From the beginning.....
Camp Charlie beginnings...Prior to becoming a working professional in the Seattle area, my favorite pastime was being involved with dogs. From part-
time training and handling to breeding, dogs have been my life. However, over the years it seemed more difficult to find the time for these great
friends. What bothered me the most was that my own dogs were missing their favorite pastime of precious play-time and exercise. I created Camp
Charlie out of the love for my first yellow lab, Charlie. My first thought was to have an area similar to Mary-moor Park with wide open spaces and a
swimming area. Next, I wanted a controlled environment where dogs are safe and supervised. And lastly, I wanted to provide dog pickup and return to
take the pressure off the already busy schedules of the owners.
That was then. . . Wow have things ever changed! But first, I would like to take a moment to thank all of the great clients and dogs that have
contributed to the growth and success of Camp Charlie. For many of us our dogs are our kids and for those of us who have children, we still think of
our dogs as part of the family. It's hard to believe this is our seventh year in business. For the past seven years it has been an honor and pleasure
for Camp Charlie to care for your dogs. When I started Camp Charlie my dream was to provide personal quality service not only as the Good Dog
Day Camp, but the Good Dog Day Camp and Resort! In January 2004 I purchased 13 acres on Big Rock Road in Duvall for the resort. After a painful
20 months of going through the permit process, and two plus years of construction I can finally say the main building (the Boarding, Doggie Lounge
and my living space) are open and taking reservations. If all goes well the 6000 square foot Arena will be complete by winter.
In the past, Camp Charlie has been a 2 1/2 hour exercise program. But now with facility nearly complete, we are offering all-day doggie day care,
kennel-free boarding, and much much more.
Seven years ago I began leasing the 15 acre Snoqualmie river area where we do our exercise program. Three years ago I began leasing an
adjoining 22 acres to create the current 37 acre private Camp Charlie Off-leash Park. Since it is no secret that the public dog parks are over
crowded, my goal was to provide an alternative dog park for our clients. Today, I'm glad to say the park plan has been a success with its membership
June 2008 Update
It was a long winter, but productive. And now with The Resort open it's time to get the word out "Bring on the Hounds". When I designed the Resort,
my vision was based entirely on what would I want for my dogs? Or should I say what would I want for your dogs, if they were mine? I'd want them to
be safe, unstressed and have so much fun during the day that they fall peacefully asleep at night.
So far the most dogs I've had at one time, not including my four, has been twenty. I'm sure I could handle more if it was a holiday or something, but
fifteen to twenty is ideal. I have to laugh because I designed The Resort so that there were two distinct areas, the dog area and my living area, well so
much for that idea. It's just one big dog house. It turns out some dogs need a human around at bed time, and who am I to argue. Anyway unlike the
Camp Charlie Park, being the best kept secret to dog park goers, I need to pay for this place so call me and book a stay at the best kept secret of
October 2007 Update
Wow! Again! I must say without a doubt, I bit off more than I could chew. I definitely under estimated what was involved with such a project. But I can
now say, after all these years, that I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I still have lots of finish work to do in my living area, but the dog area is
nearly complete. In fact ,YES, we now are taking a limited number of dogs as overnight guests.
The fencing alone has been a huge project. When it's all said and done, we will have put up over 2500 feet of fencing. Some of it is solid, some chain-
link and some split-rail with field fencing. The fences are designed so that when certain gates are closed we have multiple play areas and can also
keep a good eye on the dogs as we pass through one area into the next. Eventually, there will be about 9-10 acres dedicated to the dogs.
For the past five years my staff and I have been taking the dogs to the CC Off-Leash Park for our exercise program. Each year we brunt the harsh
cold wet winter, often needing to cancel the day because of flooding. This winter, starting no later than December, we will be holding the exercise
program plus offering all-day doggie daycare at the new facility. When the weather improves we will return to the off-leash park, and take overnight
guest there as well to enjoy summer swimming.
These last couple of years have been quite tough on me. I have had to remove myself from the day-to-day workings of Camp Charlie in order to
concentrate on the construction. During that time I found I really missed interacting with all the dogs, and I often wondered if the heartaches were all
worth it. I must say, having the dogs here now and seeing how my life is going to be - YES IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!
July 2006 Update
Wow! I apologize for it being so long since my last posting. Quit honestly, I often feel like a chicken with his head cut off. Acting as my own general
contractor has been far more difficult then I anticipated. Also while trying to keep my budget in check, I find myself doing much of the labor.
I broke ground late August of 2005. A barn building company came to set all the posts, and trusses, and to put on the plywood for the roof. They
were in and out in three weeks, leaving me the rest of the job. From there a few of my ragtag buddies and I took on the challenge. And OH what a
challenge! After a long, slow winter, things are finally progressing. Did I mention that this GIANT DOG HOUSE is going to be my home as well? Well it
is. When your dogs stay at Camp Charlie, they will literally be in a home-like environment. I’Äôll try to give you an idea of the layout.
