Old Website Blog Posts from 2017-2019
Just copied and paste from our old website, will go in and update with photos later!
You can find older blogs here: https://sleeprover.wordpress.com/
One week has passed, and I must say, I am relieved and happy. The course Calgary is taking and Alberta, is great. Minus some people, that are not listening to Social Distancing measures, and now we have to deploy our Police Task Force to babysit them.. shame on them. I hope you all can prep your mind that this might hit the 3 month mark upwards to a year. The cases and deaths are still rising elsewhere, and a vaccine is still in the works. Just because our counts are lower in Canada, let alone Alberta, does not mean you are to lessen your obligations to self quarantine and social distance.
I wanted to film an updated Vlog, back in the day when I did Vlogs, I wanted to make sure my make up was fine, I would just film on a camera and edit, but today, I am going to read off my notes here, and just wing it.
Firstly, my disclaimer, I am NOT a doctor, and you should always look for the actual sources before sending emails and posts and believing what you read. Be smart. Do not believe everything you read that you get sent.
I have been following the COVID 19 since January because, I have a weird obsession with it. It is important for me to keep up to date, for everyone’s safety, I wanted to learn as much as I could, to keep everyone safe. Team Sleep Rover are like my children.
As noted in my first blog, I am so proud of them, for showing up to work, with great spirits and lessening ANY stress I might have. They practice the proper Social Requirements to keep us all safe. SO SO SO proud.
I am a little over reactive, which I feel, is a better choice, than not.
So what is Sleep Rover doing, during our Social Distancing demands?
- We closed all dogs to come in, who’s family’s have travelled for up to 2 weeks. I am practicing dogs, are considered a ‘surface’ just in case;
- Those that have travelled, we will bring their dogs out to them with Social Distancing protocols, or they send someone who has not travelled to pick up;
- We sanitize every surface we use, and those we use often, we sanitize more. THANK YOU to those that stocked us up on this, so we can keep going;
- We keep social distancing between staff, including limiting 1 staff for room, and have enough space that if there are 2 people in a room, they remain 2 metres away. We haven’t hugged each other in oh so long;
- We wash our hands frequently with soap. We could not find soap anywhere, and Kylee, one of our overnight caregivers, searched far and wide and stocked us up – that is a team;
- Trying our best not to touch our face, nose and mouth – this is so hard…;
- When checking in human clients, we keep a Social Distance away. We posted a sign, to stay 2 metres away, and please do not be offended. We are treating everyone as if they have it, and you should treat us like we have it;
- Asking caregivers to take time off, if they have immune deficiencies or would be near someone with it. We have to be responsible;
- Setting distance in our boutique. Email us what you wish and we can set it aside for you to pick up. Alternately, you can order on Doodle Dogs website and they will deliver to you!
I believe with these measures, we can attain safety for all. My belief, is we will all get it, but flattening the curve, social distancing will lessen the threat where possible and allow doctors and nurses to help cure all those infected. Social distancing also gives you a fighting chance, yourself, to heal yourself, if you do come in minor contact.
As noted, if clients felt uncomfortable and do not agree with our protocol, please stay home and safe. Safety first. Health and Safety over our financial state please.
In my video as well, I stressed the importance of quarantining and staying home, and honestly, my only stress in the beginning of the chaos, was forcing my own family to stay home. Trying to get into everyone’s mind, that yes, you might not care for your own health, you might think you are safe, but the importance is keeping the medical system tame. As we all know, they are overwhelmed always already, our health care system is not abundant, and adding to the load, would just make everyone crack, and that is how the chaos will begin. You have countries like China and Italy be your ‘view into the future’.. how can one not understand that we have been given a crystal ball to look into?
Quarantining, and doing our simple common sense part, to stay home, is a free pass at life. I remember getting mad, before the senior homes closed, when people would visit their grand parents or parents, even when Social Distancing was suggested. WHY do people need the government to make the decisions for them? Why can’t you just make these common sense choices yourself?
YES, this is FAKE everyone, he DID NOT say that.
On top, my other stress was seeing links sent around about false information. How rinsing with salt would cure Coronavirus, please, get your info from WHO and main networks. Do not self diagnose and put the world in danger. I remember seeing a handful of people dying, from people spraying throats with salt and all dying, having coronavirus, not seeking care and following alternate methods. If it is not proven, do NOT send or forward it. Stick to your local news and your Government issued Medical for now please. Do not add chaos to the already chaotic minds.
After all my stress went away from making sure my family was safe, I wanted to see how I can help the Front Line. As many of our clients quarantined, a handful of our clients kept working as medics, nurses, doctors, surgeons and officers. They aren’t phased much, as this is their daily life. Even today Saturday, a wife of an officer dropped us off coffee and cinnamon buns, both supporting a local business Cobs Bakery, but advising me, the officers will be deployed this week and are ready. Even tho they are busy, they still make time to thank us for staying open for the Front Line workers. They are the ones that keep me strong and less mad at the world. I can spend my hours getting mad at all the stupid people, but why not spend more time, helping those that matter?
On a side note, if safe to do so, I know they will need blood donations too: DONATE BLOOD
I signed up for my first ever (bad I know) donation day for April 3rd.
I appreciate you all helping us making sure Sleep Rover is afloat, which is my goal too. Being part of a family, where my mom and dad came over to Calgary with nothing, I knew, and had confidence, that financially, we will get through it. We are all in this, and I know, we will make it work. A fresh love during this tough time, getting a phone call from my new landlord, saying ‘Joyce, I want you to know I am here to help you, and make sure you succeed’, as our first rent payment is coming around the corner on April 1st.
When chaos starts, the people that care, really step forward and shine their true colors.
I bring this up, because I want you all to know, I know we will be okay. You all got us here, and my focus now, was to make sure our clients on the Front Line, can also be cared for. It was our time to give back to all the love you guys give us, to give back to the most important division in the City.
I started posting on my personal account and brainstorming on Instagram Video, how can I start quarantine centres, how can I make masks and gowns?? That was my craziness when it did get to that point. I wanted to be ahead of the game, watching China for 2 months, I felt bad for sitting back when I could spend my waking hours doing something to progress our City further. Of course I am all talk and thought.
However I also did not want to be ‘those’ kind of people – too many leaders, not enough followers. I have always loved the behind the scenes work. Even at Spay and Neuter clinics, I was the one washing the dirty kennels or ones full of diarrhea, I want to do something that helps – as so many people just want the best job. I just want to get the job done.
So as my friends in all fields calmed me down, ‘joyce don’t worry, the government is on top of the quarantine sectors’. ‘Don’t worry there are too many rules, so no you cannot help in the hospitals cleaning lol’ and ‘no joyce, you can’t make masks, they have strict protocols’. I still hope a manufacturer in town can take it on. We might not need it all but other places will.
One friend, who is also a client, did suggest coffee and snacks. Just like when we are crazy busy, our clients YOU, bring us snacks and coffee, especially during Christmas, when we are so busy, we don’t have time to eat.. it is nice to have a meal, readily available. I love to eat, and food soothes me, as it does to many people. I always say, my fat belly, is the signs of all the love I get 😊.
Want to HELP? CLICK HERE!
So last week, I started brainstorming the best way to do this, whilst following Social Distancing and even to the extreme, of a Lockdown in the next week or 2. Went from contacting church groups, to struggling restaurants, to finally, a good friend of mine suggested, Food Trucks. With that, a friend also contacted the Ladybug Café for me, who has a bakery division, Good Bread. With that, we teamed up, to bring Coffee, Soup & Bread to Foothills Hospital. I will jot it as YYC Grub Luv for now (link leads to GOFUNDME). My goals are to expand to get approval from other hospitals as well, so we can make sure they are all taken care of.
With proper approval, I hope to spread all the love you all have given us, at Sleep Rover this decade, by stuffing our faces and making us smile, by stuffing all of them, with love and energy.
It is going to be a tough few months ahead, but we can all work as a team to set an example, think ahead, plan ahead and think for others.
Remember, thank you to all of you, and to flip it around, thank you to all our Front Line workers. One nurse client said, Joyce, the cleaners, the cleaners never get thanked. They work so hard too.
Love you all, and stay strong.
Firstly, I would like to thank all the Medical staff, such as nurses, doctors, First Responders etc. and everyone involved, in keeping everyone cared for and safe. Besides those that are infected, they are going through so much more, than I can ever imagine. This is our opinion as of today’s date (March 15th 2020), after careful observation in understanding the virus.
