root canal and I about had a heart attack. So, I asked them about pet insurance and whether or not something like that would be covered. They gave me the name of the company they work with, I looked into it and enrolled Bennie later that day.
I never ended up going through with the filling or root canal because I brush my dog’s teeth and I was keeping an eye on it. It hasn’t gotten any worse, but I felt better knowing I had the insurance. I have yet to cancel the insurance because my logic this time around is that he is older and unexpected issues may arise etc.
So, fast-forward another year. We get Oakley. An adorable Weimaraner. I thought about the insurance thing, but for whatever reason my “he’s young enough” reasoning won out again. Another year later we got Gunner, our GSP. Same deal here. Bennie was the only one with insurance up until two weeks ago...
It Happened Fast
In early April of this year, right before Oakley turned two, he had a major medical issue and it happened fast. He was vomiting, there was blood, he didn’t want to eat or drink, he was extremely lethargic. We took him to the vet and they were immediately concerned. He had a fever and was extremely dehydrated. They had to send us to an emergency facility in Calgary to hospitalize him on IV because they do not have the equipment or staff here in Airdrie to do that. We hurried over there in rush hour traffic and I am bawling my eyes out because we don’t know what’s wrong with our baby. We had to wait FOREVER to be seen by the emergency doctor. They did a few more tests and diagnosed him with a condition called HGE. I’m not even going to try and explain it, but it’s a gastrointestinal issue. They admitted him that night and had him on IV fluids for a day and a half. Going home that night without him broke my heart. The bed felt so empty.
Thankfully he recovered well and was back to his happy self only a couple days later, but it was quite the scare. I thought “we should really enroll him for insurance too” but we thought, this wouldn’t be covered now anyway since its pre-existing etc. and we didn’t.
Well, this month I took Bennie for his routine checkup and the vet recommended removing a lump on his eye that hadn’t gotten smaller since last year. He also had one on his side. The assured me that both growth removals would be covered under insurance, so I booked it. Before the surgery I had the pre-anesthetic blood work done and we had another scare. They thought he might have kidney disease. I asked them if it would be covered under insurance, and they said yes. Thankfully the kidney thing was nothing, but they submitted the claim for the growth removals and it was approved and they would cover 90% of the expenses. Even though I still had to pay my deductible, having the insurance was a huge help in this instance.
Because of that, we enrolled Oakley and Gunner the day after that claim was approved.
How You Feel About It
Deciding whether or not to get pet insurance really depends on your situation and how you feel about it. It’s still a struggle for me because it seems like a waste to pay that premium every month if you never have to use it, but you also don’t want to have to use it because that would mean something is wrong with your pet. Depending on the deductible you pick, your premium could be higher or lower, but the lower your premium is, the higher the deductible so then it really depends on the severity of the issue you need to submit a claim for. Submitting a claim for something that’s covered but only costs $200 when your deductible is $600 doesn’t make any sense. In my case, Bennie’s surgery was $1500 and my deductible was $650, so it did help. Oakley’s issue cost us $2000, so it would have been helpful in that situation too. Thankfully Gunner hasn’t had any issues yet, but with all of this going on I had a pit in my stomach every time I took him to the dog park and he started rough housing with other dogs.
I can’t tell you whether or not to get pet insurance, but I can tell you that it has helped me, even if just for peace of mind. So, where do you stand?
Want to be an Airdrie Puppy Pals Guest Blogger? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org :)
In our house, summertime is synonymous with fresh fruit. We love it; however, we often don't enjoy the entire tub of berries before they get too soft for our taste. When fresh fruit is too soft for your preference, but hasn’t gone mouldy, it’s the perfect time to bake or cook with them and make some yummy puppy treats! Today we tried two quick and easy recipes for our puppy pals using strawberries and blueberries.
Are berries safe?
Yes! In moderation. A Costco sized container of blueberries may cause your puppy pal some diarrhea but the amounts we're going to use in these recipes are small (and you're not going to give your puppy pal all the treats at once!) Both strawberries and blueberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which can help strengthen the immune system, slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of canine chronic diseases.
This was so easy! First, wash and prep your fruit. (I used about 5 large strawberries and a handful of blueberries). Then add to a blender with about one tablespoon of honey and, if needed, a bit of water. Blend really, really well. Pour into mold (I used these super cute bone trays I got from The Bone & Biscuit), freeze for 2 hours and then serve.
An easy-to-make cookie with minimal ingredients.
A few notes. The batter is very sticky! This portion filled about 1/2 a cookie tray and made a few dozen decent sized cookies (I just use a knife and cut the cooked dough into squares.). Not wanting to have the oven on for 40 minutes on a hot summer day, I opted for 25 minutes/soft cookie.
