Mary Puppins



The Story of Mary Puppins

Once upon a time, in 2014, a lost little soul named Ivana made her way to Cape Town. She left behind dry textbooks and a swanky engineering degree in pursuit of a life beyond hardhats, safety goggles, and a temperature controlled office. Rudderless and dispassionate, Ivana went on until one fateful day a friend asked her to mind her two dear pugs whilst she was at work.

The lightbulb switched on.

“This…this I can do!” she thought after walking the dogs along table mountain. A lifelong ‘dog-person’, Ivana realised that she could integrate her love of the outdoors with her love of doggos, and, at the same time, provide a service to many overextended pawrents in the community. And so the pack grew and grew until even Ivana could no longer manage the wagging tails by herself. Thus, Mary Puppins was born, founded by a core of hardworking women! That’s right, she hired no stinky boys, preferring instead to employ young women while simultaneously providing them with the company and safety to explore the boundless natural beauty of this city. The idea became a dream, and that dream flourished and soon Mary Puppins had sitters and walkers sprouting all over Cape Town.


It was only a natural decision then to establish a daycare facility, to spend even more time with all the precious puppers! And so she did – from her home in Vredehoek, the Mary Puppins Palace opened its doors for long-stay clients. But that doesn’t mean she reneged on her principles. Ivana and her team still walk the dogs, rain or shine, all along our magnificent mountains, rippling rivers, and beautiful beaches. It just means that when the puppers are pooped, they have a comfortable bed to crash on – sometimes, it’s even her bed!

Today, the daycare facility has shifted into a larger home, in Vredehoek, with ample space and light, and it is ideally located for their exciting daily excursions. Holly joined as daycare manager in 2020, and the delightful shenanigans and adventures have never been better. Ivana’s home and heart have never been fuller.

Mary Puppins

Our Philosophy

The standard of care that we demand for our own furbabies is the standard we pledge to uphold with yours. Mary Puppins is not a kenneling facility, this is a home away from home for your pets, complete with a loving family to attend their every need.

As such we do not believe in pens, cages, or other confining spaces. Your dogs will be free to roam our ample gardens, under supervision of course; to dig and play and thrive during their stay at the daycare. However, gone are the days where dogs were thought of as exclusively outdoor creatures. We let sleeping dogs lie where they will, our accommodations are theirs too. Overnight furbabies can join us for movies in the lounge and sleep in comfy beds. More often than we’d care to admit, they sleep in ours!

This truly is a loving environment where we give your dog the care and attention it requires to be the happiest version of itself. All pets are carefully and gently integrated with another to ensure that they develop broad social skills with dogs of any size and personality. We provide a safe space to ease the more anxious pups into the pack and foster positive relationships with other dogs. Their happiness is our number one priority.


As robust as our palace grounds are, we still adhere to the principle that your dogs need to experience the great outdoors daily. Taking them around the block would hardly be an adventure befitting the promise of Mary Puppins. They will walk the mountains, frolick in streams, and dip into the ocean when they’re with us. This provides the necessary physical and mental stimulation your pets crave. Moreover, it’s good for them to experience new environments so that you, as a parent, need never fear exposing them to a myriad of spaces. Besides, it would be a shame to keep your pups behind the walls all day when we live somewhere as special as Cape Town.

Finally, this is an all-female run business and this is a particular point of pride for us here. The ethos of this model is to provide gainful employment to young women and empower them in the city. You will find only the most capable and kind dog mamas here at Mary Puppins.

Who we are


The Founder. The Headmistress. The Alpha.

Mary Puppins is my pride. My joy is Swirley, my own furbaby and the head girl here at the palace. Is that nepotism? Probably, but she’s very cute and great at her job. While I may be a qualified industrial engineer, my passion is the outdoors and all the furry creatures who share my love for it. When I’m not walking the mountains with your dogs, I’m on the couch cuddling them. I admit it, I love pooches more than people! We have such a colourful array of four legged characters here and I love getting to know them. I like to think of myself as their fairy dogmother, but maybe I’m just the Queen Bitch.


Daycare Manager

I am the daycare manager here at Mary Puppins but I’m also the life of the party, if I do say so myself. A game ranger for 8 years, I have always been passionate about animals. Granted, I never imagined I’d wind up with such small cuddly beasts in my charge but here we are and I am loving every second of it. I arrived at the daycare during the lockdown and have had the best time caring for and conversing with all the beloved furbabies (we all know you talk to them too, you can admit it, this is a safe space). It is my duty to ensure that each and every one of your darling doggos gets all the love and kisses and devotion they so richly deserve. And to make them feel heard, even if all I hear is BARK BARK BARK!


Social Media Manager/ Daycare Assistant

What does it take to be a teacher at Mary Puppins? Patience, composure, and passion! And maybe a stash of treats in your pocket at all times. I used to be the manager of a pet adoption NGO so to say dogs are my world is an understatement. As lucky as we are to have such adorable pupils, it would be a crime to keep their talents a secret. Which is why I love to create all the wholesome content you see on our social media channels. I love sharing their wacky shenanigans with all of you. Just don’t let my two furbabies back home see my camera roll!


Daycare Assistant/Nightwatch

Hey pawrents, let me tell you why your pooches are right where they belong! Curious by nature and curious about nature, I studied biological sciences and marine biology. Although I have my very own feline family back home in Durban, I’m not just some crazy cat lady. Doesn’t matter if it’s got fur, feathers, foliage, or fangs; being surrounded by life and nature is what makes me happy. Everyday, and night, with your doggos is a magical adventure. So you see this isn’t just where your puppers belong, it’s where I belong!



Ya know the stereotypical crazy cat lady? No, I’m not talking about Kiara. I mean the obsessed woman who hordes a dozen kitties in her room. Well that’s me, except with your fur babies! Initially, I was just Ivana’s roommate at the Puppins palace. What sort of person moves into a daycare, you ask? One whose love language is wet noses, sloppy kisses, and wagging tails. Even when I’m off duty, you can find me sneaking a pup (or five) off to bed. Am I totally bonkers? Probably, but I love your dogs and they love me and I promise you can have them back after a few more snuggles!!!



I moved to South Africa in 2007 and never dreamed I could find a job where I get to work with dogs all day. Some might consider it challenging to be the only man on the staff. But I consider it a privilege to work alongside these wonderful women and your enchanting pups! Some dogs are more like Hermione, and others are more like the Weasley twins. And someone has to manage the mischief! But these colourful characters form part of the culture here at Mary Puppins, and I take pride in walking the more boisterous doggos to the local park. It is also my duty to keep the grounds pristine, because your poochies deserve only the best!

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