Gone to the Dogs

Story by Mario Toneguzzi


Photos by Kristy Reimer

Nikki Nordick has turned a passion for dogs into a thriving business in Airdrie.

Airdrie Puppy Pals, which was incorporated in 2015 with the daycare opening in October of that year, actually started just as an online community.

“There was no business aspect to it,” says Nordick. “We would just organize community play dates and get owners to bring their dogs to one of Airdrie’s dog parks. I used to take my dog Rosa and we would go to the dog park and there would be nobody there. And Airdrie has about 10,000 licensed dogs. So that’s what originally started Puppy Pals.”

From that, Nordick heard stories about people having difficulty finding good, reliable dog walkers. So she started a dog-walking side of the business and that evolved to what it is today as a dog daycare, boarding and training centre.

The success of the venture has not gone unnoticed as it won the Airdrie Emerging Business Award in 2017.

“We strive to provide a safe and reliable service that people can depend on”

“We’ve sort of grown from just a Facebook community to what we are today,” says Nordick, a certified professional dog trainer.

She says the foundation of Airdrie Puppy Pals is built on three core values: safety, family and community.

“We strive to provide a safe and reliable service that people can depend on,” she says. “We treat puppy pals and their parents how we would want and expect to be treated. And we actively participate in and host a variety of community events.​”

Nordick and her husband Ray (Cossette) have two Alberta Rescue Foundation dogs: a Lab cross named Rosa and a Shepherd cross named Ryder.

Airdrie Puppy Pals is located on Kingsview Rd S.E. in one big open-concept space, conveniently adjacent to the off-leash dog park. The location also has a small selection of retail items and a do-it-yourself dog wash bay open to the public.

“We don’t go by numbers. We go by behaviours, anxieties and personalities. We ask all of our Puppy Pal parents to schedule their services a day in advance so we can modify depending on who’s coming,” says Nordick.

“We’ve had dogs sleep over for one night and we’ve had dogs sleep over for over a month. Some puppies will come for a few hours. Other puppies will come from the moment we open to the moment we close which is 12 and a half hours a day.”

“Every day Ray and I are so grateful that we’re able to do what we love in a community that we love. We live here,” says Nordick. “Ray and I love what we do and the fact we get to do it every day with an amazing team and amazing clients, we’re happy.”