Unlike big businesses, with salaried employees, we at Sleep Rover, and many small businesses, cannot close. Closing means, inability to pay rent and employees. As you know, it trickles from there. My first goal is the health of all humans, second, the financial state for our staff.
With cancellations on trips, means lost income for us, and with schools and companies closing, clients might not need daycare any more. This will be a tough 6 months for everyone involved.
Similar to families struggling to find child care for their children as they work, us closing means, clients as well, will need a place to care for their dogs.
My decision as a company, is to help the City, flatten the curve. I truly believe that the virus will continue to spread, but helping our Medical sector, by lessening the impact, is everyone’s responsibility.
Here at Sleep Rover, we will request, from our clients and staff that:
- Washing our hands frequently and disinfecting door handles, mouses, phones etc.';
- We will be practising Social Distancing, meaning at check in, no more hugs, hand touching and close talking. We will set a 6’ personal distance and limit our conversations;
- “The U.S. Centres for Disease Control (CDC) defines itas “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”
- If you have been at an airport, that you self quarantine for the minimum 14 days due to the recent local airport contamination’s. You will need a family or friend, to pick up your dog. Remember, you might be a carrier from a traveller, and NOT show symtoms;
- If you have any symptoms, please stay home, such as itchy throat, coughing, runny nose and fever. Cancelling your daycare or stay, will not be penalized;
- If you are travelling any where on a plane, that you advise us, so we can prep on our end;
- Yes dogs and children can carry the virus from a contaminated person, but it currently, does not show, to effect them in any negative way (which again, is important for those that have travelled, or been around infected people, to self quarantine);
- We already go outside a lot, and make sure our dog clients and caregivers are not subject to stay inside to brew a petri dish of diseases. Circulating our lungs with fresh air and activity is so important, including fresh water;
- March 16 Update - City of Calgary - State of Emergency:
Updated info March 16 6am: We are still open (We will close if a Lock Down is in place) - note we still have quite a few overnight dogs in care, and still are able to run a functioning business keeping Social Distancing;
IF YOU HAVE been to any flights, you must ask someone else to pick up your dog, or contact us at email@example.com for us to bring your dog out to you, even if you show no symptoms;
Dogs of INFECTED families are not to come to daycare, as dogs can be carriers of the virus;
We are hoping you are all in understanding of our decisions, and agree that this will be at least a year long battle, to understand, and handle. As a human race, I know we can adjust, and make the proper decisions for a safe environment.
We are making these decisions for health first, and not to inconvenience you. So we hope everyone can be honest with their travel and possible symptoms, patient with our questions, so we can make it safe firstly, and easy for you.
At the end of the day, losing out on all the income, is going to be tough. We will be struggling. However more important right now, is making sure our society as a whole, is safe, well cared for, and that we give our Medical Staff in the World, a chance to do what they set out to do, by being responsible on our part.
Get as MUCH fresh air as you can with proper Social Distancing, and drink lots of fluids as your Mental State is super important during this time.
Any questions or suggestions, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I continue to follow, and learn.
With these rules in place, we hope that you will continue to trust us, in the care of your dog, knowing that it is important to still socialize and exercise your dog here.
2015 I slipped, literally and fell into a big big hole. All of you helped me up, THANK YOU! 2019 was that climb to 2020. We are here!
I feel great, I feel productive, and for once, my mind is clear, my shoulders have lifted, as if that boulder had fallen off. Thank you to someone special, for introducing me to CBD for myself, my chronic neck/shoulder pain has subsided greatly - but that could also be from me releasing all my complaints and negativity.
It has only been 3 weeks in, and I felt like I have accomplished so much. In prep of SR#3, focusing on solving issues as little as getting Shogun off Gabapentin for his Arthritis - thus finding Canine Fitness Centre, with Dr. Sue and finding CBD from Creating Brighter Days for him for pain relief - brought back the zoomies in him.
Another thing I love about the industry, is building relationships - and finding like minded people, is thriving.
Surround Yourself with People that Push, Challenge and Motivate You
Last night, i got to relax and watched some Instagram videos from Perfectly Rawsome, which motivated me to prep a fun Chinese New Year dinner for my dogs (check her out if you are curious about raw): https://perfectlyrawsome.com/
Lastly, ending off this Friday, the 24th, reading all the amazing words, that our #teamsleeprover caregivers, wrote about each other. It brought tears to my eyes. We are having our Staff Party this weekend at the amazing Pomeroy Delta Kananaskis - and here are some words that were written about each other. True love, and respect with this strong team.
Our Overnight Manager Megan has been with us for 10 years! Amanda 8.5 years and Ashlea coming on 5 years.
My goal going forward is giving back. Firstly to the Team that has stuck by this company. The clients, rescue, and more fun dog events etc. The reason for our move is to focus back on what we love about being in the dog industry. Just walking into SR#3, feels like home. The Sun beams through with love. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Stay tuned for our updates as we gear for our move in the Spring!
2020 - MOVE IN
2021 - Indoor Dog Park and Pool
2022 - Dog Patio and Sports Centre
This topic is brought to you by Bourbon, my Rottweiler that just passed away almost hitting 10 years old.
It comes as a link to this topic, because he taught me a valuable lesson over my 8 years of having him. Without boring everyone - I wrote a blog about him here:
A super sweet memory from his saving grace - Heaven Can Wait
This blog comes, because a dog bit a client in our boutique this month. A client’s dog, bit a human client waiting for their dog. First time in 10 years, and a valuable lesson for all 3 of us.
We have never needed to implement rules and expectations on clients, but we have in the past before for touring guests. Back in our old location, we use to do tours and people would reach in to the dog rooms, thinking we were a petting zoo. We always told tour guests, to respect our set up and NOT to stick their hands over the wall back then. Just to walk by quietly. This one lady would not listen, and got bit by a dog.
Since then, we implemented a strict read out before touring our facility. To this day, we still have people not listen to our rules, and get upset at us for not allowing them pet our clients or hang out with them. Our rules are in place for the safety of the dogs under our roof.
“Don’t worry, dogs love me”
Firstly, dogs cannot talk our language. When you walk up to a dog, you do not know their past situations, their story, and how they are feeling. You cannot read their mind, so assumptions should never be made. We are the human, they rely on us to make those decision for them, which we do at Sleep Rover.
We carefully screen all our dog clients, and human clients, to insure a harmonious pack. This is a huge reason why we do Trial Days and LIMIT Trial periods. https://sleeprover.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/why-do-we-do-trial-days-at-sleep-rover-top-3-reasons/
Secondly, Sleep Rover is their second home, so they are more protective and reactive.
Thirdly, these dogs are our clients. Their human parents did not sign up, for them to be subjected to strangers. THESE are the basic reasons why we have these strict rules. At the end of the day, it is for their safety and well being. Any change in their strict routine at Sleep Rover, like a tour, a human trying to get photos of them in the alley, or even as simple as a magpie taunting them, can easily aggravate the energy of the pack, no matter how nice and friendly the dog is.
Like us humans, dogs also have bubbles.
Like us humans, dogs also have bubbles. Myself for example, I am not a hugger, Our Team Lead Ashlea, can embrace a hug. I am human, so I can express my discomfort verbally. A dog cannot.
So when walking in and out with your dogs, no matter how much they love us, or all the dogs they play with, please keep that leash close to you when approaching people and dogs you do not know. Close meaning right at your leg, within 1 feet.
Do not approach a clients dog without asking first.
Know when you are not following these steps, that any incident, is based on a poor decision you made as a human. I never blame the dog, as at the end of the day, they follow our guidance.
Some dogs, large or small, are more reactive with their parents. Some are even worse when attached to a leash. This does not make them bad dogs, this just means their bubble is bigger around their humans and that should be respected.
This applies not just in our boutique, but on your walks as well. Never approach your dog, or have your dog approach another dog, without permission and consent.
There are many reasons why dogs need space, Health Issues (sore, in pain), In Training, Being Rehabilitated, Scared or Reactive. Dogs naturally protect areas which allow them to feel safe. If they do not feel safe, whether it is a vibe from their human parent, or unbalanced energy from another dog, dogs will react to to defend what they feel is necessary for your safety and survival.
Just because you see another dog, you are not obligated to say hi to them, nor are they. When they say ‘no’, respect it, do not take it personal. This is not about you, this is about the dog. When you walk downtown, do you need to say hi to everyone? No.
Bourbon was my example, as he was abused poorly when they found him. Back then, I believed I could rehabilitate him with love, but some dogs, experience so much trauma, that it is their form of PTSD.