Rosa and Ryder approved! Mr. Puppy Pals was sad when he looked in the fridge/freezer and saw these delicious goodies were on reserve for the dogs! (Even though if you wanted you could absolutely share these snacks with both your fur and human family members).
Until next time, we will see you at the dog park :)
When Ryder was an 8 week old puppy (almost two years ago now!) we registered him for Purina's "My Puppy" program. Outside of the welcome kit and birthday emails, I haven't received many emails from Purina, so seeing one pop into my inbox peaked my attention. Specifically the headline: "Is Ryder a Pet Hero". Opening the email and clicking the headline redirected me to read more about a contest called "Better Together". To enter, you write your story and submit a picture. Now as i'm reading and I look up to see Ryder sniffing out some goose poop (yuck!!) and I had to laugh - my hero, the goose poop sniffer. (Side note: He did not eat said poop, I said "No!" and he turned his attention to his sister Rosa who was playing in some long grass). So as I read more about the contest and the current submissions, I started to realize how i've learned from both of my pups.
Rosa is a 2.5 year old Alberta Rescue Foundation rescue dog we first met when she was 4.5 months old at the Pet Expo at Spruce Meadows. A shy puppy, hiding on a box under a table choose to come out and say hello (she sat in front of Mr. Puppy Pals and gave him her paw <3 ). We were the first couple she showed affection to, the first couple to go and meet her and we couldn't be happier she waited, in hiding, to choose us.
Rosa has shown me how to be a strong, independent, alpha female. The importance of running and chasing my friends through the tall grass, and then to take time out for myself and sit in the silence of a cold room. To stay calm and composed, but to know when to raise my voice. To explore curiosities, be stubborn, yet respectful, and always make time for belly rubs and cookies.
Ryder is an almost 2 year old Alberta Rescue Foundation rescue. We had scheduled a visit with another adoptable pup who upon meeting, had no interest in us what-so-ever! Ryder wiggled his little furry bum over and started nibbling on my big toe. It was love at first bite. (Note: The other puppy found her forever home a few weeks later).
Through his unwavering loyalty, Ryder instills the importance and value of family and togetherness. He encourages me to gaze into the blue sky and chase the flies but never loose track of what and who is important. As busy and as distracted we we get, to remember to check-in. Ryder is very brave and headstrong. He reminds me to chase my dreams but know my limits. That it's okay to be goofy, to grunt at the small stuff but never ever pass up the opportunity for a snuggle.
The small stuff
With Airdrie Puppy Pals, we work with a lot of dogs; young, young at heart, high energy, relentless energy, and some with behavioral problem. Owning a dog and being a fur parent can be a lot of work. I often hear the exhaustion and frustration. However in our attempts as humans to be the pack leader, to correct, modify, and train it's important we don't overlook the gifts. As a puppy Rosa ate her share of shoes and while potty training Ryder peed, well, everywhere. (e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e... ) My advice, hang in there. Material items can be replaced and surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected. Take the time to admire and appreciate the little things... the big things, the young things, the old things and most importantly all the furry things.
Until next time... see you and your furry ones at the dog park!
This past weekend, Mr. Puppy Pals (Ray) and I had planned to take our pups to the Canmore off-leash area on Sunday morning. We thought it would be a fun family outing, weather permitting, and the dogs could play in the water (our guys love water!). Well, Sunday morning came and went and by early afternoon we changed our plans and decided to go to the Cochrane Off-Leash area instead of Canmore.
Everything happens for a reason...
When we finally get to the off-leash area about 200 meters from the parking lot our boy Ryder is trying to climb down the very steep embankment to get to the water. We kept calling him back but he persisted and eventually went down the slope. A little panicked, we headed over to check if he was okay and we found, what we later learn to be, a golden lab named Abby.
Without hesitation, Ray headed down the embankment to go check on this pup who looked to be in pretty rough shape. He slowly and calmly approached her and she thankfully let him. She was shivering, chattering her teeth, and was unable to stand on her own. She had a collar on, but no tags or a license.
Keeping everyone safe...
Since she seemed to be responding well to Ray and Ryder's presence, Ray conducted a first aid assessment while I provided pet specific instructions from up above. (Ray hasn't had a chance to attend the Pet First Aid Course yet but is a certified Wilderness First Responder. He tells me the assessment process is very similar). The pup didn't seem to be in any pain, her breathing wasn't labored, and her pupils looked okay; however she was unable to stand on her own,
((At this point people started walking up to see what's going on including our two new friends Kim, a volunteer with AARCS, and Jen, a volunteer with Calgary Humane Society.))
