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Camp Bow Wow Barks Up Business

Hicksville welcomes new doggy day care and camp

When brothers-in-law David Levine and Doug Kesselman found out that they could have the opportunity to work together and spend their days working with dogs, they jumped at the chance to combine their passions and opened Camp Bow Wow, a day care and boarding center for dogs.

Levine, who previously had an electrical business, and Kesselman, who used to work in the garment district, are proud to bring the first Camp Bow Wow, which has more than 120 locations nationwide, to Long Island.

“We wanted to provide a safe environment for animals as well as be a positive addition to the community and surrounding areas," said Levine. “The chance to be in business with my brother-in-law and our love of animals makes this a win-win situation."

Open for about three weeks, Camp Bow Wow has been ramping up for continued positive growth by hiring staff members and making sure that they all get the proper training to deal with animals and emergencies.

“Camp Bow Wow is all day play monitored by a counselor and all of our counselors are trained and pet CPR-certified,” Levine said.

Currently, the camp has about 15 employees and is looking to hire more. “We would rather be overstaffed with extra people to make sure that things continue to go smoothly as we ramp up,” Levine said. The brothers-in-law have also been hiring locally, which has seen a great response from the community. While New York State mandates that the employee to dog ratio be 25:1 in a setting such as Camp Bow Wow, Kesselman said that they would like to keep it at 15:1 to ensure that the dogs get the attention they need throughout the day.

Prior to a scheduled stay at Camp Bow Wow, the dogs need to be brought in for a thorough interview process. They need to be up-to-date on all of their shots, spayed/neutered and need to demonstrate that they can handle being around other dogs.

“The number one deterrent is aggression,” said Kesselman. “For the safety of our employees and the other dogs, if a dog shows signs of aggression, we cannot take them.”

The dogs have access to an indoor dog park as well as an outdoor one with playground equipment. They are separated by size and temperament.  Kesselman said that they mix and match energy levels that jive with each other and create a harmonious environment. However, the dogs are not allowed balls and toys while they are on the playground; nothing, added Kesselman, that they would guard and become protective over. Although, he added, that if a dog is boarding with Camp Bow Wow, toys are allowed in their cabins (there are 61 of them) or suites for families of dogs (of which there are four) to make the animal feel more at home and less anxious. In addition, pet parents can monitor their furry friends on a webcam all day long and see what they are up to.

“Our counselors keep the dogs stimulated and keep them socialized all day long so that when they go home, they are tired,” Kesselman said.

But if there is one thing that both Kesselman and Levine want the community to know about them, it’s the fact that they just want to bring something new and exciting to Hicksville.

“We are just two hardworking guys that are looking to provide a service to the community,” Levine said.

Camp Bow Wow is located at 174 Miller Place. To learn more, visit www.campbowwow.com/us/ny/hicksville