WESTFIELD – As local families prepare for summer vacations, Westfield has a new destination for their pups, as well.
Camp K-9 opened its doors on June 6, offering dog day camp, overnight boarding, an indoor dog park and brushing and bathing.
The idea of Camp K-9 is to give busy pet owners an option for their dogs, rather than leaving them home while they are at work or on vacation, according owners Ali and Nick Connor.
“A lot of our customers are going to be people that work long days and they don’t want their dog being at home. Dogs are treated like kids now,” Ali said. “They’re part of the family, so it’s really important that they have a place for the dog to go that’s safe and controlled, where they can’t really get into mischief or trouble, and that’s really what the day camp part of this offers.”
The idea for Camp K-9 came from their own experience. Both worked long days and felt guilty about leaving their dog Riley alone or with family. With retail and management backgrounds and a passion for dogs, Nick said it was the perfect combination.
“We’re trying to find something that could incorporate loving dogs but at the same time utilizing our management and business skills, so it’s sort of like the best of both worlds,” Nick said. “We love pets and we also have experience running businesses, as well.”
Through certifications and remodeling of the facility, Camp K-9 is ready for their clients, and Ali said she is happy to be getting busy.
Camp K-9 offers boarding for dogs who will be staying for days or weeks while their owners are out of town, with four different cabin sizes available. Ali said as summer goes on, it is important for pet parents to look into options for their dogs. She said Camp K-9 will be taking steps to accommodate local pet owners, even remaining open for July 4.
The day camp is designed for dog owners to drop of their pet for the day. The staff splits the clients up by size and temperament, doing a host of activities ranging from traditional Frisbee to holiday programming. For Fathers’ Day, the dogs of Camp K-9 posed for pictures to send home to their owners.
Ali said the day camp faucet of Camp K-9 is a great opportunity for pet parents.
“It’s good to take initiative, even if it’s just one or two days a week, because the dog gets exercise. We all know that when a dog gets exercise, the healthier it is, the slimmer it becomes. It doesn’t become lethargic or lazy. They get that interaction,” she said. “When they are stimulated in that way, their minds are stimulated, so they’re better trained. They’re better when it comes to household commands and things like that. The more energy that they can blow off when they’re at day camp, the better they’re going to be when they’re’ out with their pet parents.”
The indoor dog park is open to the public with an entrance fee, and Ali said on hot days, it will be good for both dog and owner to run around out of the sun. She also said the dog park is a good chance for those owners who want to learn more about the facility to check it out.
Ali and Nick encourage anyone interested in their business to come and see it for themselves.
“It’s very important for a pet parent to treat their pet in this type of setting, just like they’d treat their child. When you research day cares for children, you go in, you tour the facility, you meet the teachers and you kind of figure out if those programs will work for you kid,” she said. “It’s the same concept here. Take the child out of the equation and put the dog there. You need to be comfortable where you’re leaving your animal. If you’re comfortable, then you’ll be able to use the other facets here.”
Though Riley was “the first client” for Camp K-9, according to Nick, the Connors said they and the staff will treat every dog with the same care.
“With our dog Riley, she truly is our first baby. We treat her that way, and we certainly will treat other dogs that way,” Ali said.
For more information about Camp K-9’s programs, visit http://www.campk-9doggiedaycamp.com/.