Camp Bow Wow Fort Worth West
6411 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite C
Open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Camp Bow Wow is the country’s largest day and overnight dog camp franchise. Based in Westminster, Colorado, Camp Bow Wow is owned by VCA Inc., a national animal health care company.
Tim Lightfoot is the owner of the new location of Camp Bow Wow, a day and overnight dog camp franchise that opened July 10 in Fort Worth.
Camp Bow Wow Fort Worth West can provide for 97 dogs in 75 cabins, 16 “teacup” cabins and 6 luxury suites. Amenities include outdoor and indoor play areas, live cams, climate-controlled atmosphere and a 24-hour monitoring system. The staff includes “counselors” to supervise dogs in the play area and a social media/marketing staffer.
Lightfoot said that one cabin will be used exclusively to house a shelter dog for adoption from the Saving Hope Foundation. He said the idea was inspired by another camp that also participates in this program and that it’s a way to “give back to the community.”
Lightfoot and his sheep-a-doodle Oreo (an Old English sheepdog crossed with a standard poodle) sat down with the Fort Worth Business Press to talk about the new business.
What inspired you to open a doggy day care?
Oreo was my inspiration for doing a doggy day care. I actually wanted to get out of the corporate world [of asset management]. I started looking for a place that I could open. I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted [to] open my own business, but I had no clue what I wanted to do. … I’m like, “Okay, I’ve gotta be missing something here. What am I missing? Sit down and let’s just think about this. There’s something right in front of my nose, but I’m not seeing it.” I took a step back and said “okay” and then as soon as I did that it hit me, “Oh my gosh, doggy day care and boarding” because Oreo went to boarding for two years when she was a puppy. … When I thought about that I’m like, “I can take her to work with me if I do a doggy day care.” Perfect. I name my company Oreo Investments Inc. and the rest is history.
Why Fort Worth?
I wanted to stay close. I grew up in East Texas, which is two hours away in Palestine. [Although Lightfoot expressed uncertainty about moving to Fort Worth, when a franchise opportunity opened up he and Oreo decided to make the trip from Dallas to check it out.] When I pulled in to Fort Worth I’m like, “Oh my god, what has happened to this city.” … I hadn’t been here in 10 years, maybe 15, and when I was here I would only go to the games and then we would leave. … [When Lightwood looked at Camp Bowie he thought,] “this is not the same city that I remember.” This is it. … Then I went to some restaurants, talked to people, did research, got out in the area, went and looked at different things, and everybody I met was incredible.
Why did you go into business for yourself?
I was like, “I am burnt out on the corporate world.” … “Okay, I need an exit plan. I’ve got to get an exit plan to get out of here because I can’t do this til I’m 65 or 67 … I can’t do this that long, so how am I gonna do this? I’m gonna do this by becoming my own boss.” I’m like, “I’m gonna bet on me instead of betting on letting them” because you can work for a company 25 years now and be laid off the next day with the layoffs. There’s no guarantees like it was when my parents worked … [I said to myself] “why would I roll the dice on being able to work somewhere until I’m able to retire. Bet on yourself,” and that’s what I did. I put the plan into action that I was going to get a business of my own … and it was a long process.
What do you wish you knew at the beginning?
I wished I knew how important a mentor was. I have someone that has taken me under her wing that’s another Camp Bow Wow owner. She’s actually the owner of the camp in Duncanville, Stacey Copeland. And Stacey has taken me up under her wing and has mentored me and I didn’t realize that I would need a mentor. … You need someone that knows how the system works. … Stacey has been that person for me and I didn’t realize how important a mentor would be to me.