Happiness Unleashed

Dogs Can Be Dogs at Camp Bow Wow

Writer / Brenda Geren
Photographer / Walker Photography

Dr. Angie Hutter enjoyed her 32-year career as a dentist, and when she decided to retire, she was excited to “em-bark” on a new career. Driven by a desire to continue to serve the community of Noblesville, she decided to open a day camp for dogs. She opened the doors to Camp Bow Wow of Noblesville in June of 2023.

“Being a dog-loving family, the idea of a doggie day care really appealed to me,” Hutter says. “My son, Tristan DeHaven, is a former K9 police officer. He loves dogs as well and he agreed to manage Camp Bow Wow. We are both doing something we love and we get to work together.”  

The purpose of Camp Bow Wow is to offer a safe and healthy place for dogs to spend the day doing fun dog things while their pet parents are at work. The dogs are referred to as campers and their human caregivers at the camp are called counselors.

The staff is crucial to the success of Camp Bow Wow. “We teach our counselors about dog body language and behavior,” Hutter says. “Counselors constantly scan the dogs in the open play area. They have all had training in animal first aid and dog CPR. It can be a stressful job at times, watching that many campers. That is why we keep our ratios at one counselor to 15 to 20 campers.”

A day at Camp Bow Wow includes free play with other campers, and access to outside or inside play. This summer campers enjoyed small pools, splash pads and sprinklers, and themed play will change seasonally. “Roughly every hour we conduct what we call Operation Happy Dog,” Hutter says. “The counselors spend time touching each dog and giving hugs, just to make sure no one has played too hard in the yard and there are no small injuries from overexcited playtime.”

The Camp Bow Wow staff is dedicated to keeping the facilities clean and safe. Everything is disinfected daily with a peroxide-based cleaner so there is no chance of toxicity to the campers. Dog bowls are washed in commercial-grade dishwashers.

“We interview any camper interested in attending Camp Bow Wow,” Hutter says. “It is an extra step for the pet parents but it’s a free day of day care for them. This is to ensure their dog will be comfortable with our current campers. Safety is always our most important goal. Sometimes we have to turn down an applicant. That is always very hard for us to do, but it is in the best interest of all.”

“My ultimate goal is to know almost all the dogs of Noblesville,” she adds. “I love this town. I want the community to know us as that really awesome place where everybody knows their names.”

Camp Bow Wow also offers enrichment programs, grooming and overnight boarding. It is open 365 days per year.

Camp Bow Wow is located at 17661 Cumberland Road in Noblesville. For more information, call 317-721-9298 or visit campbowwow.com/noblesville.

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