About Us

Staff Bio



Hi I am Karla Shalley, the proud owner and operator of The Playpen Pet Boarding & Grooming.  We have been in business since May of 2008 and I have had the pleasure of meeting so many great clients with fur and without ☺,whom we have grown so close with.

I am so lucky to say that I have truly found my passion in pet care.  This is what I was meant to do.  Prior to opening The Playpen, I was a police officer for 16 years, with the RCMP and The Calgary Police Service.  I moved to the East Kootenay in 2006 and had a few different jobs in marketing, event management and publishing.  However, being the mom of two dogs at that time, I felt there was a need for a pet boarding and grooming facility in the East Kootenay.  I had a background in grooming and education as a Vet Assistant and Pet Care Technician, so I purchased approximately 2 acres in the industrial area in Cranbrook and the vision of The Playpen was born.

I am also privileged to work with my staff, all which are just as passionate about our clients as I am.  Most of my staff come very varied backgrounds, but all have the true love for animals in common.  They truly care for our clients as they would their own pets!

I also have a passion for animal rescue, which I have been getting involved with more and more.  I have fostered a few dogs, who would have otherwise been euthanized and found loving forever homes for them.  Along with taking care of our clients this is the most rewarding ‘job’ anyone could ask for.

Thank you to all of the parents of our clients who allow us the privilege of taking care of their loved ones, it means so much to us.  I look forward to seeing all of our regular clients soon and am excited to meet all of those parents and pets who haven’t been to visit us yet!!
Sincerely, Karla (Allie, Niro, Lucy and Lily – my four furbabies)





Hi! My name is Aimee Gareau and I am the Kennel Team Leader here at The Playpen!  I was born and raised in Fernie B.C. and for the past 7 years I was the Assistant Store Manager of Extra Foods in my home town.  When I decided to move to Cranbrook about a year ago I felt it was about time to find a job that would allow me to wake up each morning with a I-can’t-wait-to-get-to-work! attitude.  For me, I knew this would involve working with animals in some way and when I saw the posting for this position (and with a lot of support from my wonderful boyfriend!) it was as if all the stars aligned and my dream job was available right when I needed it. Now I get to hang out with your best friends all day long, making sure they have a great time at The Playpen.  I’ve met so many wonderful dogs and cats and love to see each ones personality.  I go home everyday with a smile that one of your loved ones gave to me.  I am also the main photographer here and taking pictures of your furry friends having fun and posting them onto Facebook is also part of the job that makes me smile.  I look forward each day to your reactions to the pictures, and all your comments make me realize that we are doing a great job keeping your pets happy!

I have always had furry or feathered (and sometimes scaled!) friends in my life.  I volunteered my time and pets to visit senior care facilities so I could share the joy an animal can bring with those who no longer were able to care for them.  I would listen to stories that the seniors would tell about pets they had owned and how much they missed them and knew I was very fortunate to be able to share my life with all the amazing creatures I had cared for.  My boyfriend and I now share our lives with a papillon named Nova who is the best little dog anyone could ask for, an orange tabby kitten who we named Watson who gets into all kinds of mischief and keeps Nova on his toes, and a cockatiel called Charlie who believes that when the phone rings it means to he should scream as loud as he can so we all know it did indeed ring! 

I’ve been working for Karla for about one year now and I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have gotten this opportunity to work an amazing job with some crazy talented ladies and the most passionate, caring boss I’ve ever had the pleasure to work under.  I love how The Playpen is all about the best possible care for your pets.  I am proud to be a part of all the outreach that Karla and The Playpen extends to the community, shelters and organizations in the area that benefit animals and pet owners in need.  We have started to join the fostering community which was a first for me, and it really is a heart-warming feeling to help even one animal in need.  I know I am a very lucky person to have been given a job that allows me to be a part of all the amazing things that Karla has made possible in the animal world, even if we are just a small town business, it really makes a huge difference to those animals and when it comes down to it, that’s what it’s all about!!!!

So I would like to thank all our clients, furry and two-legged, for making my dream job a reality and giving a small town girl a reason to smile everyday smile Hope to see you all soon!!



Hi!  My name is Laura Stewart and I have been working for The Playpen since June of 2013.  I have to say that I love working here with all my furry friends and not so furry coworkers.  Although I am only 19, I have had a few jobs now and this job is turning out to be the most rewarding.  I don’t even mind getting out of bed in the morning!  I enjoy working with all the animals from tiny Chihuahuas up to the horse-like Great Danes.  Since I was a little girl, spending time with my Grandma and Grandpa on their hobby farm, I just felt that I was at home.  I had a special connection with all their animals.  In fact, I was the unopposed leader of the turkeys and chickens.  The cows even followed me around. 

I was born in Quesnel, BC , but when I was three, my mom decided to spend a week visiting my Grandparents on their farm in Wycliffe.  That was almost seventeen years ago and this was when life on the farm began.  We lived in Kimberley for seven years and then moved to Cranbrook when I started grade six at Amy Woodland School. Hardly a day went by when we didn’t go out to the farm, but all good things must come to an end.  The farm became too difficult for my grandparents to manage and so they moved to Cranbrook.  I still see them almost every day.  We still sometimes talk about the farm and all the happy memories.  My Grandma misses the chickens as much as I do.

Coming to work and taking care of your pets that you love so much has inspired me to one day help those animals that aren’t as well loved.  I see this as being a need because animals cannot speak for themselves.  Karla brings dogs from other shelters that haven’t been adopted and I have so much respect for her because she does this…these dogs could have been euthanized.  She has given them a second chance and it is something I would like to do in the future.  It is so refreshing to work with like-minded people, who share my passion for animals. 

My boyfriend and I live in an apartment that unfortunately doesn’t allow pets.  I have filled the void somewhat with my fish named Chief.  Although he isn’t as cuddly as a new puppy, he has a great personality for a fish and is very loved in our home.  Thanks to all of you who have trusted us with caring for your four legged family member.  Know that they will receive the same amount of love here as they do at home. 



A newcomer to the area, I moved to the East Koootenays in the fall of 2012, coming from the Okanagan Valley.  With a passion for life, the outdoors, people and pets, both canine and equine.
I have a history of “taking care” of others. From raising 3 sons, to raising livestock, to caring for the health and wellbeing of clients, I love being a part of The Playpen team and caring for your four- footed loved ones.
Angela Hurd



Hi, my name is Vanessa Davies. I recently moved to Cranbrook from Sparwood B.C. I started working at The Playpen in October 2013. I have always loved being with animals and I currently share my home with my cat, Moses, and my two degus, Furby and Derby.  If I am not found at home, I am always out at the barn with my horse Haiku.  I always enjoy spending time out with my pets, and I can’t wait to get know and spend time with all the clients at The Playpen.  I look forward to meeting everyone and being a part of the great pet community The Playpen has created.
Vanessa Davies