Over the years of having him, I went from ‘trying’ him with friends to drawing the line, and making the decision, that he just wants love from us only. Many years, I would turn people away from wanting to come to pet him, including guys, especially guys, getting upset at me for saying no to them.
“Why are you at the offleash park if your dog isn’t friendly”? Oh my dog loves dogs and is friendly, but he does not like strangers touching him. He should not be forced to be pet or touched because you wish to. Many times I would hear ‘Oh don’t worry, all dogs love me’ - but that is not the point. You are putting him and yourself in danger, by forcing yourself on him. This was not a mutual meeting.
No means no.
When I see people on leash at the dog park, I will always respect their space and decision by recalling my dogs to me and having them walk beside me as well. Remember offleash, does not mean free for all.
Like us humans, dogs also have bubbles.
I learned a lot about dog space sizes, and wanted to remind all of you, our amazing clients, to be respectful of these spaces with each other, so you are safe, as well as your dog.
Think for the worst scenario that could happen, and adjust accordingly.
I know a lot of this seems like common sense, but because we have not had a client dog bite a human client before, I wanted to give everyone a friendly reminder. Space is tight, but we do make different pathways available for your manoeuvring.
Please also do not hesitate to ask us to help you out as well, or if you require more space for ease of entrance or exit.
WOW, 10 years. It is true, that time flies by, when you are having fun.
We have built Sleep Rover on trust, honesty, loyalty and FUN!
WHERE DOGS GO TO HAVE FUN.
This also creates resilience that only a strong group of people can persevere, and I am talking about all of you reading this.
Our FOUNDATION is our staff, but our CEMENT is our clients.
WHERE FRIENDS BECOME FAMILY.
What keeps going forward? Learning every year, and wanting to improve every year. We never want to sit still. We never want to be the norm.
We do not come to work to just take a paycheque, we come to work because we want to make a difference. We know you work hard for your money, so we work hard in appreciation.
We have a core group of clients because of our strict protocol and expectations. This over the years has made it the reason, why we can spend more time with our clients, in having fun, knowing them, versus just anyone, that ‘just needs last minute care’.
When you are a Sleep Rover client, you are VIP automatically.
This also applies to our amazing #teamsleeprover. Focusing on those that WANT to come to work and make a positive difference in their coworkers and the dogs, over trump any amount of quantity of staff. In 2015 we wanted to go big, but big was not us.
We want to be that tight small knit family.
As celebration, we will be having a sale in our boutique every day starting November 1st, 2019. Please stay tuned on Facebook and Instagram for these posts.
We will also be offering Sleep Rover (overnight) passes to be purchased for use starting July 1st, 2020 in our new location. $500 plus tax for 10 nights per dog. Sale will end November 10th, 2019 at 5pm.
To end off our Birthday, we will be having a pawrty on Sunday, November 10th, 2019 from 1pm to 4pm with some of our favorite local vendors (who have supported us since our 2015 move), snacks and HOLIDAY Photos! First 100 clients get a swag bag full of goodies.
We will also have raffles from our local distributors/vendors and a birthday selfie station. Bring a toonie ($2) to enter the BIG SLEEP ROVER RAFFLE valued over $1500. Raffle donations will be passed to our charity event, Operation Santa Paws.
We also have a foster dog at all times at Sleep Rover. Our Manager Amanda screens them and we as a team, feed, socialize and help them get ready for their forever home. Currently we foster for AARCS and Pawsitive Match. We also love having charity events for Prairie Pitbulls Rescue and our long time go to rescue, to which we do Operation Santa Paws for, is Heaven Can Wait.
Here are a few words from our #teamsleeprover:
Megan (our overnight manager for the last 9 years)
Working at Sleep Rover allows be to be part of a company that I know is truly passionate about dogs and their well being, not just in it for financial gain. It's amazing to have a supportive boss. Joyce gives me the opportunity to use my creativity in our work environment whether it be baking cakes or painting backgrounds for photo shoots. Sleep Rover has amazing clients and it's so awesome to connect with other people who are as passionate about dogs as we are. Its inspiring to have a boss who really cares. Joyce does put Sleep Rover first. Pushing through the ups and downs of the economy, and all the other struggles that come with owning your own business. I love that Sleep Rover promotes healthy food choices for our clients by stocking higher quality kibble and raw food, along with supplements and more natural alternatives to support their dog's health. We care about the environment. We take the effort to recycle and always use environmentally safe cleaning products for our facility. That we support local rescues. We continuously have foster dogs stay with us until they are adopted. I love being able to show these foster dogs the love that they might have missed out on, so that they can carry that love to their new family's.
Amanda (our manager on year 8)
The passion for the dog community and everything DOG! Whether that be passion for the dogs we look after or passion for rescue and supporting. Passion & Support for the dog community of Calgary. Our staff - Friends become family not only with our clients but with our coworkers. Makes coming to work soo amazing. Our boss!! Words can not explain... It takes a special person to open and run the best doggie daycare in YYC and you are doing an amazing job at it! Our environment - all dogs welcome, open concept and loving. Our attention to detail. Making sure the little things like journals, photos, videos and even knowing clients is also top priority. Our events and meetups are always top notch. Our clients! Are seriously amazing and the best that we could ask for - both dogs and people. The fact that they let us love their dogs like our own. Our want to grow and grow and grow and become even better than before. THE LOVE and HAPPINESS that happens at Sleep Rover is unreal and gives this real Disney World vibe to it.
Ashlea (team lead at 4 years)
I mean..because we're awesome. Lol, but for real, because we love dogs. We love them like they're our own and take care of them more than you know. It's true when we say "where friends become family" because we are one big fam! If your dog is cold, we will cuddle it. If your dog is scared, we will comfort it. And most importantly, we will always show them love all the time! I love the people I work with. Lots of people don’t have close friendships at the work place. What we stand for! Allowing all breeds, no discrimination, and we don't judge a book by its cover. Everyone gets a chance. I love that at the end of the day, I feel like I have changed someone or some dogs life in some way. Some dogs come to us that need more socialzation and to come out of their shell more. Or dogs that have never been around other dogs and we help them with that. It's a great feeling. THE DOGS! I have met some amazing dogs working here and amazing clients as well! Your own dogs are obviously your babies, but I never thought that I could feel the same about anyone else's dog, we just love them like our own!
Family aspect with co-workers. Seeing the dogs so excited going back into daycare to see their friends and caregivers after grooming. I love my job because it's a creative outlet that requires attention to detail. Learning new skills and techniques at seminars like Superzoo. ~Braylyn
WHY SLEEP ROVER - Because it’s become like a family to me. These dogs that I’ve known for the past 5 years to all the new dogs feel like my own and I love themmm. ~Kylee
Because we are a dogs happiest place on earth. Each and every dog is known by name and personality and is loved here. We are all passionate and care for our clients doggos as if they are our own babies too. Our facility offers social enrichment that others do not, and gives bully breeds the chance they deserve to be in a social setting, with zero judgement. ~Karissa
Why Sleep Rover: because I have never belonged anywhere, and now I finally do! ~Laken
Working at Sleep Rover helped me manage my dog obsession, as I never had one of my own growing up. Being able to work & interact with every breed & personality allowed me to really figure out what I would want in a dog of my own when the time came. I am so happy to have met such incredible, dog crazy girls just like me. Hands down the best job I have ever & will ever have. ~Daria
I first heard about Sleep Rover from in Instructor and started following them on Instagram and Facebook and became hooked! Seeing how much fun the dogs and the humans were having made me smile daily. I knew my heart belonged there. Thankfully Joyce gave me a chance and I have been here ever since. My absolute love for all animals and personality fits perfectly with the dogs. I have developed so many wonderful relationships and bonds with the dogs that come here. Seeing the passion and hard work that management and fellow coworkers put into their daily routines is just amazing. Yes sleep rover is a business but we are more than that! We are a home away from home! An extended family to all our clients and I couldn’t see myself belonging anywhere else in the world! ~Lori
Ever since I have known about Sleep Rover I knew it was a special place. I could tell that this is not just a job or a business but a passion that has grown into something meant to be shared with others. I am so proud to be a part of Sleep Rover. I love that every single person here goes above and beyond for all the dogs. If a dog seems shy we help bring them out of their shell, if they seem sad we make it our mission to cheer them up, and if they want to play.. we play!! The level of attentiveness towards every single dog creates genuine bonds and makes it so they feel at home when they are in our care. It makes us happy to see them happy, and it is that authentic joy and love for dogs that sets Sleep Rover apart from the rest in my eyes. Some people may love dogs as much, but nobody loves them more, and it shows in everything Sleep Rover does. ~Sarah
It has been awhile since I did a VLOG, but I wanted to be a little more personal. The video is long so you can read the jist of it below.
