by Audra H. Anders and Peggy Smith for The Aha! Connection
As you know, Peggy and I have been out and about visiting local businesses. Well, this one particular visit was our favorite so far. We didn’t want to leave. Both of us kept staring out the window at the dogs having a blast and petting the ones who were inside taking it easy. So many varieties and sizes and ages and all ADORABLE. Peggy has three dogs and still wanted to take home every dog she met!
Congratulations to Camp Run-a-Mutt on their 5-year anniversary! They are conveniently located in the back corner of The Shops of Dunwoody, behind Riley Salon/Breadwinner and next to Porter Brew and Que. I was thrilled to walk in and discover that a young friend of mine, Ally Gaultney (DHS 2016 Graduate), is the Manager. What a perfect fit she is for this role! Since she was around 9 years old, I’ve been sitting with her at baseball games watching my youngest son and her brother play ball. I can attest she has ALWAYS loved dogs…and we share a special love for labradoodles!
Camp Run-a-Mutt offers dog daycare, overnight boarding, grooming and some retail doggie items like leashes, beds, snacks, etc. The facility is cage free. Yes, cage free. You’d have to see it to believe it and the environment is amazing! Large and small dogs are separated and play in fenced off separate outdoor areas. Both areas have plenty of shade, lots of dog-friendly equipment to play or relax on, and a SPLASH pad!
Dog and employee safety is MOST important at all times. All dogs must go through a temperament test before being allowed to stay (details on website). The professional dog handlers look for signs of aggression when evaluating temperament. They have different custom flooring in each of the dog areas to help protect the dogs paws. There’s a special surface in the greeting/retail area so dogs can’t get traction giving the owner full power with the leash. The indoor resting area is made of rubberized flooring which is easy to clean, comfortable for the dogs, and protective of their paws. The outdoor artificial turf is specially designed for comfort, cleanliness, and odor prevention! Cleanliness is extremely important. Believe it or not, it doesn’t smell like dogs when you walk around the facility although they typically host around 80 dogs on any given day.
Sound proofing is another priority. They are constantly upgrading the facility with sound buffers for the walls, they have a “3 bark rule” whereby a dog gets moved inside temporarily for excessive barking. They have significantly cut back on outdoor play hours during the evenings and early mornings to provide more quiet time for their residential neighbors. Plus, they’ve installed a unique outdoor speaker system streaming special calming music for the dogs while they are playing outdoors. They’ve also installed additional camera monitoring systems. Click here and you can watch the pups yourself!
During the pandemic Camp Run-a-Mutt was considered an essential business so they were able to stay open. They were proud to serve doctors, nurses, and first responders during Covid while they used facilities for their pets during the time they had to go into work for extra long hours. Business has really picked up again as people are traveling and back in their offices needing somewhere for their growing pandemic puppies to play while they work!
I’ve already mentioned I adore the Manager, Ally. Dawn Sperry, the Owner is equally as lovely. Additionally, there are approximately 20 employees including Wanda, the Groomer and Maria, the head dog handler that the dogs follow around. I’m so so picky about George’s grooming since my friend Rhonda is the only one who has groomed him for 16 years but she up and moved to the beach last fall! I think Wanda is going to get the job next month.
Back to Dawn…..she is from Tennessee but now lives in Alpharetta. She worked in the food service industry for contract food service companies since 1981. She was ready for a career change and she and her husband are pet lovers and decided they wanted to do something in the pet industry. After extensive research they chose to open a Camp Run-a-Mutt franchise because the support and training were unparalleled. Their dog Bear, a Shihpoo, is the Camp Run-a-Mutt greeter and is ADORABLE! Tragically, Dawn’s husband, Blair, died after a tragic fall down their basement stairs only six months ago. Dawn is handling the ownership alone and thankful to have Ally by her side.
If your dog needs a place to run and play during the day or if you need overnight boarding contact Dawn or Ally.
Also, they are now seeking to hire:
- an experienced dog trainer to come on site or to partner with
- full time or seasonal help
Camp Run-a-Mutt Dunwoody
5486 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd
Dunwoody, GA 30338