Why she started her own dog day care – and how it’s different

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Ten years ago, Velvetanne Madro didn’t know she’d be where she is today. Back then she was working as an occupational health nurse for private corporations. But that all changed when Madro saw a need in Calgary for dog day cares, and thought she could fill that gap.

“I just recognized there was a need for it. And when I wanted to open a dog day care, I thought how can we be different?” said Madro.

After becoming a licensed trainer through PetSmart Canada, Madro started her own training business, Velvetanne Dog Training. By 2010 she furthered her work with dogs and opened Raising Canine, a dog day care that takes pride in doing things a little bit differently.

The idea for the day care came from her experience with dog owners in Calgary. Shevelvet croppedVelvetanne Madro works to ensure the dogs get lots of playtime at Raising Canine’s day care facility.

Photo by Erica Pollock recognized that with so many owners working long hours, they did not have the time to exercise and socialize their dogs properly.

Raising Canine is different from other day cares in that they offer many other services besides just watching your dog for the day – they offer training classes as well as grooming.

Madro started to offer grooming at Raising Canine due to bad experiences her own dogs had at other groomers in the city.

“With my dog Jamie he was shaking just going into the grooming shop. When I confronted the groomer she said: ‘Yeah I had to rough him up a bit, because he wasn’t sitting still and acting like a baby.’ I was just floored,” said Madro.

Madro’s groomers work on a “no rush” grooming policy – meaning that the emotional and physical well being of the dog comes first.

“The dogs will always be treated respectfully – it’s our mission statement that all dogs are treated with uncompromising kindness, dignity and respect,” said Madro.

If the dog is feeling stressed and anxious, the groomers use techniques to calm the dog and make it feel comfortable in the grooming setting.

“I wanted to provide a grooming salon that not only provided great cuts, but assured the client their dog is safe and happy, not stressed and that we’re providing a positive atmosphere for the dog,” said Madro.

groomerGroomers at Raising Canine work on a “no rush” policy where the well-being of the dog always comes first.

Photo by Erica PollockMadro’s groomers prefer to work in the no-rush grooming setting as well. Erin Miller, a groomer at Raising Canine for six months, likes it because the atmosphere is a lot more positive for her and the dogs she grooms.

“It’s just mellow, it has a good flow and it’s a lot less stressful. If you’re not rushed, you can put the dog down so they stay a lot more relaxed, and having the open atmosphere where they can mingle with other pups is nice. It’s all about the energy,” said Miller.

Clients seem to agree that the way Raising Canine is doing grooming, day care and training really seems to work.

Narelle Mifflin, a client who has brought her dog for grooming, training and day care, said it’s convenient to have all three services in one place, and doing so provides a safe and comfortable environment for her dog, Biscuit.

“Velvet and her team provide a safe, fun and stimulating environment for all dogs regardless of breed, size and energy,” wrote Mifflin in an email.

“Velvet has an amazing ability to read dogs and their energy, and ensures all dogs in her care feel welcome and safe.”


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