Time sure flew by, since my last vlog about SR#2, back in 2016. 2019/20 is our last year at this location.
The first 2 years of this current building, was emotionally trying, I hate bringing that up, as a person brought up by tough, hardworking Chinese parents, any sign of weakness, especially emotional, should always be ignored.
Facing this in 2016 helped tremendously, and after facing these facts for 2017 - I soon saw the true financial struggles we, at Sleep Rover faced. I sat down with business minded folk, and of course hired a professional accountant. As noted in the VLOG, the provincial government changes in Employment Wages, took an extra toll on our bottom line. Not only did our wages and stat pays went up almost $25k/year, we also had to not rehire the 3 full time staff whom did not work out. In return, Amanda and I have been overextending our work hours to working, versus creating and improving.
Many have asked recently ‘where has Amanda been’, and although we see her every day, she is working more at the back to help train and elevate our current caregivers.
On top of the increased expenses of Employee Standard changes that all Alberta Small Businesses faced, the gas prices also increased our gas expenses, average $8000/month just in the winter (those huge gaps in the steel doors and high ceilings of this building, really damper our winter bills), to which we spend the summer paying off.
As business has been super busy on the weekdays, our weekends dropped greatly, as noone was travelling as much. We tried doing daycare specials on the weekend, and that did not work out well, as we all, including you all, are trying to save money where you can, due to the economy. At a loss of $5k per weekend, totaling average of $20k a month, these few changes put us more in the red. We took a toll for 2018 into 2019.
In the Spring of 2019, although we had been approached twice in the past to be bought out (HELL NO!), I was so tempted, to sell Sleep Rover, and just pay off all my debts. Being consumed and drowning in debt, is super tough. Borrowing to pay off debt to keep afloat. Where would all our amazing clients go (who will love on your dogs like we do, take all those photos and videos)? What would we do for work?
This is our calling, we must go on, keep going forward.
A majority of Sleep Rover expenses is rent, utility and wages.
As you know, we are a little higher in rates, because you are paying for the convenient location and for the 24/7 staff. You are paying for top quality caregivers.
Recently I have heard that ‘Joyce is mean, Joyce is a nazi boss’ from ex-employees in the industry- haha - and it is true. The girls that stay, and are here, are the best of the best. I have a no excuse rule, which has allowed us to have low vet visits (less than a handful) and altercations at Sleep Rover. The safety and well being of our clients is the most important. That is your ease of mind, that is our standard. Read more.. https://sleeprover.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/why-do-we-do-trial-days-at-sleep-rover-top-3-reasons/
So instead of selling Sleep Rover, and just giving up, I have decided to also take advantage of the poor economy, by finding a new facility, that is more energy efficient (lower ceilings and sealed overhead doors), and of course, a more efficient building in general. A building that allows us to have the pool, separate from the dog daycare, so it can run full time. Have our set up like SR#1, where everything was all in one spot, making it more efficient for our caregivers, and allowing management more time for charitable events, functions, and improvements.
We also have goals to reward those that spend their hard earned money at Sleep Rover. In the video I thank those long time clients, that even without a dog, they still support us by sharing our sales, buying human gear, or those that move far away, and still come in to buy from us (dog food, dog apparel)! Even the clients that live as far as Edmonton, to drive south to use our facility. We thank you. We understand, especially at a time of a tough economy, that your hard earned money means a lot to us.
I also mentioned the phone call I got in July from a long time client Margaret that made my day, that kept me focused. She has used our services since we first started out, firstly with her son’s dog. The call came as a surprise, when she said ‘Joyce, you are not charging me enough. How are you charging me $40/day for daycare and only $65/night for overnight?’ Trust me, I never get those calls. She demanded I charge her for 2 full days, being a retired lady. ‘YOU NEED TO MAKE MONEY’. I just cannot fathom increasing our rates anymore, but reassures me, that our clients, do understand our struggles and value.
After all the years of increasing rates, the gas rates and employee rates just consumed all those goals to be profitable, which gave me huge guilt for all our Sleep Rover clients. The emails out to you all, from 2016 and 2017 that said, ‘oh these rate increases will get us out of the red’ - turned out false with the increase in rent, utilities and government employee changes just like that. It is so hard to smile and say ‘things are great’, to you all, when they are not.
I know all Small Business owners understand, how little changes, can make a huge impact. Even ONE no show, might just be $40 for the one day, for those that say ‘oh sorry, I forgot, but it is just one dog’ - that $40 turns into $1200/month - and that helps pay for utilities. To you, it is just your one dog, to us, it is a portion of our expenses, not paid, putting us further in red. I understand people ‘forget’, or things change, is why we always smile, and say ‘that is okay’. Please do know, your spot, could have been taken, by another client. We just ask, if you wish to last minute cancel, please do not prebook, or be considerate, and pay for that spot. We do not strictly implement the ‘pay ahead of time’ rule, because there is only a handful of clients that cancel last minute.
Our next 5 years, we hope to pay off debt and get ahead. Reducing rent and utility payments and maximizing our current set up potential.
In the meantime, we started July 2019 a reward program on your account via GINGR. Save these rewards, as the point system will be more generous by July 2020. We want to thank all those have chosen to spend their hard earned money on us. The more you spend, the more you get back.
We also want to adjust to our lowered weekend traffic effective September 1st, 2019, by limiting our Front Desk Hours from 7am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday to 9am to 5pm, till things pick up again on the weekends. Staying open at the Front Desk for 2-3 clients, does not justify our hours.
We appreciate all your support and suggestions over the years, during this up and down SR#2. We hope SR#3 will be the balance we need, as I learn from the mistakes and move forward, versus surrender.
As it is tough to get extra funds with so much debt, we are in the financial approval stages for the potential move to SR#3. We are excited for this journey and want to make you all proud, all together, knowing we will not sacrifice the care of your dog.
Please address any ideas, suggestions or concerns directly to me, at email@example.com.
One thing I love about Calgary, especially being born and raised here, is the support of local businesses.
These are businesses, that are owner run. You see them at the front of their business, and the pride they put into their business.
Supporting local business is so important, as your hard earned money, is going to someone that is working hard to be the best they can be, for you, the customer.
More and more businesses, even vet clinics, are getting bought out by big companies. What does that mean for you as a client? Less care, less attention. To us, you are not just a number.
None of us are supported behind big box stores, or money making umbrella corporations. Every service and time spent, is from our hard nights working and sweat equity. Our countless hours outside of business hours, to be a part of your community. To be a part of your family.
Today I wanted to write about these small businesses, that not only support and uplift each other, in the industry, but local rescues, and what the community of Calgary needs. That alone I feel, is pride in ownership.
There are many out there of course (but these are my top 10 in the dog industry), and we would love to know more, so comment below and link it on our Facebook Post. During tough economic times, it is the glue between all businesses, that keep us going!
- Pooohbusters. This amazing strong couple, have helped many dogs over their career path - not just for poop scooping, but helping with dog training. This is how we first met. Without going into much detail, this mom and pop shop, with hard work and drive, now run the top Waste Removal business in Calgary - and growing! They give back to the community in many ways, including helping support local rescues in their fundraising endeavors, and staff so many Calgarians.
- Tailblazers Copperfield/Brindleberry: I met Holly when she came out strong with her photography business. Her ability to light up any photo, and bring out the joy in dog and human, let us cherish all the memories we have with our dogs. Little did I know, due to her humble nature, that she also ran one of the most active Tailblazers in Calgary. Did you know they are all individually run, and not all are the same. Before Sleep Rover Dog Boutique, I use to drive all the way south, just to buy my food, and dog beds and anything cool from her store. Holly always kept in tune with the industry. Now she runs a top notch educational blog. Make sure to catch up on her posts.
- Doodle Dogs YYC - being the new kid in town, we were intrigued to know, why Doodle Dogs is one of the best dog boutiques in Calgary. Their store is amazing, and the owners Meg and Corey are always looking for what is cool and fashionable, with a focus on pet nutrition. Not only did they welcome us with open arms when we went shopping, we have since become great industry supporters. A true meaning that you do not have to be the one and only to make it in the business world. There is room for everyone always - and supporting each other, helps everyone grow. They launched a beautiful grooming salon last year called DOODLE SPA - and the transformations are top notch. If you want to be fashionable for Rover, this is the place to be. It is my most favorite place to shop, as they always have something new. PLUS they are super active on Social Media. Another bonus, they have an online shop! So if you are far far away - you can still have a fashionable pup!
