Josh Kruse was living in Iowa when his college friend Nick Netley asked him to move to Minnesota and open up a dog daycare and boarding facility with him. Netley had been taking his own dog to Camp Bow Wow in Burnsville, and although the friendly staff and great service kept him and his pup happy, the long drive was beginning to wear on them both.
Realizing that no such facility existed in Plymouth, Netley decided to start one himself and wanted Kruse to join him. That was back in 2007, and the two friends’ endeavor has continually grown through the years. Camp Bow Wow recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in Plymouth, and the staff looks to the future with anticipation and back at their past with gratitude for their clients—people and pups alike.
From day care to overnight boarding to grooming, the facility offers a wide range of services that ensure dogs are in good hands when their owners can’t be there for them. They even offer live web cams to allow pet owners to periodically check in on their pups via a computer or smart phone.
Kruse says the first time they were operating at full capacity is still a special memory for him. “I remember that pretty vividly—it was the July 4th weekend of 2008, and every single kennel was in use,” he says. “That was something we hadn’t experienced before, so it was a great milestone to get to.”
He also has fond memories of holidays spent with his Camp Bow Wow team. “That’s when we’re the busiest, so we can’t really get away, so the people that I work with have kind of become a family. I’ve spent a lot of great Christmases with Nick and his dad, just hanging out with the dogs, because I usually can’t get back home to Iowa for Christmas.”
Working with dogs is definitely fun, but it’s not always easy. “There are always different challenges. One thing is the noise, because it can get really loud with all the barking, and it’s hard to concentrate when you’re trying to do something at the computer,” he says. “I always tell people to imagine sitting at their desk trying to do their job, and there are people screaming in their ear—that’s kind of what it’s like.”
But the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Kruse says that the best part of his job is the opportunity to connect with clients. “`A lot of people we’ll see two or three times a week for years, so we really get to know them,” he says. He especially loves being present for the changes in people’s lives. “When clients start off with us, it’s usually just one person—they’re in their mid 20s, and they’ve got a little puppy. Over the next three or four years, suddenly it’s two people and they get married and get another dog, so they’re bringing two dogs in, and then all of the sudden their kids are coming in. It’s really cool to see their lives change and their families grow.”
Netley feels the same way. “You get to know everybody pretty well. We have a lot of repeat customers, so it’s like a little family here. You get to know everybody on a first name basis, and it’s just a fun job to be at,” he says.
With a great 10 years under their belt, the staff at Camp Bow Wow look forward to all that is to come in the next decade. A recently completed renovation means that the facility is even better equipped to serve the pups of Plymouth. “We’re kind of hitting the reset button and pretty much covering every surface of our facility,” Kruse says. “We’ve got all new floors, all new fencing, all new outside areas, new kennels, new everything. Everything is bigger and better.”
So, if you’re looking for a special place to take your canine companion, schedule an interview with Camp Bow Wow. Both you and your pup will be happy you did.
Celebrate Your Pet This Holiday!
Don’t forget about your furry friends as you do your holiday shopping. Whether it’s a new toy, a trip to the groomers or a donation to an animal-loving organization in their name, a special something will show your beloved pets how much they mean, even once the holiday season is over.
Gifts for Dogs
Heidi FitzGerald runs Let Rover Stay Over, a dog walk and cat care service. She says that the best gift you can give your dog is positive reinforcement training. It’s a gift that will keep on giving. “By investing in training with your dog, you are laying down a foundation that will make your time with your furry friend so much more enjoyable and positive for both people and canine,” she says.
When it comes to toys, FitzGerald says anything by Kong makes for a great gift. “I am a big fan of Kong’s, especially if you have to be away from your dog during the day for work. You can stuff them easily with peanut butter or low-fat cottage cheese, freeze them, and then give them to your dog before you leave in the morning for a good ‘project’ for them during the day,” she says. “And most dogs can’t destroy those things, so you don’t have to worry about pieces or parts getting swallowed inadvertently.”
Treat Your Cats
Consider treating your cat to some much-needed TLC. Cats Preferred, a cat-only vet clinic, offers services ranging from medical to grooming. While your cat may not think it’s a gift, Dr. Anne Sassen at Cats Preferred recommends the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder for pet owners. “It’s a food bowl that works with microchips, so it only opens for one particular cat. It’s great if you have multiple cats, and one is overweight and has special food, or if you have dogs and cats, they can’t get into each other’s food,” she says.
If your dog or cat has it all, consider donating to an organization that helps animals. Plymouth resident Jill Goldstein runs Pause 4 Paws, which raises funds to support animal rescue organizations across the state. “We are volunteer run, and all the money we raise goes to help the animals directly,” she says. “Since 2011, the groups that we’ve supported have rescued over 31,000 dogs and cats, and they’ve spayed close to 21,000.” After the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma earlier this year, there are plenty of cats and dogs looking for homes. Your donation helps Pause4Paws. Donate online at pause4pawsmn.org or mail a check to PO Box 41028, Plymouth, MN 55441.
Sisters Stephanie and Shari Timberlake founded and run the Adopt-a-Pet-Shop, a non-profit in Plymouth that envisions a world in which there are “no more homeless pets.” They work to pair rescue animals, both dogs and cats, with loving families. “A lot of people think that rescue animals are somehow subpar or that there’s something wrong with them. Nothing could be further from the truth,” she says. The only thing “wrong” with a rescue animal is that it’s homeless, and donations to Adopt-a-Pet-Shop will help find such animals a home.
Timberlake says they accept items such as canned food and toys, though their greatest need is funding. Because it is a mostly volunteer organization, overhead costs are low, meaning the vast majority of money raised goes directly to help the animals, she says. Check out the organization’s Amazon wishlist or make a donation online at the website here.