Tulip, a beautiful 13 1/2 year-old Corgi/Husky mix rescue dog, is the face of Camp Yellow Dog.
The fully-fenced two-acre site on Mount Sicker Road provides boutique boarding and a pampering for pooches because camps aren’t just for people anymore.
Camp Yellow Dog pledges to give dogs a positive, low stress experience and no more than 10 campers are cared for at a time.
“We like to keep it small so it’s no stress for anybody,” noted owner Julie Davidson.
Times have certainly changed since people who needed to get away and couldn’t take their pets had to send them to the dreaded kennel where most dogs hated to be locked up. Camp Yellow Dog offers free range fun for well-socialized dogs.
“I went to camp for years as a kid so camp has really great memories for me,” said Davidson.
Those experiences have been translated to pets, who can now enjoy great memories of camp, too.
Davidson and husband Colin Page moved here in April of 2018 and opened up the suites of Camp Yellow Dog in January of 2019.
“In that time we had dogs staying in our home,” she said.
They have two dogs — Tulip and Cricket, a Staffie/Corgi mix — and two cats, Garver and Gertie.
Born in Toronto, Davidson lived north of there in Unionville, Ont. and attended Western University in London, Ont. before moving to Calgary and then to Victoria for two years. She moved to the North Shore in 1991 and that’s where she met Page in 1996.
Unlike Davidson’s frequent relocations, “he was born and raised in Lynn Valley and never moved anywhere else,” she chuckled.
The couple got married in Las Vegas 19 years ago this November.
“We had an amazing little wedding chapel,” said Davidson. “It was something to behold.”
She turned dog walking into a business in 2000, owning and operating A Walk In The Park on the North Shore until 2018.
“It’s really a mobile business,” Davidson said. “I’d drive around, pick up dogs, hike them.”
She was initially also working at a restaurant in Stanley Park in the evening and walking dogs during the day.
“We were so busy after a year, I dropped the waitressing and went full-time into the walking,” Davidson said.
Traffic on the North Shore started to become an issue in 2010. She was doing 1 1/2 hour hikes a day, but spending more than four hours driving around, picking up and dropping off dogs at clients’ homes that eventually prompted a move.
Connections to the Island through her sister Heatherann Macintosh, who lives in Cowichan Station, led Davidson and Page to relocate in 2018. They had been looking for a place between Cobble Hill and Ladysmith.
“As it turned out, Chemainus was the perfect place,” Davidson said.
Thus, Camp Yellow Dog was born and Page still does his job from home. He goes over to the Sytek Enterprises offices in North Vancouver every two or three weeks as required, but not now during COVID-19, although that could soon change again.
Davidson and Page’s lives in the country haven’t actually changed much since the pandemic arose.
Davidson continues to do her thing with what amounts to a full-time exercise program for herself and the boarding dogs.
“I hike them daily,” she explained. “I like to get out there. It’s like kids at pre-school. Here, I go for hours and I never see a soul. I go everywhere.”
Hikes cover ground all around the Cowichan Valley and Davidson does at least 10 kilometres a day with the dogs.
A former barn was converted into the suites for the dogs where they’re catered to and pampered, have their meals and rest periods and are housed overnight.
“We have dogs that stay in the house, too,” said Davidson.
“We don’t have kids. Our dogs are our family, too, and they’re such an important part of the family.”
The establishment is doing well, as more people from around the entire region find out about it and the service offered. The rest of the summer is going to be busy.
“Now people can move around the province, we’re getting filled up again,” said Davidson.
You can find out about the Camp Yellow Dog policies and a whole lot more at www.campyellowdog.ca.