- Dekens & Montgomery Vet - I have seen Dr. Dekens around, before Sleep Rover was ever opened. He use to volunteer his time to train dogs at Sit Happens - and back then was calm and positive. Few years later, we got introduced to him - and it was an honor. He is one of the longest standing Calgary original vets, with a private practice. He attends all local functions to educate the public, and last year, opened a state of the art vet clinic in Montgomery. What is awesome, is he supports raw feeding, AND does house calls. You want a vet to trust, and a vet with experience and love for dogs. It is not much to ask for, but sometimes so hard to find.
- Urban Dog Market - I met this gorgeous lady Melissa, when we got approached to be part of an event her husband and her created, to raise money for AARCS. Paws in the Park. Most companies, would veer away from companies that might be ‘competition’ to them, let alone ask them to be a part of their event. We were honored. Even better, one of our foster girls ‘SURI’, a white mini bull terrier, captured her eyes, and landed the best furever home with them. Her name now is Rosie. You can see her modelling (or sleeping) in their store, right in Marda Loop. This little adorable boutique is stocked with the most fashionable and yummy dog items, AND has a small dog daycare.
- Global Pets Cochrane - Same with the other franchises, not all are the same. The ladies at Global Pets Cochrane are always taking part in any fun event we have. Their store is STOCKED to the max with EVERYTHING pet - and they are changing it up always. It might be a drive to Cochrane, but it is a gorgeous place to walk your dogs, hang out, and then spoil Rover. Make a trip out there, as you will always get welcomed with a smile there. Fiona and Christine are just such huggable, loving people - to humans too! Plus you can stop for Ice Cream on your way back into town.
- Cultured Canines - all I have to say, is lead by example. The training world is a difficult world. Just like raising kids, there is never ONE right way. I love Beth and her crew, because they trek through all controversies, and lead by example. Actions always speak louder than words, and their students rep that. Promoting well behaved dogs, means they can live the best life there is. Walking well on leash, going to public places and enjoying life, with a few simple rules. Let’s be real, it is training the human that is the tough part. Beth is always helping out in fundraising events, and super active in dog activities in the Calgary Community. A strong responsible breeder supporter, this girl is here to keep the integrity of the dog community strong. From puppy classes, puppy socials to consistent dog courses - your dog is set up for success.
- Bon A Pet Treat - this little cute bakery started it all (2006!!). Make sure to stop by for a treat on your way to Banff, as this adorable shop is right off highway 1. Emily is always in every Calgary event, supporting the community, and spoiling the community dogs with delicious HEALTHY treats. Her focus is to promote dog nutrition, without faltering on quality and taste. My eyes light up, at every booth they make up. I sometimes feel like I go to all the events they are at, just to buy my dog treats. Drool worthy. Do not miss out on their yearly Stampede Breakfast.
- The Dog with a Bow Photography - I had been admiring the work of Paul for a few years. His ability to capture why we love dogs, is stunning. Last year, I finally signed up for my first session, and seeing him in action, shows why, he is able to capture these moments. He does not mind getting down and dirty for the most perfect shot of your dog. He is super friendly and calm. He also does not rush you, or get frustrated. Although these seem like basic criteria for photography, you would be surprised how hard it is to come by. Paul also consistently does photos for dogs in need. He is always taking time out of his day, to feature dogs in need of homes. He also helps out with a lot of fundraising for various rescues with his skills.
- Bark Industry - We met Chyves and Anna through hockey, and soon found out they started (well their dog Tony did), a dog apparel company. Famous for their adorable, functional backpacks, this company caught the eye of the Dragons Den. Super active in the dog community and social media, these 2 take customer service to the extreme, but delivering locally straight to you. Custom fit and answering all your questions about their product, that also consist of cooling jackets for the summer, winter boots for the winter and functional dog accessories for you.
We all have the choice of where to shop and where to go, to spend our hard earned money. Know that supporting local, feeds back into the community, and allows us to support the community back.
I want to thank all our customers and clients, that even during a downturn of the economy, they still support us. They still will spend a few extra dollars just to buy food from us, or sign up their dog for daycare once a week, just to help us out, even when times are tough.
As our last year of lease is approaching, we are excited to still be around, and of course, to give back more, once we settle in a smaller facility. We have exciting plans for 2020, and cannot wait to give back to our long time supporters, and these amazing local businesses. Together we unite and thrive.
Last year, 2018, my goal was to Road Trip more with the dogs.
This year, I wanted to amp it up, and do something at LEAST once a month. January 2019 - we tried out Kananaskis, something close by.
Kananaskis is just about an hour away from Calgary. It is also a super dog friendly. You can drive in and stay at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge that is Pet Friendly and get Room Service. The next day, take a hike at nearby Troll Falls or Elbow Falls. Super easy, and a quick getaway. If you have time, the Nordic Spa.
We went mid January to the Mountain Lodge to celebrate Shogun’s 10th Birthday. They are not breed discriminatory there, nor do they have a size restriction. WE LOVE THAT! They of course require you to have well behaved dogs, and respect their leash and clean up rules.
Although we did not have time to venture the whole premise, they have a famous spa, the Nordic Spa, that recently got updated. Last time I went here, was back in the Olympic days, when my parents had a timeshare here. It has changed a lot since then. The decor is great. There is a skating pond out back in the winter time too.
We ordered room service, and it was good, not Vegas Room Service good, but good. Beds were clean and comfy.
The service is amazing. Everyone greets and welcomes you, and the staff are always asking if you are okay, if you are enjoying yourself.
A hike to do, is Troll Falls. Do not follow Google, as it takes you right into Nakiska Ski Lodge. Just follow the signs, as it is a quick turnoff right before you go up the hill.
The hike is ranked easy, and if we did not take so many photos along the way, it only took 2 hours back and forth. The distance is 3.4km. A very minimal incline.
Hike Essentials - I love my handsfree leash from Ruffwear. I also recommend a harness for your dog, so they are not pulling on their collar at their neck the whole 2.5 hours you are walking. Amanda had her dogs equipped with the Hurtta Y Harness.
For the winter, boots for your dogs do help, and of course, for the little ones, I put Jack in a backpack. He was in the K9 Sportsack - I bought mine at Doodle Dogs!
Another easy hike/walk are the Elbow Falls in Bragg Creek that we did last year. You literally park your vehicle, leash up your dogs and walk around the easy marked paths. Beware, this is a super popular walk, so go early, or you will not find parking. Photos by The Dog with a Bow Photography of my Crew!
Be safe and respect everyone’s bubble on your visits. Just because your dog is friendly, does not give you the right to have your dog approach a human or another dog, without consent. As courtesy on hikes, we always sit our dogs, and have them wait, and allow others to walk by us safely. Keep it #petfriendlycanada!
When the cold weather starts to roll around, I find my dogs skin to be more dry (just like us humans). I start making them some gut friendly, good for them BOMBS. I first got introduced to FAT BOMBS when I started my Keto diet last year. Quick snacks that are good for me, usually consisting of high quality coconut oil and either a fruit or nut butter.
kefir and coconut bombs
good for doggos
I started making some basic ones for my dogs too - just because the molds, make their food look extra fancy!
I have some super fun recipes that are easy for you to make. Rubber molds are recommended as it is easier to remove the bombs, and the designs are adorable. I have heart ones, bone ones and paw ones - all can be found on Amazon.
Watch our Video on this combo: https://youtu.be/8Rt_htF7xL0
- BONE BROTH POP - Simple! You can buy the Bone Broth at Sleep Rover to keep it simple. We sell Primal Broth and Borderland Bone Broth. OR you can make your own here: https://sleeprover.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/home-made-chicken-soup-humans-love-it-dogs-devour-it/
That post was from 5 years ago where I solely used chicken - and since, I have really enjoyed using BEEF Marrow Bones and Knuckle Bones as well. Chicken Feet as well, create more good for you collagen. Remember you can save some to make soup for yourself too.
- a) Step 1 - Warm up the premade broth. You can serve over dog food at this state.
- b) To make Bone Broth Bomb - warm one cup which usually fills 2 molds full!
- c) Spoon fill your Rubber Mold of choice with broth - feel free to add a parsley leaf in each. Parsley is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
- d) Freeze overnight and serve (or 6 hours)! A great treat on those hot days.
