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 and all her 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. where I worked as the Assistant Store Manager of Extra Foods in my home town. When I decided to move to Cranbrook about 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, a French Bulldog called DaVinci that is possibly the funniest little dog I’ve ever owned, and an orange tabby cat named Watson who gets into all kinds of mischief and keeps the dogs on thier toes.

I’ve been working for Karla for over 2 years 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 Hope to see you all soon!!

Hi, my name is Terri Nash.  I was born and raised in Kimberley, BC where I currently reside with my husband and two cocker spaniels. After spending years away at school, travelling the world and living in Whistler, BC for 15 years, I always knew I would return to the wonderful Kootenays and it’s wonderful lifestyle. I love it here. Life has taken me down many interesting pathways over the years, and as I look back I realized there is one constant which has stayed with me ever since I was a little girl, and that is my love for animals. There wasn’t a time in my childhood that I didn’t have pets. Then growing up and travelling the world I found myself doing animal volunteer work in such places as Africa and Ecuador.  Appreciate your dogs everyone!!! As taking care of monkeys is a real challenge let me tell you. Animals have given me great pleasure over the years; I have ridden an ostrich, rode a camel around the pyramids, worked with monkeys and wildcats in Ecuador, played with wombats and cuddled baby kangaroos. I have seen up close, the tiny Fairy penguins in Tasmania as they waddled by me on a beach. I have been lucky enough to visit the Churchill polar bears and have been awed while I kneeled between two Cheetahs with my arms around each of them at a centre in Africa. My personal favourite though… the month I spent with a baby mountain gorilla in the care of veterinarians I befriended in Rwanda. So it is no wonder that now that I’m back settled in my home town that I came knocking on the Karla’s door at The Playpen. The Playpen! What can I say I’m impressed. I am very proud to be working with Karla and her team of gals which provide such a high quality of genuine care for all the “fur people” who come through the door. The biggest compliment a dog can give you at The Playpen is not only being healthy, happy and content at the end of their stay but by being super excited when they return again and want to run through that big door and have some fun! I look forward to meeting all who visit us at The Playpen and to being a continuing part of the great care and fun this facility offers to your furry loved ones.

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