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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day camp goes to the dogs

La Honda enterprise offers something new this summer
By Ryan Mac
Published/Last Modified on Tuesday, Jun 30, 2009 - 09:55:22 am PDT

Driving down the coast on a foggy Thursday morning, Katheryn Weaver stopped the van to pick up Keena on her way to day camp. With Bailey and Rocky already on board, she continued her trek from Montara to San Gregorio.

After picking up her last passenger, Weaver turned around and headed back up the coast to La Honda, eventually stepping out into the cool air and stretching her legs after the long commute. As she opened the doors to the van, campers eagerly jumped out, greeting the camp counselors for the day.

But at Klaws, Paws & Hooves’ Doggy Daycare, instead of the expected pleasantries and high-fives, counselors were greeted by wet tongues, wagging tails and a friendly bark or two.Weaver watched as the dogs were led into an enclosure littered with chew toys and tennis balls, smiling as she observed the dogs beginning their morning routine of fetch. With weathered hands, she wrestled a ball from a defiant canine ensuring the progression of the game to at least another round.

The owner of KP&H, Weaver has been in business for 15 years, recently having expanded to the La Honda site for Doggy Daycare. For Weaver, starting the business was simply a matter of melding a passion with a suitable occupation.

“People’s pets have always been my interest,” she explained. “So I developed a business, and it’s been going strong! This it the natural progression for it to go — canine camp.”

While Weaver offers other services from behavioral consultations to overnight boarding, her newest venture now has her setting up camp every day on part of a 16-acre enclosure, owned by friend and associate Joanne Joye. Weaver cited Joye, her “right arm,” as being instrumental in helping to expand the company.

Joye, who also runs a wedding service on her property on the weekends, has managed to juggle responsibilities.

“For me, it was helping out a friend,” said Joye about the decision to host the camp. “Animals are also kind of my life, and it works as long as it makes both of us happy. Plus, I’m utilizing the property.”

From Monday through Friday, Weaver drives up and down the coast picking up people’s best friends and looking after them from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., returning them to their owners at the end of the day. To her, the decision to expand, even in a time of economic downturn, was one that simply had to be made.

“We’re always redefining ourselves, that’s why we’re here,” she said. “It’s a new niche. The economic downturn has not affected Klaws, Paws & Hooves, which is why we’re expanding. It’s up and out of Montara.”

At the camp, the former Vietnam vet runs a tight ship. Employing only the most qualified employees, she has a packed schedule and maintains that her business’s longevity on the Coastside is a tribute to her reputation.

As for the future, the two hope to expand so that they can accommodate at least 25 canines in the future. And for those who may be skeptical of Doggy Daycare, Weaver maintained the importance of looking after Coastsiders’ canine “kids.”

“99.9 percent of my clients treat their dogs like they were their furry, four-legged kids,” she said. “We meet that expectation and exceed it.”

Fortunately or unfortunately for their parents, these “kids” won’t be coming home from camp with artwork or charm bracelets anytime soon.

Copyright © 2009 Half Moon Bay Review