In honor of Andy, the pup behind it all.
To most people, their dog is far more than just a pet, they’re a member of the family. At Camp Run-A-Mutt we understand the importance of knowing your dog is safe and comfortable while in our care. We are committed to maintaining an environment that offers fun and exercise in a well supervised, clean and safe surrounding.
– Dennis, Mikel, and Severn
Owners & Founders of Camp Run-A-Mutt
Three friends, one dog, and lots of love!
The Camp Run-A-Mutt concept was born in mid 2007. We (Dennis, Mikel and Severn) put our heads together and came up with the obvious: build a place we’d bring our own dogs to. A clean, safe place that looks like a dog park with grass, toys, things to climb in, things crawl through, and water – not just to drink but to jump into and splash. Instead of cages, there would be other dogs to play with and humans 24/7 to keep the chaos controlled. Also, “Muttcam” technology that allows people, no matter where they are, to watch their dogs having fun. Finally, a beautiful, user friendly website that allows customers to register their dogs, submit instructions for boarding and connect to a social network of dog lovers.
When we opened on February 29th, 2008, we were proud of what we’d created and determined to change an industry that needed updating.
Since that first day, there’s been a recession and competition yet CRAM has had continuous growth. We’ve learned something everyday from every dog that’s walked in the door, and there have been thousands. It’s not enough to provide a safe place for dogs, you have to love and care for them like your own. We have learned the nuts and bolts of running a successful business, winning awards from the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, local television stations and publications along with an A+ rating from the BBB and the San Diego Humane Society’s Compassion Award. This business was started with a basic love and respect for dogs and turned into a concept that thousands of dog lovers know, love and keep coming back.
Who We Are
Working at a nuclear power plant, the space shuttle project, graduating from Cal Poly and climbing telephone poles did nothing to prepare Dennis for what was to come next. However, owning his energetic and beloved English Springer Spaniel, Andy, for 15 years changed his life forever.
When you do what you love it’s amazing what you can accomplish. Two of Severn’s greatest passions are his work and his dog Rocco. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Severn has been a dog owner all his life beginning with his childhood dog German Shepherd “Duke” who was found scared and starving in the cellar of an abandoned house.
Mikel grew up in Northern Virginia, outside Washington D.C., where he used to run through the woods with his first dog Shadow. Mikel and Shadow were inseparable, hence her given name, and it was that bond that showed him what the love between a dog and a person could mean to both.
Analiese didn’t grow up with dogs, but she’s always had a passion for animals. After adopting her first dog Rumo (a 1 year old heeler/border collie mix) in 2009, she had no doubt that a career in the animal field was her calling. Discovering Camp Run-A-Mutt in early 2012, it seemed like a perfect fit. She began as a dog handler at our 4th location in San Diego, CA.
For as long as she can remember, Chelsea has always loved dogs. In 2008, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Henry joined her family, and she discovered firsthand the incredible bond people can share with their pups.
With her background in graphic design and lifelong love for dogs, Chelsea joined Camp Run-A-Mutt in 2018.
Mr. Biggs, Fletcher & Howard
Mr. Biggs, Fletcher, & Howard are the newest members of the pack at Camp Run-A-Mutt. They provide motivational & emotional support.
Frequently Asked Questions
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I just adopted my dog last weekend. Can I schedule a temperament test?
Congratulations! The majority of our Campers are adopted, and we love that! However, we know that newly adopted dogs have had a lot of transition their lives, potentially in a very short period of time. Also, there are several aspects of daycare that are very similar to a shelter environment (barking, tons of smells, many different dogs, strange people). That might cause a dog to think they are back in that place, and revert back to behaviors they might have exhibited at that time such as those associated with anxiety or fear. Since they are still in an adjustment period, and because you may not be able to provide much information about their behaviors after only a short time together, we ask that you wait at least 3 weeks before bringing your new family member into daycare. In the meantime, we recommend lots of bonding time through walks, playtime, and treats!
How long does a temperament test take?
The short answer: it depends. The longer answer: There is no pre-determined length of time. Each temperament test is conducted based on the unique needs of the new dog. For a dog that’s been in daycare their whole life and is happy-go-lucky and super confident, it may be no more than 5-10 minutes. For a dog that hasn’t had a lot of socialization, or is slow to warm up to new people or dogs, we will slow it down to match their comfort level. We want to set each new dog up for success, so we never want to rush them into a situation they aren’t ready for! For that reason, we generally ask that you budget about 15-30 minutes for the whole process, from start to finish.
Can I do a temperament test first thing in the morning, right when you open?
We know that life is busy, which is why we offer temperament testing every day that we are open for daycare. However, when we first open in the morning (or at the very end of the day), we do not have the appropriate number of staff or dogs to facilitate an accurate temperament test. For this reason, we ask that you call or email us to determine the best time for you to bring in your pup. This also allows us to ensure that we can provide you the highest level of customer service and our undivided attention when you arrive!
How old does my pup need to be before I can bring him or her to Camp?
The minimum age requirement for puppies is 12 weeks of age. Typically, by this point they have received at least 2 sets of their initial puppy shots, and most vets agree this is an acceptable time to begin introducing your puppy to other dogs. Don’t forget, all Campers are required to be up to date on all vaccinations while at Camp Run-A-Mutt, so this is also one of the safest places for your puppy to begin interacting with new dogs.
Why do we need to check in before noon for boarding?