- COCOBUTTER BOMB: Coconut Oil and Natural Peanut Butter - super delicious - every dog loves! I highly suggest choosing a high quality Coconut Oil. It gets a bad rap on some sites, because people choose the cheapest out there, which of course, the cheaper it is, MOST likely, you are getting the ‘left over’ grinds of the product. I get my 2 products from Blush Lane Organics in Calgary, because they are really good at sourcing responsibly. When you purchase your Peanut Butter, make sure there is no sugars added. As natural as possible.
- a) Step 1 - warm up a non stick pot on medium to low, and place 1TB of Peanut Butter on the pot to soften it;
- b) Step 2 - place 3 TB of Coconut Oil - melt together and stir;
- c) Step 3 - add 1 tsp of Manuka Honey. I rave about Manuka Honey for myself during flu season. Read more about it when you feel under the weather. Add 1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon to the mixture.
- d) Stir and spoon into molds. At this point, you can throw in a few blueberries for some extra fibre and nutrition!
FOR MORE FUN - you can always start with Coconut Oil first (save a teaspoon for Step 2) - and fill the molds half full. Place in fridge for a few hours to solidify. Then spoon in the warm peanut butter mixture (with a little bit of the melted coconut oil for liquefying purposes) right on top and place in fridge again. It will give it a color layered look!
- Kefir Gut POP - Kefir Milk or Yogurt have probiotics to help with your gut. Teamed with some inflammation control ingredients such as Cinnamon and Parsley - it is a good for Rover treat!
- a) Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix - by hand for more chunky, mixer for more blended consistency. Combine 1 cup Kefir Yogurt or Milk, 1 Tablespoon Manuka Honey, 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/4 cup of fresh Parsley, 1/4 cup of your dogs favorite food (I chose Blueberries and Bananas combined).
- b) Spoon info or pour into molds and freeze in Freezer overnight!
Hope you and your dog enjoy this special time together. Trust me, they will want to lick the bowls after! At the end, they do not care how you serve the food, as you can see below, on my ‘plop’ method. The bombs are just so much cuter.
How do I keep my dogs teeth clean? I think everyone assumes I actually brush my dogs teeth nightly. Honestly, I sometimes forget to brush my OWN teeth at night…
We get asked often, what I do, to keep my dogs teeth so clean. My own vet even asks me. In my 25 years of having dogs (gosh that is a quarter of a decade) on my own, none of my dogs have needed Dental Work done (knock on wood).
Some dogs sadly, are just born with bad teeth. Could be genetics, breed or just bad luck. My Bull Terrier Azumi will probably be the first dog I have, that will need dental work, due to her jaw structure.
However minus the above, you can maintain great dog teeth till their senior years with proper diet - yes that means proper Raw Feeding (with bones!).
However not all of us can do raw feeding, so daily ingestion of kibble, builds tartar, with nothing to rid it. Imagine you eating pure carbs, sugars and processed foods.
Raw bones provide great chewing with nutritional benefits (like calcium, minerals and collagen etc). The motion of the dogs back teeth, trying to get the meat off the bones, moves and brushes away tartar.
Like toys - to be safe - SUPERVISE all dog chewing - I suggest to take away bones when they are small enough to choke, or after 20 mins of chewing.
I usually recommend 3 things to our clients. Bully Sticks being first, Dental Treats (which there are not many natural ones out there) and my most favorite, raw meaty bones.
raw meaty neck bones
Beef, Lamb or Bison
Over the years, I have gone from Knuckle Bones, to Marrow Bones to necks etc. This year, my most fave that I am recently implementing into my dogs diet, are beefy neck bones. Rib bones are great as well - but they have minimal meat. For smaller dogs, Chicken and Duck feet are great as well as chicken necks. Both provide bone and meat. DO NOT be alarmed to find your dogs stool is more firm.
I also suggest Feet and Necks for dogs with looser stools. The bone content firms up poop, and is why raw fed dogs, are a pleasure to pick up after.
At Sleep Rover we sell Artisan Raw Rib Bones and Neck Bones as well as Primal Pets Turkey and Chicken necks.
HeroBullySticks™ are a 100% natural, dehydrated NOT treated
My 2nd choice are Bully Sticks. Make sure the treatment on them are done by reputable companies such as Hero Dog. I love Bully Sticks because it literally is one ingredient.
HeroBullySticks™ are a 100% natural, dehydrated and government inspected. Our bully sticks are low odour, meaning these are washed inside and out before drying but are NOT treated with any chemicals to reduce the smell. Our bully sticks are an excellent long lasting chew treat, a great source of protein, and suitable for all dog sizes. HeroBullySticks™ are free of chemicals and preservatives. They are low in fat, and easily digestible. HeroBullySticks™ are product of Brazil from free-range beef, and are USDA, CFIA, FDA approved.
Third, for an easy treat that you just pull out of a bag, are the Dental Chews. So many out there, but we chose the Merrick Fresh Kisses due to them having ‘better’ ingredients versus the Pedigree and Greenies.
I also credit the K9 Gentle Dental team for cleaning my dogs teeth every year. Not only do they remove the tartar build up on my dogs teeth, they help me check my dogs teeth every year, track it, so I can report to my vet when needed. No need to put your dog under. The dogs are comfortable and treated so well. Not all teeth cleaning companies are alike (just like all dentists are not) so do your research.
I was so happy when May rolled around - even tho the snow this year, seemed to linger around longer than ANYONE wanted.
I made a goal for 2018 - to go somewhere at least once a weekend every month, with my dogs. Afterall, my life revolves around them. I've been searching trails via ALL TRAILS - so far so good.
Shogun after our May Long trip to Saskatoon
We started off easy on our visits this May, short and sweet - and the dogs, always came home tired and fulfilled (or might be just my mind).
There is something about leaving the city behind, that allows my brain to unplug. My body seems to relax and the gorgeous scenery, eases my body. On top, it allows Jimmy and I to reflect, talk and really get to know each other, all over again.
I also started a travelling journal. It isn't too elaborate - but I miss the good old times when you can just flip through photos, and relive memories. Scrapbooking use to be my thing, however the time involved, just wasn't working out for me. So a journal, was the 2nd best thing. On top, it forced me to work on my writing again, a lost art in a tech world.
Our first trip with the dogs was closeby. We hit up the Pet Friendly campground of Tunnel Mountain, as they are open year round. If camping isn't your thing, Hidden Ridge Resort is right behind them - and they are also pet friendly! This campground has all the bells and whistles. Shower and flush toilets.. but that view is beautiful. Another downside some people might not like, is the sites are quite packed in together. It is in the center of Banff though, so space is limited.
Tunnel Mountain Campground - RV Section
Spray Lakes Dog Offleash Park
Before we hit Banff tho, we always stop by my most favorite offleash park in Canmore- in Spray Lakes!
We did a quick and easy hike to Johnstons Canyon. There you will also find a pet friendly accommodation - little adorable cabins. This hike is super easy and SUPER busy during the Summer - so go early. You can take it up a notch and hike up to the Ink Pots as well. The trails are tight and busy, so if you have a reactive dog, this might not be the best hike.
May 2018 Hike to Johnstons Canyon - a little slushy
Make sure before you leave, that you get some delicious pancakes at Melissa's Missteak. Although I'm not a pancake pro - they have the lightest and fluffiest pancakes. They are also well known for their Egg Bennie's. They keep it simple and breakfast menu is till 3pm.
A few weeks after, we decided to take a longer trip, through to Radium. The drive there is gorgeous. We even saw a bear cross the road!
Canyon RV in Radium - Site #12
We stayed at a gorgeous RV Site right inside Radium (Canyon Camp RV Resort), right in a Canyon. Don't get it confused with the Canyon RV site in Kelowna! They booked us right beside a tiny creek and it was so gorgeous. I wish we got the chance to stay longer. Staff were friendly and the resort is well kept and gorgeous. Did I say gorgeous already? Being a smaller site, you are quite compacted in with others.
For little hikes - anywhere you stop along highway 93 is gorgeous (they have so many pullovers for you to take advantage of safely). You even trek through a section where it was devastated by the 2016 fires. We chose 2 spots this time, Numa Creek and a casual stroll to Marble Canyon. At Marble Canyon, there are other trails, such as Tokkum Valley that you can trek through. It is gorgeous!
Wrapping up May #doggietrips is our visit to Saskatoon, a 6.5 hour trip east to visit some great friends and our god daughter! Although most people might not know, Saskatoon is quickly becoming Foodie Central. Ayden (a famous restaurant downtown), was started by a chef who was competing on Top Chef Canada, and even opened 2 other restaurants in Saskatoon, which I have yet to visit. This trip we ate at SHIFT restaurant - highly recommended!
