25 and Going Strong

Pet Camp turned 25 years old last month! That may not be old compared to many of us, but that’s getting on for a small business. In 1997, when we started Pet Camp, we were at the cutting edge of pet care. While we were offering group play for campers, most overnight care facilities absolutely forbade dogs from interacting if they weren’t from the same household, and doggie daycare was barely an idea. In fact, our ideas about group play and dog socialization were so controversial that our industry group almost didn’t let us join. Since then we’ve made sure that the Main Campground remains at the leading edge of pet care by, among other things, installing our glass retractable roof, being a certified Green Business, and ensuring that no dog plays or sleeps on a concrete floor.

Ten years later, we opened Cat Safari. While many pet care facilities care for cats, the vast majority of pet care facilities are specifically designed for dogs, with cat care being a mere afterthought. When we designed and built Cat Safari, cats were our only thoughts. Fifteen years later, Cat Safari remains unique both in design and approach to cat care, offering a range of activities designed to keep cats engaged and stimulated, not just housed.

In the 25 years since we opened, we’ve endured the ups and downs associated with running a small business in a highly regulated and expensive urban area. In addition to the “normal” foibles of running a business in San Francisco, we went through the dot-com bust, the travel downturn after the tragic events of 9-11, a dog flu outbreak, the Great Recession, and a Global Pandemic. Although I may have almost no hair left and a fully white beard to show for it, the counselors, the campers and the pet parents have been amazing through it all and I am beyond grateful to each and every one of you.

I’m here to let you know that we’re not done yet! We are proud to announce that we are filing permits for a Canine Enrichment Center (K9E Center) to be located a few blocks from the Main Campground that, if all goes moderately well, will open the end of the year.

This new building will be specifically designed for dogs that either don’t excel in traditional group play settings or that need more than what group play alone can provide. With over 12,500 square feet of space, we will be able to design activities such as sensory gardens, urban desensitization, and mazes, as well as provide space for training rooms, puppy rooms and areas dedicated to smaller-curated play groups designed for dogs needing help in reading dog body language. Our new K9E Center will be like nothing else in the Bay Area and as cutting edge as our ideas were about the Main Campground 25 years ago and Cat Safari 15 years ago. Designing our new K9E Center and working with this group of dogs reflects our collective commitment to always do what is best for your pet.

I want to thank you again for supporting Pet Camp and the counselors these past 25 years. It is impossible to predict what the next 25 years will have in store for pet care, but we will always do our best to ensure that we provide you with the best care and the most innovative thoughts.

Stay well and keep your pets safe and well.