Our noon-drop off requirement has several benefits, all of which are geared toward ensuring your dog has the best first night possible. Generally by noon, most daycare dogs have arrived for the day, meaning less changes to the pack dynamic, which can help your dog settle into the day. They also have the opportunity to be greeted by and hang out with the other dogs who will be spending the night with them, and most of the employees who will be on site for that day. Most importantly, arriving by 12pm gives your dog the chance to play for at least 6 hours before the day starts winding down. And we know that a tired dog makes for the best slum-grr party guest.
Why do you want me to individually package my dog's meals when boarding?
We ask that you bring your dog’s meals in pre-portioned containers of your choosing (ziplock or paper bags, jars, reusable containers - all of which we are happy to save and return to you, if you like) so that we can quickly determine at check in that your pup has enough food for their entire stay based on your feeding instructions. It also eliminates any disparities in measurements, so you know your dog is getting exactly how much you intend (does “1 cup” mean 1 level cup, 1 heaping cup, or 1 scant cup?). And, most importantly, it frees us up to spend more time playing with your dog (which we’re pretty sure is what we all want)!
My dog is boarding. Can I pick my dog up before you open or after you close?
Although we are staffed 24 hours per day, we cannot accommodate after hours pick ups. For the safety of all dogs in our care, Camp Run-A-Mutt has very strict policies when it comes to employee supervision of Campers. Depending on the number of boarding dogs, there may only be one employee on site, and they would need to leave other dogs unattended in order to check out your dog, which is inconsistent with our standards of care. However, if you give us advanced permission to do so, we will gladly allow someone other than you to pick your dog up, if you are unable to do so during our normal business hours.
Why does my dog need to be neutered/spayed at 7 months of age?
Our spay and neuter requirements are for the safety of all dogs in our care, especially yours. Often, when puppies begin to produce sex hormones, it can lead to unwelcome behaviors. It can also cause other dogs to behave differently toward that dog than they normally would. In order to prevent behavioral issues on both sides, and since this is the average age where problems begin to arise, all dogs must be altered by 7 months at the latest. This is also why sterilization procedures alone are not sufficient to eliminate the risks. Procedures such as chemical sterilization in male dogs, for example, do not end hormone production, so many of those potentially problematic behaviors remain. (That being said, some puppies develop more quickly than others and may begin to exhibit certain behaviors earlier than this. If we believe that this may lead to an unsafe environment for any dog, including yours, we may ask you to temporarily refrain from daycare and boarding until after your dog has been fixed.)
Why did you put a Camp collar on my dog today?
For their safety, all Campers must wear a proper fitting quick-release collar while participating in daycare or boarding. If they happen to arrive at Camp without one, we can utilize one of our collars for the day. (Please note: if your dog cannot wear a collar for medical reasons, we can permit them to wear a harness instead.)
Why did you leash/time out/or move my dog today?
There are a number of reasons why we may temporarily leash a dog, or move them to a different part of the facility, but it’s always based on creating the safest environment possible for all the dogs in our care. Please give us a call, or talk to us when you pick up your dog and we will be happy to discuss in detail.
Can I tour the facility?
YES! We understand the importance of transparency when it comes to your fur baby, so we are happy to provide tours of our facility. This may be easier during certain hours of the day than others (such as morning drop off or feeding times) so please give us a call to confirm the best time.
What is a temperament test?
A temperament test is an opportunity for us introduce your dog(s) to a cross-section of the types of dogs they will meet in our play yards, and assess their comfort level with each type of dog. We use a mix of males and females, small, medium, and large sized dogs, and puppies, adult, and senior dogs (all of which we see on a regular basis!). This helps us know how to set your dog up for success on their first day of daycare, to ensure they have a comfortable and fun experience!
Can I watch the temperament test?
Absolutely! We have a live camera feed of our temperament test area so that you can see exactly what’s going on, from the comfort of our customer lounge. In an effort to create the most accurate representation of our primary play areas, we don’t permit customers to be in the area while we are conducting the temperament test. Since you won’t be there when your pup is in the play yard, we want to understand how they behave without you nearby. But we promise to communicate with you during every step of the process!
My dog has been in daycare before, why does Camp Run-A-Mutt require another temperament test?
We do this to ensure the safety of each and every dog that enters our facility. Dogs are very sensitive animals and may respond differently to new sights and smells, people, and dogs, so we want to ensure that the combination of those stimuli at our location is a good fit for your pup. This is a requirement even if your dog has been a camper at another Camp Run-A-Mutt, or maybe even if it’s been a long time since your last visit to our location.
Why does my dog need to complete a “test day” before they can board?
Our cage-free boarding is a unique concept. As such, it may not be the perfect option for every dog (and that’s ok!). To ensure the safety and comfort of all pups in our care, we require that all Campers spend a minimum of one 6+ hour day with us prior to being allowed to spend the night. This allows us to observe their behavior over the course of the day. Sometimes, dogs who appear comfortable at first can become anxious as other dogs begin to go home from daycare or cranky as they get tired from playing. Because having dogs who are tired and relaxed is key to having a restful night of boarding, we want to make sure that your pup settles in well. Should your dog appear uncomfortable or overly anxious as the day progresses, we may recommend additional daycare prior to scheduling boarding. We also encourage customers planning for a long boarding stay (a week or more, for example) to consider a “trial" boarding night prior to their dog’s first long stay, so they can experience staying overnight, but getting to go home with their parent(s) the next day. This makes the next time less scary!
Why can’t I see my dog on the Muttcams? Are they ok?
Our Muttcams are placed to provide the maximum view of our play areas and the best action footage. Many of our dogs play so much that they have to rest and recharge, so there’s a good chance your pup is just relaxing out of camera view. Sometimes newer dogs like to observe from the sidelines for awhile before venturing into the mix. If you can’t spot your dog for awhile, always feel free to give us a call and we can give you an update that way.