We spent some time in Drumheller for a rest stop. Just before you enter the town, there is an offleash park you can let your dogs out, to go potty and stretch out.
Drumheller Dog Offleash Park
Their RV Park is right in the City, so it is great for kids. We decided to drive right up to Kindersley that night. It has grown so much since 10 years ago. They even have a Walmart. With a camper van, we can pretty much stop anywhere to rest.
Gordon Howe Campground #60
We walked the river along downtown Saskatoon and stayed at an inner city Campground called Gordon Howe Campground. Easy to find and great service. We really enjoyed it here. Showers were clean and of course, flush toilets. They are also very pet friendly, I even saw a cat on leash.
We headed to Berry Barn that Sunday, about a 15 minute drive south of Saskatoon. It was gorgeous there, and pet friendly to walk around in. We enjoyed their perogy dishes and of course, their famous Saskatoon Berry Cheesecake.
Breakfast - Spolumbo Sausage, Egg and Avocado - doesn't look good but tasted good hah.
The Sask River behind Berry Barn
Sometimes you do not have to travel too far to get away and enjoy some quality time together. In Canada, especially Alberta, we are surrounded by nature's beauty. Just drive and make those memories. Everything else can wait.
Amanda and I wanted to start something fun for the Spring! We often get questions, on how we get our dogs to sit all together for photos, or how we attempt to walk all our dogs on leash through the streets of Downtown Calgary.
In this series, we hope to bring a fun approach to our love for dogs, and of course, to get to know all of our Sleep Rover fans. We have fans from all over the world, Hong Kong, London, down to Texas, or next door in Saskatoon!
Each week, we will choose a winner, whether it be a free day of daycare, one of our amazing #sleeproverdogboutique items OR a gift certificate to support a local business.
Speaking of local businesses, this first video of Shogun features a hip bandana from the great folks at Doodle Dogs off of Memorial and Parkland and treats by Drool Pawtesserie - yum to their Bacon Bones!
- Going on our Facebook Page, and posting your video under the comments section of the specified trick that week; OR
- Uploading a video on Instagram, and hashtagging #SRtrickytuesday;
We will consider all entries before midnight of that Tuesday, and announce our winner on Thursday!
Who do you think, can do the most tricks in one time?
We will post voting closer to the end of April! Get your tricks all polished up folks!
Tricks are a great way to spend some time with your furry friend, and learn patience, focus and.. the best part, all the laughs!
This year has been super tough on all the girls and our clients - with so many of our original clients, arrivng at the Rainbow Bridge.
Last month was Bosco: https://sleeprover.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/where-friends-become-family/
This week, is our beloved Fynn.
Fynn as a puppy - on our wall of OG clients
Although sad to see them go, every single client that comes in our door, has left a mark on our heart and taught us a few life lessons. Our tears may shed, but they will furever be in our hearts. A constant reminder to be happy, to make the best of the day, and to make others feel great!
Be the person, your dog thinks you are.
Fynn..beamed happiness. He was a depiction of his amazing family. His sister Keena was one of our first clients when we opened and we quickly fell in love with the whole family. They always welcomed every single #teamsleeprover with love and joy.
Goose, Fynn & Pyper at the old SR
"One of the sweetest, goofiest boys I had the pleasure of meeting at Sleep Rover. The friendliest dog I have probably ever met in the 4+ years I had known him, he was a friend to all. You could always find him soaking up the sun on the play set up against the wall at the old building, never leaving Goose and Pypers sides, always being the best big brother there was. " ~Kylee
Their furry family quickly grew to 3 with all their adopted animals and their human family followed with 3. Never did they skip a step with putting their dogs on the back burner. Weekly daycare and our support when things were tough. Words of wisdom and kindness pushed us through. The meaning of family, is what this family exudes.
Fynn loved eating and loved all the toys he could get his hands on, especially balls. When not playing, he loved snuggling with his sister's on the couches at Sleep Rover.
"My Fynn. I'll always remember the crazy ways of how you slept at daycare. Upside down, on your back, or literally head on the floor and bum on the couch. Always left a smile on my face. Always searching for food when traveling through the feeding room or popping open lockers looking for any last kibble. Your smile on your face made us all love you even more! We will miss you crazy man and your hilarious ways." ~Ashlea
He was so strong the last few weeks and lived every day to the fullest with his adorable smile.
It reminds all of us here, that every moment is so precious with our loved ones and to make efforts in spending all the time you can with them.
You will never have time, just MAKE TIME.
We started this 'feature' in memory of Bosco and Fynn, to show off our old, original clients. Through thick and thin, through happy and sad, them and their families - have been by our side. We too have watched them grow and flourish in life.
We thank now, all of you as well, for being a part of our family. Please enjoy our weekly features on Instagram, as of today. We love you Fynn, furever.
Our main man! This is Stewie, he is our doggo of the week!
He has been with us for 6 years and comes for a run around almost every day of the week!! We love his excited attitude as he runs in the door bright and early with his dad and he knows exactly where he's going! Thank you Stewie for being the goofball you are and always loving life here, WE LOVE YOU!
Now a word from Stew!
"Oh boy! I don’t know where to start, but my most favorite thing is the bum scratches I get! I like to sing and “woo” while I get them! I LOVE rolling around in the snow and trying to bite at it while looking adorable! I have been known to shoplift some toys from time to time but my dad always catches me, darn it! My manners are always on par and I always bark a goodbye to the ladies when I leave!" ~ashlea
Sometimes it is hard to purchase a gift for that person in your life, however if they love dogs like we do - getting a gift for them to spoil Rover, might be a good idea!
At Sleep Rover, our love of anything awesome for dogs, is our passion. Our manager Amanda and I, attend a yearly conference, to see what is new, what is great and what is needed, in all dogs lives! #sleeproverdogboutique - stocking the best for dogs, in treats, food and apparel. Take a quick peek in our boutique with this video!
OUR GIFT CHOICE for under $30
If you want to keep it simple, everyone needs a dog tag! Do a combo of treat & tag combo.
We brought in the MY FAMILY ID TAGS from Italy- so that you can personally engrave your own dog tag at Sleep Rover. A great gift combo is having a dog tag chosen, engraved, and wrapped with ribbon around a bully stick. We were super choosy about which company to bring in, and the quality of tags, the variety and ease of use for this was hands down the best. Pair it with the company that gives back, a Canadian Company, HERO DOG treats! Read about this amazing company.
OUR GIFT CHOICE for under $100
Amanda's choice this holiday season is outerwear. Her goal for the Fall/Winter 2017 season was to bring in as many stylish and quality outerwear for all dog lovers. Whether you choose the more affordable sweaters from Chilly Dog Sweaters - to the Canadian Weather Inspired Canada Pooch - and the top notch, fully warrantied Ruffwear Dog Performance Gear - we got you covered!
Her top 3 choices from the 3 companies are:
Holiday themed sweater - large enough to fit her boy Molson, but small enough to fit a chihuahua - here is the Chilly Dog Peppermint Holiday Sweater! Model is Molson @bigandfluffycrew
Brave Canada Winters
When you have no fur, you need to be protected from the elements - such as snow, wind and keeping dry. This fleeced choice by Canada Pooch Summit Vest (in 3 colors) is popular - as it fits large chested dogs as well! Model is Shogun @joycekao_sr
Great Alone or Layered
Ruffwear preps your outdoor loving dogs for the elements. The very popular Overcoat is great on its own, with the tough exterior, warm fleece interior - BUT easily layered onto their Cloud Chaser and Front Range Harness! Model is Alexus @alexusthepupper
OUR LUXURY GIFT CHOICE
Lastly, our third choice - is a SPLURGE! Every spoiled dog has a fancy bed. Not only does it add a hint of style to your home decor, it is the best way to pamper Rover. I mean they spend a lot of time sleeping! We are so lucky that one of the best dog beds is made by a Canadian Company called Bowsers! The most popular styles are the Piazza and Donut Beds - however their newest style, the Divine Futon is a great mix of both! Those new fabrics are to die for - and look at how happy Bourbon is! When you order through Sleep Rover, you save on shipping!
We hope we helped make some of your choices easier! Do not miss out on our Rover Market, dated December 3rd from 1pm to 4pm at Sleep Rover! Local Vendors will be showing their wares for sale - AND we will have some amazing in store specials!
However if you do not want to miss out on select items, come soon, before they are sold out!
It does not matter how much you donate, to make a difference. It is the thought and efforts that count, that mean the most.
Little Things Make Big Things Happen!
