Business owner Michelle Tabensky (left) and Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton were happy to attend an open house for That Dog Place last Friday.

PORT HAWKESBURY: It’s a pooch’s paradise.

A new business catering to Strait area canines officially opened at 98 Reeves Street on October 5 with a ribbon cutting ceremony, and according to the dog-loving owner, opening That Dog Place Inc. has been a dream come true.

Last November Michele Tabensky was announced as the winner of the Dragon’s Den-style Start-Up Port Hawkesbury competition, which was organized by the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN), in partnership with the Town of Port Hawkesbury, to foster entrepreneurship in the community.

Tabensky said Port Hawkesbury acts as a hub community serving all of the region, and with hundreds of dogs in the surrounding areas and no services readily available to them, a doggy daycare was in serious need.

People need someone to feed, to give exercise and companionship, and of course provide belly rubs to their dogs, and Tabensky said that’s were That Dog Place will step in.

“Dog owners need someone that they can trust to care for their best friend when they are at work during the day or on vacation,” she said. “The closest facilities were in Antigonish. They’re often at full capacity and with a 40-minute drive each way; it [wasn’t] always convenient.”

Photos by Grant McDaniel
Groomer Jillian Sampson stands beside her certification to groom dogs and cats. With the certification is a framed poem she wrote capturing her love of animals.

The facility, which sits on a hill overlooking the Strait of Canso, can accommodate 30 dogs and offers an indoor space with kennels, along with a fenced-in outdoor half-acre open concept play area with a range of services in caring for dogs, whether it’s for a couple of hours, the whole day or overnight.

That Dog Place will offer a home-like setting where dogs will interact and play, as opposed to being placed in individual kennels.”

Tabensky, who worked as a residential care worker and a crisis counselor at Leeside Transition House, said this had been something she’s wanted to do for a while and with Start-Up Port Hawkesbury, it gave her the extra kick-start she needed.

For winning Start-Up Port Hawkesbury, Tabensky received up to $20,000 in financing from InRich BDC, pro bono legal services from EMM Law, marketing services from Sara Rankin Design, Strait Area Chamber of Commerce membership for one year including business management training and networking opportunities, and ongoing business support from the ESREN and partner organizations.

For more information on That Dog Place, call 902-625-WOOF (9663) or visit

Madison Day is seen here with some of the areas for pets at That Dog Place.