Nikki is a Child and Youth Care Counsellor by trade — and works with high-risk youth throughout the city of Edmonton. It’s important to Nikki to look beyond the statistics and assumptions people make about at-risk youth. She takes a flexible, responsive approach to meeting the needs of her youth clients because no two young people are having the exact same experience.
So she tailors her approach to their unique needs and empowers them with the coping skills they need to be resilient when confronting tough situations. Similarly, Nikki ensures that Dog Jogs tailors its services to the unique needs of her four-legged clients and their families.
“I thought I just wanted to run. Then I thought I just wanted to run with dogs, but deep down there was much more to it!”
Nikki’s dog, Koda, was suffering from pretty severe separation anxiety and developing a routine based on exercise was the most impactful tool she found. Running and walking Koda beyond the typical vet recommendations changed Koda’s life — and Nikki’s life as well. Coming and going, and being away from the house used to cause great stress for Koda and Nikki, but after they started running together, that stress went away.
After seeing what a difference this made to her life, Nikki knew that other people could benefit as well!
Nikki enjoys running races, from 5-KMs to half-marathons, but she loves running with her furry friends best of all. She’s also a ball hockey player, hiker, camper, and enjoys cooking (and eating) and travelling.
Steph didn’t grow up with pets (because her parents said no), but she has always been a friend to many dogs! She’s a dedicated athlete who plays soccer and ball hockey, and while she always ran hard while playing those sports, she didn’t consider herself to be a runner.
And then she started running with Nikki and Koda! Running became a de-stress tool for Steph and also inspired her to stop smoking. Plus she loves the sweet running apparel and shoes she gets to wear all the time now! She’s also very calm and is great with nervous dogs because her relaxed energy helps comfort and settle them.
Steph likes to travel — whether she’s backpacking around Europe or relaxing in Mexico, she’s always eager to sample the local food and then try to replicate the recipes back home.
Reina- Dog Jogger
Reina is a martial arts student with a background in dance. She is currently an assistant instructor for a childrens’ martial arts class, where she helps students reach their goals and overcome obstacles. It’s an amazing sight to see their enthusiastic faces learn or try something new and succeed.
When Reina is not busy working, she can be found in some small nook crafting, or traveling and exploring Alberta and beyond. She loves hiking new trails throughout our rocky mountains and in new countries and regions while traveling. New Zealand is her next travel destination! Reina would love to just spend weeks on end running and hiking the entire country!
Reina has fond memories of visiting her grandparents’ farm. She rode horses, played with the barn cats and kittens, and best of all, played with their border collies. Reina and the dogs would run all throughout the pastures and property playing, what in her mind as a child, was a fantastic epic game of chase. Ever since then she has been looking forward to a time when she could surround herself with furry four-legged friends! That’s is why she became a dog jogger and now a foster parent for Barrhead Animal Rescue.
She loves to put on her Lululemon clothing and Adidas running shoes to go for a jog or hike through the river valley with her energetic husky-mix dog!
May– Dog Jogger (Photo coming soon!)
May graduated with an Architectural Technologies Diploma in 2011. She spends her free time relaxing at home, knitting, reading, gaming and spending time with her two dogs Bibi and Thor.
One of her favourite memories of Bibi is when he first came home. May slept in the kitchen in the first few nights to help him feel safe (and stop whining). In the mornings she’d wake up to him jumping on her chest, his little face poking over the blankets.
May considers good shoes the only truly necessary running gear. The Fox and The Hound has always been her favourite animal movie and if she could run anywhere in the world she’d choose somewhere high in the mountains, like Banff where there would be no bees!
Bri- Dog Jogger
Brianne (or Bri as we call her!) was born in Grande Prairie and currently attending The University of Alberta studying Nutrition and Food Science on the road to becoming a Dietician. Staying active is important to her whether it’s happening at the gym or hiking with family in the beautiful BC mountains.
Bri’s dog strongly dislikes water. He had been going to the beach since he was a puppy but the first time he finally jumped in the water and swam – at four years old – was a proud moment for her. Even if it did take him four years!
Bri is able to keep motivated by holding herself accountable. Also, she has a great watch, it tracks everything she needs to know while on a dog jog. Her must-have running gear includes her watch and comfy running shoes.
101 Dalmatians is her favourite animal movie and if she could run anywhere in the world she’d chose Venice, California to have a constant view of the beach of course.
Heidi – Dog Jogger
Heidi is a nurse at The Lois Hole Hospital for Women. She is a mother of four not including her very loyal dog. He’s a rescue Border Collie mixed breed and is an important member of the family, loved by all.
Heidi loves keeping fit by running and hiking and getting outside into nature as much as possible. She won’t head out for a run without her windbreaker, runners or fanny pack. When she’s not outside Heidi can be found writing in her journal, listening to a podcast/music or planning her next holiday.
A Dog’s Journey is her favourite animal movie and she’d choose to run in Vancouver if she could run anywhere.
