About the Owner

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I've loved and worked with dogs my entire life. My first experience training was in the early '90s with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Kennel Club where I taught group obedience and puppy classes.  Classes focused on helping owners understand how to communicate with their dogs and let them know what they really wanted.  Basic obedience was taught with blended training methods. At that time, I was involved with AKC Obedience and showed my Dalmatian, Haley, to a level one obedience title, Canine Good Citizen, and Therapy Dog certifications.  I am a professional member of the International Association of Canine Professionals, continuing to expand my training and behavioral knowledge. 

In June of 2013 our family began volunteering with Almost Home Pet Adoption Center, the Nelson County SPCA.  Our first foster, Jasper, was a medical needs dog. Fostering him led to many more dogs and a position on their Board of Directors for several years.  Additionally, we began volunteering with Southeast German Shepherd Rescue and New Rattitude Rat Terrier Rescue, fostering and holding leadership positions within those organizations.   Over the course of our fostering, we took on numerous dogs with behavior problems, and began to be called "Camp".  Thus, Camp Merricks was born.

My love of dogs, an insatiable appetite for reading, and years of watching, and "talking" to them; combined with experiences in training, showing, and rescue have led to an understanding of dog behavior that has proven helpful in assessing rescue candidates and helping "problem dogs" stay in their homes.  The majority of my assessment and training clients are referrals from local veterinarians or shelters.  I do not train your dog.  I train YOU to better understand your dog, and why they are acting the way they are.

While fostering, we built facilities to have many dogs in our home.  Former adopters asked if we'd keep their dogs while they traveled, and the boarding business grew from there.  Daycare became a natural extension to our boarding services.  We are always improving the Camp environment so dogs who spend time here are happy, engaged, and at the end of the day... tired.  We encourage dogs to be dogs, and do all the things dogs love to do: run, play, dig, tug, and splash. 

If you are thinking about boarding your dog with us, but would like to see our facility, I provide tours of Camp upon request.  We look forward to making your dog's next boarding or daycare experience a vacation!

Denise & The Camp Crew.

May you be half the person your dog thinks you are.

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