After we determined it was safe to move the pup, Ray looped the handle of our leash over her mouth as a makeshift muzzle, and lifted her up out of the tree branches and muddy ground. (Super Important Note: when animals are injured or afraid, even the friendliest and most submissive dog can snap. It's very important to first keep yourself safe, as it's very hard to administer pet first aid when you have no fingers).
When Ray and Abby reached the top of the embankment, we checked again for ID and then Kim called the AARCS emergency line for some direction. We decided to take the pup to a vet clinic to check and see if she was microchipped (so we could find her family) and injured. Still unable to stand on her own, Ray and another gentleman carried her the 200 meters back to Kim's truck. Here we wrapped her in a blanket and tried to warm her up a bit.
At this point one person in our group notices a woman pacing on a nearby bridge. He calls over and asks if she was looking for a lost dog - turns out she is helping a boy named Michael look for their missing 14 year old family farm dog named Abby. A quick phone call and a relieved Michael was soon at Abby's side.
A happy ending.
In talking with Abby's family, we learned Abby has some issues with her hind legs and hips. Even though she didn't appear to be in shock, she did seem exhausted so we strongly suggested the family take her to a vet to get checked. (I will follow up with the family in a few days and see how she is doing)
I am so incredibly proud of both Ray and Ryder.
Ryder had a "Timmy's fallen down the well" Lassie moment and Ray without hesitation bolted down the embankment to help a distressed Abby.
I'm also incredibly thankful to have Pet First Aid training. I know I say this often, but confidently knowing what to check for, how to keep yourself safe, how to keep Abby and the other dogs in the off-leash area safe to me was and is priceless.
Until next time, see you at the dog park!
Tomorrow is our first annual National Cupcake Day fundraising event for the Alberta SPCA. Fantastic individuals from our community have stepped up to make and donate yummy cupcakes, so we decided to make pupcakes.
Doggie Pupcakes with Yogurt-Peanut Butter Frosting
We found this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker (http://www.browneyedbaker.com/) Usually recipes (we find) need a little tweaking, but this one was pretty bang on. Quick, easy and inexpensive to make. Here we go...
Note: We made the frosting while the pupcakes were in the oven, and kept it in the freezer while pupcakes were cooling.
Rosa & Ryder Approved!
So swing by The Bone & BIscuit on Saturday February 14th from 12pm to 4pm and pick up a pupcake! Then if your pup likes them (which come on, it's peanut butter yumminess) you can make them at home yourself.
Until next time, see you at the dog park :)
A few weeks ago the City of Airdrie published proposed changes to the Airdrie Animal Control Bylaw. The major changes include a variety of different items including, but not limited to, dog in motor vehicles, leash lengths, cycling with animals, dogs on pathways, vicious dogs, and kennel time.
We posted links to the bylaws on our social media accounts and encouraged people to take some time and read through the entire 30 page document.
We started soliciting feedback. We listened, discussed, and then re-read the bylaws. More conversations, more questions and another re-read of the bylaws.
We're pretty familiar with the bylaws...
From all our conversations there seemed to be various opinions and outlooks towards these new proposed changes. Some people are very concerned, others indifferent, some unsure of what the new Bylaws really mean.
So we gathered all our insights along with both personal and community questions and headed to The Bone and Biscuit to attend the first community information session.
And... We're Impressed
Three bylaw officers, and two City employees were at the ready to discuss, answer questions, and take notes. It was a casual open forum for feedback that started as a large group discussion and evolved into many one-on-one conversations.
What was discussed?
The want for cat Bylaws and limits, how the three dog minimum doesn't include fosters, the bylaw prohibiting biking with your dog, keeping to the right of the path, dogs in vehicles, what determines a dog as viscous, altering the wording to some bylaws and revisiting others.
Some people came with circled and highlighted copies of the draft document, other's brought their dogs, while some simply came to say their peace and leave.
What Did We learn?
Although the Bylaws read very black and white the Bylaw Officers do and will continue to use discretion. One example we discussed is a dog without a license. Let's say Fido broke his license tag and you reordered it. Bylaw officers now have mobile technologies with the capability to verify you reordered the license..
So...What Do We Suggest?
There are two more information sessions; tomorrow Friday evening at Pet Value from 4-6pm and then again and from 10-12pm on Saturday at Pet Planet.
Take twenty minutes and read through the proposed Animal Control Bylaw document. Here is the link: http://www.airdrie.ca/getDocument.cfm?ID=2734
Take a piece of paper and write down an feedback or questions and go have a conversation with a Bylaw Officer.