Connor- Dog Jogger
Connor is a Realtor living in Sherwood Park with his wife, Rebecca, and their dog, Tucker. He will never forget going to pick up Tucker for the first time to bring him home. He was the cutest! He’s grown up with dogs his entire life and simply couldn’t picture his life without them! Growing up he liked to watch the movies Homeward Bound and Far From Home with his sister.
Connor is a self-proclaimed “sports nut”. His hobbies include snowboarding, hockey, football, running and pretty much all sports. He spends his time staying active, camping and hanging out with friends and family.
Connor is a big believer that there is always room to grow. He is constantly trying to better himself both personally and professionally.
If he could run in any city in the world you would find him in Bali, Indonesia.
Lavina – Dog Jogger
Lavina is currently attending Grant MacEwan University studying Bachelors of Science. Her hobbies include cooking and all outdoor activities, not limited to: fishing, quadding, and playing with her dogs.
She grew up on a family-run cattle farm in Fork Lake, Alberta participating in the 4-H Beef Club Program cultivating her passion for helping and taking care of animals. In her final year of 4-H, she raised and trained a steer named Harvey, the most loving, playful and gentle giant (at 1500 lbs). Lavina was amazed at the trust she was able to build with him, playing chase in his pen and letting her lay on top of him like he was a giant bed. They became best buddies!
Lavina stays motivated by setting goals. Setting daily goals, no matter how big or small is how she is able to accomplish tasks. Her running gear of choice is her Under Armour runners and she loves to watch Animal Planet. If she could run anywhere in the world she’d choose Queenstown, New Zealand or Whistler, British Columbia.
Ashley – Dog Jogger
Ashley has a degree in English from the University of Alberta and is currently working on getting her Residential Interiors Diploma to pursue a career in Design. Most of her career thus far has been in Retail Management. Her interests vary from visiting coffee shops, hiking, swimming and watching cheesy horror movies.
She resides with her partner and two rescue dogs. When they adopted their first dog, Winston, the plan was not to take him home that very first day, but the moment she picked him up into her arms….it was game over. Ashley has a strong work ethic, from her Management background. She doesn’t like to let people down and tries to lead by example.
When it comes to running gear, she’s not too particular, Her Nike shoes and an arm pocket for her phone, and she’s good to go! Her favourite animal movies are the original Lion King and Homeward Bound. If she could run anywhere in the world she’d choose anywhere near a beach or mountains.
Michelle – Dog Jogger
Michelle is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, a wife and a mom to three boys, three dogs, and one hairless kitten. Her kids race in downhill skiing so they get to spend lots of time in the Rocky Mountains. Michelle also loves to ski (both downhill and on water) and enjoys staying active by running and practicing yoga. Her favourite activities with her dogs are hiking, mountain biking and running.
She’s had several dogs over the years, participating in some agility training, and even flyball with her furry friends. She was fortunate to have a dog while she was still in University. Any free time she had was with her dog. The dog was athletic with incredible agility skills and naturally, was always allowed to sit shotgun in her vehicle.
Michelle believes in pushing herself out of her comfort zone and the power of positive self-talk. She gets very excited about a new pair of running shoes, much more than a pair of dress shoes. A Dogs’ Purpose and Old Yeller are her favourite animal movies. She loves to run in Edmonton’s beautiful ravine, but if she could choose anywhere you might find her in Hawaii, Santa Barbara, or even jogging around Europe enjoying the views!
Cass- Dog Jogger
Cass is originally from Canmore and loves being surrounded by nature. She has certificates in Vet Tech, Dog Grooming, and PACE Dog Training. Cass rescued her own dog, Jake many years ago, and cherishes the experience of rehabilitating him and watching him grow into the amazing dog he is today. She enjoys traveling, hiking with Jake and spending time with friends and family. She’s even volunteered with rescue elephants in South Africa!
Cass believes in surrounding herself with positive people to help keep her motivated. She also goes to the gym regularly and spends as much time outdoors as possible. It’s tough for her to choose a favourite animal movie…she loves them all (and they always get to her), but she picks The Lion King, and Marley and Me. Her favourite running gear is Tesla leggings and Asic shoes. If she could run anywhere, you’d find her in a city like Seattle on a lightly raining, but warm day.
Sarah- Dog Jogger
Sarah is an animal lover who grew up with several dogs; at present, she has two dogs and a kitten. She calls herself a family person and counts her pets as family members. Weekends for Sarah are for visiting with grandparents and walking her senior dog, Emily. Sarah is “tiny and tough with hobbies ranging from karate to rock climbing to Dungeons and Dragons. She attends the University of Alberta studying Radiation Therapy and is also a Home Care Volunteer with AHS, spending time volunteering with seniors in her community.
According to Sarah, the day she brought home Emily from the SPCA was one of the most important moments of her life. They became best friends and Emily has helped Sarah through many tough times.
Sarah stays motivated with the help of coffee and heavy metal music. She doesn’t need any special running gear, a silly cartoon t-shirt that makes her smile and she’s good to go.
Her favourite animal movie is A Dog’s Purpose and if she could run anywhere in the world she’d choose Amsterdam.