Local Love Blog Series –
Crazy Dog Lady
Welcome back to the Local Love Blog Series! Our next feature is very recognizable if you’ve ever lived in Banff, as she’s always seen walking around town with no less than two four-legged friends.
I’m so excited to feature the incredible work Julianne Nicole Porter, or Jewels, is doing as the lovingly and very much self-proclaimed Crazy Dog Lady.
Jewels is the first person we’ve featured who took our regular interview questions and wrote her own blog! So, for this reason, I must give her credit for a few of the words that follow since some were just too good to change!
Jewels made her way to Banff from Ontario in what one can only consider a “missed connections” kind of fairy-tale story.
Having moved from Ontario to Calgary in 1999, young Jewels had landed herself in the oil industry as an exploration surveyor. During one of their typical summers off work, she would always pick up part-time work until being called back to surveying. One summer, the layoff wasn’t only seasonal, and Jewels took this opportunity to get a dog.
With a new puppy and a visiting sister in tow, Jewels headed to Banff for a day trip.
Stopping for gas in town, she just happened to run into Koko, an old high school buddy. By the time she got back to her truck and reminded her sister of the connection, Jewels said, “I’m going to marry him” – spoiler alert: she did!
Fast forward to a year or so later, Jewels was living in Banff with Paul (a.k.a. Koko) and quickly knew all the neighbourhood dogs by name.
Armed with dog treats in her work truck, she was soon dubbed the Crazy Dog Lady and the name just stuck. Not long after Jewels secured a job at Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours. Under the watchful and helpful hand of Carlin Kimble, then owner and third-generation musher showed Jewels the commitment and effort it took to look after a pack of dogs.
It wasn’t long before one dog, in particular, took a keen liking to Jewels.
Navajo (or more adoringly known as Jo) was one of the dogs ready to retire and be adopted. After some rubber-arm pulling, Jewels convinced Paul to add Jo to their family. Soon after was when Jewels started thinking about putting together her dog walking business.
As she started the process of obtaining a business license and insurance, Jewels sought advice from Veronica’s Dog Grooming & Daycare.
Both the former and current owners were keen to help support Jewels, understanding that she wasn’t trying to compete with their business. They now have a great, supportive relationship where Jewels can send them business and vice versa. Working mostly, at first, with dogs who don’t thrive in a doggy daycare environment, Jewels slowly but surely started building her business. She struck gold being featured in the Caribou Properties brochure, catering to visiting canines needing a mid-day walk while their owners explored the town.
But Jewels couldn’t have made it without the amazing support of other local business owners.
When her Crazy Dog Lady magnets were stolen from her truck last year, Jim Kwan from Defending Awesome (past Local Love feature) immediately reached out to help! She also has a great partnership in the works with Ward and Jenny from the Banff Dog House – exciting announcements coming soon! And Jewels finds inspiration from Bow Valley Crossfit owner, Liz White, who has provided a strong and talented role model to look up to.
It should come as no surprise that her dogs are at the centre of everything.
When we asked what three things need to happen every single day, Jewels knew that her dogs would be the ones to answer this with: feed them breakfast, walks & cuddles, feed them dinner. Her favourite part about her business isn’t just the amazing connections she makes with the dogs, but also the trust and respect from her clients who recognize the work that goes into it.
It’s the little things that keep her going.
Such as Blistwool, with products made with 100% Canadian wool grown by sheep in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC. Jewels also finds fuel for her unbelievably active days at the Banff Farmers Market from The Fryin’ Irish digging into hand-cut fries or their poutine. It should also come as no surprise that she has an undeniable love and respect for the work being done at the Bow Valley SPCA.
While Paul would love for Jewels to learn what a day-off looked like…
All the dogs in her life couldn’t be happier to see her so devoted to their tail-wagging, tongue-bearing smiles. So next time your pup needs some loving, or a friend visits town and wants a bit of time to explore a non-dog-friendly area, make sure to give Jewels, the Crazy Dog Lady, a call! You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.
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