We began our journey under the name Happy Dog Acres in 2007 with the sole purpose and commitment to give your dog a fun filled and safe place to play and stay while you're away or just at work for the day. After a few years and many renovations the business owner moved on to new things and so under new management we became Playful Paws Pet Center in 2013.
In 2012 we opened up our second location just on the out skirts of the city off Highway16. We opened this location to aid our customers who have dogs older than 6 months but aren’t fixed, and those who may not be able to interact with other dogs and aren’t able to attend our in town location because of such reasons. Our Rural location focus’ more on one on one play time sessions with the staff and the dogs.
Our Staff is made up of dog enthusiastic individuals who strive to make your dog feel as safe and comfortable while here. They spend their days in the parks playing and interacting with both boarding and daycare dogs. All of our staff are Pet first aid and CPR trained and know how to handle any situation that may occur. The staff team we have built is full of compassionate and caring individuals who want nothing but the best for you and your 4-legged pal!
On September 10 of 2016, we experienced a devastating tragedy within our kennel. We lost fourteen incredibly loved friends and beautiful animals that perished while under our care. Our first and foremost thoughts and condolences remain with the owners and the families of these beloved pets. They entrusted us with the care of their precious family members, and we failed them in the most unthinkable of ways. We sincerely apologize for the devastating loss of their beloved pets and yet we understand that no apology will ever be sufficient.
We now know (because of the investigation undertaken by protection services) that from a time well before we took over the operation as Playful Paws, the staff and animals were experiencing uneven temperatures within the building. Their concerns were not severe (temperatures swings were typically 3 – 5 degrees), there did not appear to be any consistency in the imbalance, and once the overhead doors were closed and the facility was readied for night operation, temperatures balanced quickly. Playful Paws had and continues to have a maintenance contract with a reputable HVAC supplier, who regularly visits the facility. In the spring of 2016, in an effort to be more proactive on issues, we had increased the frequency of their service intervals. In view of all the foregoing, our staff and managers, for 5 ½ years believed these temperature variations to be idiosyncrasies of an older, remodelled building and not a resolvable problem.
This, sadly, takes us to the question: What went wrong? Following the tragic event in September, an independent heating and cooling expert was brought in to investigate and to determine and eliminate the cause. It took several days to complete this investigation and the issue was not simple to diagnose. We now know there were several contributing factors.
The most important was the expert’s discovery that when the thermostat in the veterinary clinic was moved in 2011, it was incorrectly wired by the licenced electrician. This error affected the two thermostats wired in further sequence of that thermostat and they are the ones that control the temperature in the upstairs boarding rooms. The thermostats in these upstairs rooms displayed the room temperature and the heating and cooling set points, but they were not otherwise functional, and despite outward appearance, would not call for heating or cooling. The result was that the thermostat on the main floor and the one in the veterinary clinic controlled all heat and cooling on both floors of the expanded building. When the lower room temperature setting was increased, these thermostats called for heat. The lower level area in which they were located was more susceptible to heat loss, and as a result, the temperature in the upstairs boarding area became higher than that near those thermostats. As soon as the temperature at the functioning thermostat reached the required setting, the heat would shut off and the temperature would balance out.
It was also determined that on the day before this tragedy, someone in the building set one of the working thermostats to the maximum heat setting. This meant that the thermostat continued to call for heat throughout the night, and the balancing out process did not occur.
In hindsight, this may not have occurred if at any point in the years since the building expansion we had asked the HVAC supplier to investigate or correct the temperature variations. Because the temperature imbalances did not exceed a few degrees, and always balanced out overnight there was not a reason to believe that the pets were in danger. This is particularly so when dealing with imbalances of a few degrees, which is not uncommon in homes and in industrial buildings, including warehouses. While the outcome of September 10th would have been different; the latent wiring defect was very difficult to detect and took the HVAC professional a significant amount of time and trial error diagnosis to find the source of the problem.
Right after the accident, we were made aware of the availability of thermostat alarm sensors that would have alerted us to the temperature issue. We immediately installed locking boxes around the thermostats, as well as these temperature sensors that are wired directly into our alarm system to alert us of any irregular heating or cooling issues. Since Playful Paws installed these, we have been advised that many other facilities have now done the same and we sincerely hope this tragedy results in all kennel facilities having these alarms installed.
Although nothing we can do will ever make this better or restore these pets to their owners, soon after the accident we moved to compensate the affected families for their loss. We fully accept responsibility for what happened at Playful Paws and wish that we would have done more. Our hearts and sincerest apologies go out to the pets, their owners, and the children affected by this tragedy.
We would like to thank each and every person that has shown their love and support for all the staff, customers and the dogs. It did not go unnoticed, and has helped us all immensely.
Playful Paws Pet Center