A safe, stress-free place for dogs
Written By: Kaycee Chance
Photos by Linda Earley
From finding the perfect diet and routine to sleep schedules and playdates, many dog owners treat their pups like their children. Now more than ever, dogs truly are a part of the family. For many working pet parents, this role includes finding the perfect doggy daycare to attend when mom and dad are at work.
With so many doggy daycares to choose from, it’s important to assess your own needs, as well as your dog’s, whether you will be away at work, school or on vacation. For some, the most important aspect will be location or flexible hours; others may be more interested in additional training packages or play groups.
Camp Bow Wow, located in Edmond, has been offering peace of mind to pup parents since 2006 when owners Kevin and Laurie Houghlan traded in over 20 years in the corporate world in Dallas to move to Oklahoma and follow their dreams.
When they began researching doggy daycares in 2005, the couple was impressed with all that the Camp Bow Wow franchise had to offer for both owners and pet parents. A corporate overview of Camp Bow Wow details how the business came to be, when founder and avid dog lover Heidi Ganahl opened the doors of the first location in Colorado in December of 2000. Being one of the only doggy daycares in the area, she quickly realized the need for more locations. Today, Camp Bow Wow hosts pups at over 160 locations (or “camps” as they refer to them) across the country.
Every location offers boarding and daycare services, and many locations also offer additional grooming or training services. When the Houghlan family packed up their life in Dallas to move to Edmond, their goals were clear: follow their dreams of owning their own business working with dogs and find a way to make that business enhance the lives of the dogs they work with and their families, too. Their focus has always been on enhancing dogs’ quality of life, and today, that same goal remains the driving force behind the day-to-day operations at Camp Bow Wow in Edmond.
Because dogs are such a source of stress relief to the humans in their lives, the staff at Camp Bow Wow focuses on returning that favor to the dogs in their care by ensuring their stay at camp, no matter how long or short, is full of stress-free fun. One way the Houghlans ensure the dogs in their care have a good experience is by providing the staff with the appropriate training and skills to handle many different situations. All staff members at Camp Bow Wow are trained in dog behavior as well as certified in pet first aid and CPR.
There are no specific breed restrictions at the camp. As long as the dogs are at least 11 pounds and up to date on all vaccines (rabies, distemper, Bordetella), they are welcome to attend a free socialization interview, which ensures that all dogs at Camp Bow Wow remain safe and happy. In addition to making sure each dog is a good fit for the pack, just as much work and preparation goes into the day-to-day routine at camp, with attention to detail showing in each step.
A typical day for an overnight camper at Camp Bow Wow begins around 6:30 a.m., when staff members arrive and begin taking the dogs outside to potty and play while breakfast is being prepared. After breakfast, the overnight campers then go back to their individual cabins.
“We require that the dogs rest for an hour in their cabins after breakfast,” Kevin explains. “Doing so reduces the chances of the dogs playing too soon and experiencing bloat.”
While the overnight campers nap, the counselors begin checking in the day campers arriving around this time for doggy daycare. Around 9 a.m., the overnight campers and the day campers get to romp together in the climate-controlled play yard for the rest of the morning until a similar break at around 11:30 a.m. for lunch, enrichment or a nap, depending on the needs of each camper. During this time, the play areas are sanitized while they are not in use. Houghlan says it is usually about 1 p.m. at this point, and from here, the dogs are reunited in the play yard for more romping and running around.
One important distinction between the day campers and the overnight campers is the amount of playtime they get. “It is important to give the boarding dogs breaks, especially if they will be with us for a longer period of time. Most dogs don’t get that much exercise and stimulation on a daily basis, and they can get fatigued from all of the playtime,” Kevin says.
Around 4 p.m., the dogs go back to their cabins for an evening rest before dinner and their evening exercise. Those who are attending for day camp are picked up before closing at 7 p.m.
Kevin explains that one of the most gratifying parts of the Camp Bow Wow experience is seeing the excitement of the dogs when they arrive at camp to see their friends and the gratitude of the pet parents at the end of the stay, no matter how long or short.
For pet parents who want to ensure their dog is having a good time, the facility is monitored 24 hours a day, and the live camera feature allows check-ins at any time. The Houghlans explain that this feature has been a favorite of their clients since they started using it.
“Hearing our customers’ appreciation, knowing they can check in on their fur babies anytime through our live state of the art ‘Camper Camera’ system and seeing them running and playing with their four- legged friends is the ultimate compliment,” they say.
In addition to fostering client relationships, some for over 10 years, the Houghlan family also loves how owning Camp Bow Wow has allowed them to make a true impact in their community. From offering free boarding services after tornadoes to the annual donation drive each Christmas for local rescue groups, the staff truly strives to foster a sense of community.
The owners and staff at the local Camp Bow Wow in Edmond all have the same goal in mind: to provide peace of mind for pet parents and a fun, safe experience for the dogs in their care. The Houghlans explain that, above all else, the relationships they’ve built with the dogs and their families brings them the greatest joy.
To keep up with all of the happenings at Camp Bow Wow or to learn more about their advanced cleaning protocol during Covid-19, please visit www.campbowwow.com/edmond or follow on Facebook @Camp BowWow Edmond.