If you can't attend the session email your feedback to
It's not over until the hyper puppy takes a nap!
Be informed! Knowledge is power!
(yeah.. It's been a long day...)
We're going to try and attend another information session, then over the weekend we will post another blog containing our thoughts and recommendations. The cut-off date to get your feedback to the city is February 11th so there's still plenty of time to review the proposed Animal Control Bylaw document and share your two cents.
That's our two cents! Until next time.. See you at the dog park.
Did You Know...
Do a Google search for "Become a Dog Trainer” and you'll see you have a few options. You could complete a Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program, become a Professional Pet Dog Trainer, a Certified Dog Trainer... specialize in behavioral training, obedience training, agility training, vocational training, aversion training, rewards-based training, balanced training.
Try another profession. Do a Google search for “Become a Pet Groomer” - you'll find results for becoming a pet groomer, a professional pet stylist, a certified master pet technician...
We're not poo-pooing education. Knowledge is power! When looking for dog services providers, you'll find there are quite a few and they all differ from one another. Here are a few things to pay attention to when trying to find your perfect match:
Price, Service, Safety
Okay, but dogs are dogs. This shouldn't be this complicated!
It's not the dogs that complicate things - it's us humans! Everything is very subjective – the food we buy, the treats we provide, the commands we use, whether or not we consider a dog to be part of our family. No two dog owners are exactly alike so how can the dog service industry be cooker cutter?
Here's the point.
You don’t have to fall in love with the first dog service provider you meet. You don't have to agree with everything someone has to say. Do your research, ask questions, and find your pawfect match. As long as your puppy pal is safe, healthy, happy and loved, that’s all we here at Airdrie Puppy Pals could ever ask for. <3
Until next time, we'll see you at the dog park!
Here's a great article on how Ceser Milan became Cesar Milan "The Dog Whisperer". He developed his own methods from observation and gained credibility based on what people saw him do. Sometimes experience and passion can be just as powerful as any certificate or diploma. ;)
Updated: February 3rd 2015
I will be honest - I started the online community for completely selfish reasons: I was sick of going to the dog park alone! I would show up and everyone would be leaving, or I would be leaving just as everyone would show up. I felt like I missed the memo. And if I didn't already feel bad I would get the look from Rosa.
So I made some business cards, a Facebook page and life at the dog park was great! Now going to the dog park felt like you were on an episode of the TV show "Cheers" ...but taking place at a dog park and not a live studio audience. Dogs played, humans chatted, celebrated successes, asked each other questions, and shared frustrations...
Every now and then a dog walker would come into a dog park and we would here phrases like "dogs are walking dollar signs", "I paid for my car in cash", "easy money"... We would hear stories of dog walkers being paid for an hour and only staying for 5 minutes... we would see a dog walker so involved in their phone that the pup they were supposed to be watching was doing something they shouldn't be... I remember thinking - what am I going to do if I ever need to go away or hire a dog walker?!
Dogs are not Walking Dollar Signs
There must be a better way!
I knew I could only control what was within my control so, I launched the dog service side of Airdrie Puppy Pals. I offer suggestions when advice is requested, match the commands the family uses and treat each and every one of my fur clients like they were my own pup. So, why i'm telling you all of this? Because *drum roll please*...
I'm looking to grow my team!
This may be the longest and weirdest job posting you've ever read, but I wanted to share a few things that are important to me right from the beginning. So now - the actual job posting!
Airdrie Puppy Pals is seeking part-time/casual contract dog walkers.
Will you get rich and spend your days sipping martini's on a yatch? No. Will you make enough cash during your first month to buy a brand new car? No. BUT will you work in a fun, relaxed, flexible, family oriented environment, help organize community events, take lots of pictures of cute wiggly bums and of course get copious amount of puppy kisses? Yes!
If interested... please send an email to email@example.com with the following information:
Please no phone calls or Facebook messages; qualified candidates will be contacted through email for interviews.
Until next time.. see you at the dog park :)
Dog safety is super important - It's no secret that Airdrie Puppy Pals is a big believer and supporter of Pet First Aid.
In partnership with Wyatt's Pet First Aid and Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid, we are looking at holding a course in Airdrie this October. This course will cover things like shock, broken bones, safe transport of animals, CPR and a lot more.
It's a great skill to have and hopefully never have to use... we would love to see if a local company (or companies) would help subsidize the cost of the program for local residents and maybe a local catering company to provide lunch.
Before we start making phone calls - what do you think?
Would you be interested in taking a Pet First Aid Course?
In 2019, we will be bringing back our blog! Stay tuned for recipes, training tips and so much more.
Want to be a guest author? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org