Bespoke Pet Care?

Last Sunday, the New York Times Magazine had an article about the “bespoke pet care industry.” For those not super hip, such as myself, bespoke now means exclusive rather than the earlier definition of custom made. I bring your attention to this because Pet Camp has always been custom made when it comes to the care of the campers but has never and never will be “exclusive” because well, because we are a camp! I further draw your attention to this issue because, for reasons still unbeknownst to us, Pet Camp is mentioned in the article.

So, back to the article. The article is about the writer, Sam, and his golden doodle, Steve, who BOTH stayed at two pet care facilities on the East Coast: Dogwood Acres (we have been friends with Kurt & Audrey who own Dogwood Acres for 20 years or so), and Holiday Barn Pet (the story references Michael Hughes we’ve known for a bit but we’ve known his dad Emerson since we opened in 1997), as well as Olde Towne in Dulles, Virginia.  So anyway, Sam decides that he is going to experience pet care the same way Steve does. First, kudos to these pet care facilities for accommodating Sam (Steve I’m sure was not a problem) – but I have to admit, I’m not sure how I would have responded to the request. I’m also not sure that what Sam did is good for pet care.

Pet care facilities – at least as I think about them – should be designed, built, and operated for pets!  Perhaps that’s not what “bespoke” pet care facilities are like; but that’s what Pet Camp is. Frankly, I don’t care if Sam can use the treat/scent wall at the Ranger Station – I do care if Steve can. I’m not going to keep track of when Sam pees or poops, how much of his food he eats, or if he is drinking – but I sure am going to be able to tell Sam about Steve’s bodily functions, and eating and drinking. Likewise, I don’t think any pet care professional should care if Sam has any friends he plays with (given this article you might question it) – but damn straight I’m going to be able to tell Sam about Steve’s friends. I guess this is why Pet Camp is a camp and not a “bespoke camp.”

However, none of this explains why I’m even writing this blog! The article mentions Pet Camp in passing by referencing a 2015 blog “Doggie Erection Leads to Pet Camp Getting Dicked Over.” I’m not sure why this blog got Sam’s attention (though I suspect his three uses of the word “schmuck” or some derivation of it may give us a clue), but it did.

I get that a lot of this article is actually about the role pets play in our lives, and for Sam the role Steve plays in filling other voids in Sam’s life. I get all of this, I love my dogs too! My dogs are the first thing I see in the morning, they spend the day with me at work, and follow me to bed at night no matter if I’m the first to go to bed (as is often the case in my house), or the last. I often build my weekend schedule around when I want to take the dogs for a long off leash romp at Fort Funston, and almost every day when my mind has hit a wall at work, I take them to be brushed for about 20 minutes each (even if my wife thinks this never happens) to recharge. I get all of this. But Sam, let Steve be Steve, and you be you! Sam, I’m not sure if you visit the West Coast often, but if you do, and you bring Steve, have Steve spend a few days at Pet Camp being a dog and you can spend a few days exploring San Francisco as a human and maybe even stay at one of our amazing bespoke human hotels.

Thanks for reading!