Dogs run free at Gainesville’s Bark Camp Farm

Posted 4:05PM on Saturday 29th October 2022 ( 1 year ago )
Gainesville’s first farm-styled dog daycare and boarding facility, Bark Camp Farm, offers dog owners a fun, kennel-free place to drop off their canines.
Bark Camp Farm owner Megan Partrick officially opened the free roam farm in September after several months of working with the Hall County Planning Commission. The 30-acre property is on Hunter Road, which was the site of a former horse and dairy farm.
Partrick said she got the idea to open a free-run dog farm after she struggled to find a place to let her goldendoodle puppy run. Her friends in Auburn, Alabama own a similar farm-style facility, so Partrick decided to follow in their pawsteps.
“We were like ‘Man, we wish we had that Terry had somewhere like this in town that she could go play and run and not be kept in a kennel all day and be socialized with other dogs,’” Partrick said. “We just decided we would do it and we would just open the place that we were wanting so badly for [Terry].”
For dog owners who feel guilty leaving their pets cooped up while they are at work, Bark Camp Farm offers daytime care for $30 a day. If owners live within a 10 mile radius of the farm, there is also a shuttle service option for an additional $5.
“We can come pick your dog up and bring it back at the end of the day with daycare and with boarding,” Partrick said. “So both of those are similar [in] that they're farm-style, [the dogs are] outside playing in big fields all day and playing with each other and our staff. [It’s] the same when you're boarding for the daycare.”
Boarding a dog costs $50 a day, and they receive pampering through fancy Kuranda beds, aromatherapy and calming music. Owners who board their dogs can rest assured that their companions are active outdoors. Nighttime and morning feeding time are the only occasions where dogs are confined – otherwise, it is playtime rain or shine.
“They kind of go in and out of our big barn for water and shade if they need it,” Partrick said. “Although the weather's been so good the past few weeks, we haven't really needed that. We have a big area inside the barn, so if it were to rain, we still have somewhere for them to play.”
Before owners can board a dog or drop one off for daycare, their dog will need to take the temperament assessment. This will make sure dogs are suited to a daycare-style environment with other dogs.
“They come for the day and we assess them individually first, then in a smaller group, and then transfer them to a larger group,” Partrick said. “And we just kind of make sure that they're happy there and that they're happy with other dogs. Our assessment just kind of sees what their behavior is, makes sure that they're not aggressive and that they're suited to be in that type of environment. Our questionnaire before they come asks questions like ‘Has the dog ever been attacked? Has the dog ever attacked another dog? Have they been in a daycare setting before?’ It's a very extensive questionnaire. We want to be meticulous and make sure that they're going to do well in that type of environment. We don't want to put anybody's dog in danger, we want everybody to be happy.”
Partrick said she hopes to group dogs with similar sizes and temperaments as Bark Camp Farm grows. But for now, all the dogs seem to enjoy coexisting.
“It's like they've kind of grouped themselves,” Partrick. “Like we'll have small dogs playing together, small dogs playing with big dogs because they’re so high energy… Or medium dogs playing together, or some dogs laying and relaxing in the sun while other dogs are off playing. So it's been interesting to see that they always kind of naturally do what they want to do because they're outside and they have the room to be free and do what they want to.”
Partrick suggests owners who take their dogs to the farm’s daycare stick to a consistent schedule. If the majority of owners do this, then their dog will get used to seeing the same canine playmates every week.
Bark Camp Farm is getting ready to open other play areas on the property. Partrick hopes to finish a fenced outdoor area that will connect to the boarding area by Thanksgiving. Then a small, shaded creek area will open in time for the spring and summer months.
“We're having fun doing what we're doing,” Partrick said. “We hope to serve our community and all the dogs well and make it a happy place where people know their dogs are well taken care of and they're outside.”

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