Charlotte Observer – “Charlotte Leashes onto Doggie Daycare”

Going away? Keep an eye on Fido

At this doggie day care, you can watch your pet playing via webcams

CORNELIUS – Steve Baughan and family of Huntersville had their dog Cookie with them on a recent week’s vacation to Fripp Island, S.C.

Yet Cookie wasn’t physically with them.

The family, especially their four children, watched the 8-year-old Boston terrier via webcams set up at Camp Wagging Tails, a new pet day care and boarding facility at 10835 Bailey Road.

“They looked at her about 10 times a day,” Baughan said. “It was comforting watching her sleep.”

The camp’s 16 webcams are its most popular feature with clients, owners Jim and Celia Bensman said. People watch their pets from work — day care is $20 a day — and one couple even watched during their honeymoon, Celia Bensman said.

Jim Bensman, a Cornelius town commissioner and retired executive, said the couple wasn’t impressed with kennel options for their dogs Molly and George, and decided to open their own.

Other doggie and cat day cares have been springing up in local communities, including The Meadows Bed and Biscuit at Lake Norman.

Bensman said he visited at least 50 boarding facilities around the country for their best ideas and features. Among other amenities at the 7,100-square-foot, 3 1/2-acre Camp Wagging Tails:

  • Large indoor playrooms with a separate play room for smaller dogs and puppies. Dogs get four or five hours of playtime each day, inside and outside, Bensman said.
  • Separate large outdoor play areas covered with artificial turf.
  • Bone-shaped swimming pool.
  • Fifty-six “deluxe” and “luxury” cabins or “suites” with various features, such as TVs tuned to Animal Planet, and webcams.

Camp Wagging Tails also offers baths ($20) and training classes.

Panels in each Camp Wagging Tails cabin prevent dogs from seeing each other. They relax and get more sleep that way, Bensman said. Chain-link kennels are difficult to keep clean and allow confrontations between pets in adjoining and facing kennels.

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