Whether you can donate $1, or $100 - you can help even if you have no funds, by sharing this post to other animal loving people. That itself, is a form of donation. Another way you can help, is to gather your co-workers, friends, people at the gym, or family together. Sweat equity is sometimes more important, than the actual monetary donations.
Each one of you, can help make a difference, this holiday season, for these animals in need.
This year, we have added Saving Grace Animal Sanctuary. Their philosophy is quite like Heaven Can Waits - they take on cases, that some rescues are unable to. Therefore they have longer staying animals, sometimes with health issues, behavior issues etc.
Long term residents at these rescues, not only cost daily on food and resources, but man power and utilities - including laundry, training and ongoing medical bills that pile up.
Not only does Saving Grace house dogs and cats - they also take on livestock.
So with the 3 rescues we have chosen, you have 3 different ways to help out:
- HEAVEN CAN WAIT: Sponsor a pet - Check out their profiles on our Facebook Page, and gather the items with your family, friends or co-workers. Bring the finished package to Sleep Rover, and we will be delivering these gifts, to High River - check out last years delivery here:
- ALBERTA SPAY & NEUTER TASK FORCE: Fill the Bin - As Winter is usually the end of all their hard work at local communities - the Task Force is looking for more tiny items. We set aside a huge bin at Sleep Rover - to which you all may fill up with their needs for 2018! Stationary items are huge as well. The list is below:
- SAVING GRACE ANIMAL SANCTUARY:Buy a Bulb - Saving Grace recently attained another building to house more animals. With that, they need a few items to furnish this facility - to run efficiently. Funds towards a new washer/dryer, Pee Pads, Buckets for livestock, monetary donations to help with their outstanding vet bills, dog food, cat food, hay bails etc. You can find these bulbs at Sleep Rover, hanging on our trees. Just pluck one, and pay at the till, and your monetary donation will be tabulated. Amanda & I will then purchase the items and deliver to them - and we will vlog the whole process!
We look forward to another successful year. This event is great to share with your friends, family and co-workers - no need to do it alone! Not only does it bring us all together, it puts more hearts, hands and love into the project. THAT is what the holidays is all about.
Giving not just material things, to others, but sharing the moment together.
I know our girls - especially Amanda (tis her season!), put countless, endless hours, on getting this event together. It fills our building with Holiday Cheer. The love spreads like wild fire, and we are so happy, to be able to share this, with all of you! Images designed by the amazing and talented Nandi!
TIME: 4 hours round trip - Took us 5 hours
Bathrooms (non flush) and Ground Water available
I jumped the gun, and recommended on easy by the super fit dog walker Sharyl with Adventures in Dog Walking - went to Cox Hill Ridge. It is a far cry from our Grassi Lakes 'stroll in the park'. I would suggest doing a few shorter mountains first before this 'hill'. It is quite steep and at 14km round trip - it is quite long. The description advises the hard stuff is in the beginning, however the whole hike was a climb upwards and some loose and jagged rocks near the top. Hiking sticks and boots highly recommended.
To get here from Calgary is a quick hour drive off Highway #1. You take the Sibbald Creek Highway 68 turnoff and drive down some rocky roads. You will be making a left onto Powder Trail into a valley, drive a few more mins and make a left, before the gates, at DAWSON RECREATION AREA. If you want to make it a weekend trip, you can also camp at the parking lot by the creek. It is noted that you can also fish here.
We started the hike early on this Mothers Day - arrived at the parking lot by 9am. Weather was perfect at 12 degrees C with a light breeze and probably hit closer to 5 degrees near the top. Layer up! The bridge is at the beginning of the pathway and offers a great view of the creek, where you can picnic at. Make sure to follow the human sign and not the horse sign. You will be taking the Cox Trail. There are plenty of spots to rest - which we did plenty, being out of shape. It is greatly shaded if you go in the summer. There is no water on the way up, so make sure to pack enough water.
The 2 hours hike up was quite steep and tough - with the first hour covering most of the incline. The last 30 minutes were still quite tough, as the trail winded down in width.
Remember to stay on leash to be safe and to respect nature!
You do not get the satisfaction view, till you hit the top - so do not give up! When you think you have made it, you just have to keep going.
Take some time for yourself and head up to the mountains to get some fresh air and relax with the scenery. Bring a friend for a nice chat - or, if you have a dog, even better.
Something about water and mountains that relaxes the body. Shogun @ Grassi Lakes
You will come back refreshed and relaxed. Sometimes you just need to unwind and enjoy the bigger picture - nature.
TIME: 2 hours round trip on EASY trail
We started the year off with a super easy hike only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Calgary - north of Canmore. It is super popular, because it is gorgeous, and super short and easy to get to. The paths are well marked and wide enough for your dogs. They do have a portapotty at the base of the hill.
Going early is important, as because it is popular, you can bet that by 11am - you will struggle to find parking. We left Calgary late however, assuming as it was chillier today at 8 degrees, there would be less people. We arrived at around 1030am and it was pretty empty, around 10 vehicles, and as you can tell, there was still some snow on the paths.
This is one of my fave websites for Alberta Hikes, it is more old school: TRAIL PEAK
However this is a newer one called ALL TRAILS with maps included and more updated reviews.
The lake is beautiful and the view is amazing. You arrive at the lake and there are benches for you to rest, snack and enjoy the view. For easy hikers, you make a quick loop around and head back down the same path to the parking lot.
If you like a challenge, up the Lake is a steep path marked difficult.
Up this path is a super steep set of stairs
We love this hike as the end result is beautiful, and it is not strenuous. You also get your 10,000 steps for the day and come back happy and fulfilled. Happy dogs, happy life!
For the first time in 7 years, I make this difficult decision, to stop any more new dogs from booking trials with Sleep Rover.
Since our first Facebook Post in February - there has been an alarming amount of dogs, reporting that their dogs have Kennel Cough for the month of March 2017. We usually average 1 or 2 per season (Spring/Fall) - but within March, we have hit almost 16 dogs. Although we cannot pinpoint blame on any one dog ( as sometimes dogs who do NOT show symptoms, can carry the virus ), we can stop it where possible. Being an airborne virus, it is pretty difficult to 100% rid - but we have been very lucky, the last 7 years, to not see much of it!
The common line with all 16 dogs - is they are new to Sleep Rover within the last year, more so, 12 of them are new for 2017.
With us averaging 10 new dogs per week - many dogs have either:
1) Recently received their Bordetella shot, read more here by Dr. Dobias - how dogs can go without the Bordetella shot and NOT get Kennel Cough (like 3 of my own, who knock on wood, have not gotten the cough). Whereas ones that 'just got the shot' to attend a kennel, or are a puppy, get it within a week to 2 later: https://peterdobias.com/blogs/blog/11015065-kennel-cough-vaccine-exposed;
2) Or have not built immunity to the virus yet, therefore showing symptoms, and spreading it.
Although we take precautions every season, with our large Make Up Air Unit and cleaning throughout the day - this airborne virus has become a nuisance to our new clients for the month of March.
Besides breaking our hearts (and yours, hearing your babies cough), and having the virus linger during this FLU Season, we have decided to stop all new dogs from booking for new trials, till we are in the clear.
We have not seen any regular clients come up with symptoms, as most of them, have developed immunity to the virus over the years.
Whether there is a new strain starting, or our new clients have never frequented kennels/offleash parks etc. before, we are not sure.
We just want to be safe. YES it is not mandatory at Sleep Rover to have Bordetella shots yearly, and it has worked wonders over the last 7 years. However with that being said, 14 of the 16 dogs infected, all had their Bordetella Shots. As this is a touchy subject, just like the flu shot, we always leave that choice, to you, the parent.
Please stay tuned to when we lift this NO TRIAL alarm. We are hoping for May 1st.
We are sorry for this inconvenience, but having one of our younger new clients suffer from pneumonia on the weekend and many of you calling this week to inform that your dog is ill, was enough for us to make this difficult decision.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always hear to give suggestions including what to do, during flu season, to make sure Rover, can pass the season unharmed. This includes Oil of Oregano in the beginning of the season, bone broth soups to rinse out their system and extra nutrition added to their meals.
All new clients, your trials will be cancelled for April. Please do reschedule for May when possible. Exceptions can be made for dogs, who have frequented other dog facilities in the past, and built immunity to the virus. Noting you have the Bordetella shot, will not be accepted for new dog trials.
We will be cracking down on ANY hacking or coughing motions by your dog. YOU MUST pick up your dog immediately and not be allowed to return till your have a vet clear, OR 2 weeks, whichever is sooner.