It’s Reigning Cats and Dogs

What better way to acknowledge National Small Business Week than by giving a shout out to local businesses with a tail to tell?

Pets and business make for a great combination and, frankly, small business is the backbone of our communities. They make our neighbourhoods vibrant, lively and inviting places to live and help give an area its identity, bringing neighbours together, providing a service and enriching our lives. When you pair a community business and our furry friends, the aww factor is just that much bigger.

Here are three Old Ottawa South community leaders that understand the importance of our four-legged friends.


Wagging it

One of the most unique businesses around has to be Wag Café and Pet Lounge, a combo pet-friendly café, retail store and doggy daycare all rolled into one. It’s hard to know whether this Bank Street fixture is meant more for Fluffy and Fido or their owners, with both human and dog treats on the menu (pup cakes are a big hit), a doggy daycare, playgroups, off-leash lounge, seminars, workshops and more.

It was founded by long-time area businesswomen Joan Garvey and our very own Lyne Burton in 2005 as a great spot for people and pooches to socialize and is now owned by recent Old Ottawa South transplant Alberto Garcia, along with investors who include Kris Bowes.

“It’s very original and the only one of its kind,” says Kris, who heaps a ton of praise on the regular clientele. But it also attracts visitors from other parts of the city who want to meet up with friends in a dog-friendly – and dry! – spot, as well as some that come from as far away as the East Coast.

Where is it? 1071 Bank St.; 613-730-4647; wagottawa.com


Cup of Joe (the Dog)

Joan Garvey may have moved on from Wag, but she’s still a force in the neighbourhood. While running Wag, this serial entrepreneur (she and Lyne launched Boomerang Kids before starting up Wag) continued the canine theme in creating her popular Joe the Dog fair-trade coffee.

With fun, and somehow appropriate, varieties such as Gotta Go morning blend, Neutered Dog decaf and Mixed Mutt (half caffeine, half decaf for the slightly indecisive), her humour and love of pups shines.

“Coffee’s such a social thing, I love that part of coffee … it’s sort of like a time out in a day,” says Joan, who spends almost as much time fundraising as she does running her business. “It’s a moment in our busy lives.”

Joe the Dog can be found in several Old Ottawa South shops, including Life of Pie, Cedars & Company, Chef’s Paradise and The Cyclery, as well as many other Ottawa locations. (A portion of proceeds goes to local animal shelters and rescue groups.)

More info: joethedogcoffee.ca


Getting vetted

And looking after all those pooches and other pets? None other than Lansdowne Animal Hospital, which provides a full suite of services to our furry friends.

From house calls to caring for exotic pets, full medical and surgical services, preventive and emergency care, boarding and more, Lansdowne has been around for 20 years. Currently owned by Dr. Bijan Iraei, it features three veterinarians on hand to meet pet needs for about 4,000 clients.

“Animals, unlike humans, cannot express themselves very much when they are in pain and they are sick.” Helping them to get better is his best reward.

With a gentle touch, compassionate attitude and genuine concern for the health of our pets, Lansdowne also encourages owner awareness through how-to videos, educational articles and videos and the peace of mind of a pet health checker to help us determine how urgent our pet’s condition might be.

For Dr. Iraei, nothing beats being a part of such a lively neighbourhood. “I really enjoy working in this community; very nice people. They are really animal lovers.” Now if he can just get his wife to agree to move here…

Where is it? 281 Sunnyside Ave.; 613-730-2460; website