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Tips for Choosing a Doggy Daycare or Overnight Camp

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We like to travel. Big trips, long weekends, overnights. Most of these trips aren’t conducive to taking the pup along. (Actually, the one time we did, we took her to the beach in Maine where she tried to eat the ocean…and then proceeded to poop it out in a very liquid fashion.)

At first, my parents would take Tulla, but that really made life very uncomfortable for their two cats. Then, I found a doggy overnight camp that turned out to be not great at all. Not having much experience, I didn’t realize that it was not great. She came back safe and sound, but it wasn’t paradise. They wound up closing one Thanksgiving with no notice to those who were counting on them. So much for the better.

That’s when we found Camp Bow Wow. It’s a terrible name, I know. It’s actually a national chain that’s franchised, so they are held much more accountable than an independent outfit. Because they are owner-operated, you still get the individual touch — it’s not plastic. They do test interviews of a full day of your dog at day camp. This is great because they get to see how your pup does and you get to test them. It’s big and bright and clean. They also have webcams so you can spend lots of time watching your doggie. (Or if you’re me, make fun of your dog for being the slow kid in the group…).

Bow Wow is pretty great because they cater to Tulla’s eccentricities. She won’t eat out of a bowl there, so for months they hand fed her. Then they realized that she would eat right off of her bed. That makes it sort of disgusting, so they’ll even wash her blanket before sending it home. It’s awesome.

While you may not have a Bow Wow by you, be sure to check out your day or night camp. Here are a few things to look for:

  • A tour should be part of the deal, but if it’s not, ask for one. If they hesitate, it’s a red flag. Our first camp made it seem like a huge favor, but they did give me one.
  • Make sure it’s clean and regular cleaning every day. Lots of dogs drooling and wrestling can spread a lot of junk.
  • Spend time talking to some of the staff and observe how they interact with your dog.
  • Ask about feeding schedules. Also ask about how often someone is there on the weekends. Often, there is less running around time on the weekends because there may not be day camp.
  • If you don’t have friends who recommended the place, ask for references.

Happy camping for your pup and happy travels to you!


About tdumpling

I'm an ABC--American Born Chinese. I work in development and fundraising by profession and cause trouble with my inability to filter or shut up by nature.

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