By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Plenty of Morinville residents hit the gym on a regular basis for a little exercise mixed with socialization, but a new business in Morinville’s industrial park is offering some of those same services to dogs. Popular Pooch Daycare & Fitness, located at Unit 2 9802 90 Avenue, is hoping their new facility will make happier, healthier, more balanced and calmer dogs.
With plenty of indoor and outdoor space for dogs to run, play and socialize with their own kind in, and even two treadmills for animals to get their exercise on, Popular Pooch believes it has the tools and accommodations to help pet owners whose busy lives do not always allow them to keep their dogs as active as they might like.
“We are busy people. We are a busy society, and we don’t have the time to walk our dogs and give our dogs all the stimulation and all the socializing that they need,” said Popular Pooch owner Francie Pipke. “This is a place where they can do that – especially in Morinville where we don’t have a dog park.”
Pipke said socializing is important to dogs and although people can have great relationships with their pets they are not dogs. “Dogs need other dogs, whether it’s in your home or not,” she said, adding the socializing is particularly important to dogs who live at home alone. “They need that social interaction because although we love them and cuddle them and everything else, we’re not a dog. We don’t have the same psychological mindset as a dog. The stimulation one dog feels, another dog can feel. A human doesn’t really get that. Dogs are a pack mentality and they need to be in a pack.”
From pet owner to business owner
Pipke’s path to running her own business began when she moved to an acreage outside of Morinville and bought a mastiff. “We realized just because we had a big property didn’t mean anything, really,” she said, adding a need for socialization prompted her to take her animal to a daycare in St. Albert. “I just found it to be so great for her because she was so well socialized with both people and dogs. I could take her anywhere. I could do anything with her.”
The benefits Pipke’s dog received from daycare prompted the entrepreneur to bring those benefits to Morinville. After training with the daycare her mastiff had been spending time at she went on to become certified in training and behaviour management, specializing in daycares, through the Edmonton Humane Society. Soon after Pipke decided to open her business close to where she lived.
That business allows dog owners, particularly those who work in the city, to drop their dogs off in the morning and pick them up again after work. “When the dogs get dropped off, we will get them on the treadmills as quick as possible,” Pipke said, adding each animal does a 30-minute run on one of her two treadmills. “We’ll have indoor / outdoor play space, sandpits, swimming pools [and] ball throwing for dogs. Basically they play.” By early afternoon the dogs are ready to settle down for a while in their own nap time. Higher energy dogs will receive an extra run on the treadmills.
Popular Pooch Daycare & Fitness is open Monday to Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. They are also trying out Saturday hours from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.