The building is a monitor-style barn. The first floor is approximately 4600 sq. ft. All of it has radiant heat built into the concrete slab. 1200 sq. ft. will be
my living area, and the rest is for the dogs. Instead of cages for your dogs, there will be suites, or a bunk house, where 3-4 dogs will sleep. Each
suite will consist of a 12x12 sq. ft. room with a 12x10 sq. ft. outside covered area and an additional 12x 20sq. ft. outdoor run. Each suite will open
onto a 36x36 sq. ft. area I call the doggie lounge. Now a barn is not a barn if it doesn’t have a big barn door. Well, this barn is no exception. In fact,
coming off the doggie lounge there are two 12 x 10 ft. sliding barn doors opening to one of many group play areas on the property. In addition, there
is a small office and receiving area adjoining a small grooming facility. I don’t plan to offer grooming to the public, but will offer it to CC guests. The
upstairs is approximately 1200 sq. ft. Approximately 600 sq. feet will be a loft overlooking my living room, giving me a modest cabin style home of
about 1800 sq. feet. I must say, my living space has turned out to be far more complex than originally designed.
To date all the heated floors, framing, and outside sheeting of OSB are completed except in the office and grooming areas. My living space is framed
and plumbing is ready to begin. The office area slab is being prepped for the final cement pour. This area is quite complex since this part of the barn
also has the utility room where the boiler for heat and domestic water are housed. The electrical main box is here, too. WHAT A MESS! There are so
many water lines and electrical conduit running under the slab that it’s a bit of a challenge to sort out. I just hope the faucet doesn’Äôt start running
when I turn the lights on!
The barn is where most of the concentration has been, however there has been a lot of other things happening as well. I won’t be building them this
year, but I have building permits for a 6000sq. ft. arena and a 900 sq. ft. utility garage. Remember, this is a 13 acre lot, and even though the interior
was mostly cleared, the blackberries had taken over. After a couple of years playing on big tonka toys like track hoes, bull dozers, loaders and
tractors I’m nearing completion of the excavating. The well is in, and there are water hydrants as well as irrigation lines throughout a good portion of
the property. Cable lines have all been buried and ready to connect to the barn. Did I mention that I’m going to have web-cams so that you can check
on what your buddy is doing via the internet? The main electrical cable for the arena and other out buildings, as well a network of outdoor plugs and
lighting wires, are also in the ground and ready to be attached. Most of the property has had its final grading and is ready for seed. My next big
excavation project will be bringing the main power, gas and phone from the road to the barn.
Anyway thanks for checking in on my progress.
My hope is the new facility will be open sometime this fall. Until then if you would like to stop by and see how far we’Äôve come feel free to give me a
call - I would love to show you arround.
August 2005 Update
At my last writing, I was under the impression that things were moving along nicely and we would be receiving permits soon. But that didn't happen.
What was supposed to be a 120-day process turned into 8 months! To be exempt from the new CAO laws, I needed to submit the building plans for
the entire project at on time. By doing so, the project put me over the 10,000 sq. feet of impermeable surfaces. When this occurs, the project is
handled as if it is a residential development. Needless to say, it required all this extra time. After 18 months of dealing with King County, we have
finally received our building permits! (Hurray!)
One of the first things that I plan to do is getting a portion of the property graded, seeded and fenced off so we can start offering drop-off all-day dog
care versus the 2 1/2-hour exercise program. Currently I've been doing overnight care on a smaller scale in my home. My hope is that sometime in
January we will be opening the new facility to overnight boarding. Check in on this page to monitor our progress.
April 2005 Update
We were required to get a Civil Engineer Drainage Report and the County has notified us that we are only a few weeks away from getting our building
permits. We hope to begin construction on the Camp Charlie Resort on Big Rock Road on May 1.
February 2005 Update
In February of 2005, Jamie sent the following update to Camp Charlie's happy campers:
I wanted to drop you all a note and let you know a little bit about what's been going on here at Camp Charlie...
The year 2004 had both its up points and downs. We'll start with the ups. In January, I bought the Big Rock Road property for the future resort site.
Some of you may be aware of the new critical areas ordinance (CAO) that has been passed by King County. After months of environmental studies
and sleepless nights, the sensitive area review was completed and is now on title with the County. After SIX months of pulling my hair out, the good
news is that I was finally able to get the approved building sites I wanted. Also, during the CAO review, I was able to document that the land was
previously used as agricultural property. This was a major milestone. You see, kennels are permitted on agricultural property, but are a conditional
land usage on rural properties. Knowing King County, I'm sure I still have a battle here ahead of me.
In addition, during this time, I was also able to get an approved septic design. In late September, under the curnch of the CAO, I submitted plans for a
5,000 square foot barn that will have a portion of it as my living area - and the rest is for the dogs - yes, we'll be living together! I also submitted plans
for a 6,000 square foot open-air arena and a 24' x 36' utility garage. Obviously, this is going to take some time and finances to complete; but,
because of the CAO, I had to submit ALL of my plans (even though I can't afford to build it all yet). I could not take the chance that the new CAO laws
would keep me from my plans. Anyway, from what I understand, the maximum time for the county to approve building plans is supposed to be 120
days - which has come and gone. So, hopefully soon I will be receiving my building permits and can start construction on the barn.
The OFF-LEASH CLUB is slowing picking up steam. We're up to approximately 45 members. I have always wanted to provide a great area for my
clients and members to be able to have their own private dog area. Even with the expenses for the new property, I just couldn't let go of the off-leash
area because it has turned out to be such a wonderful place for both our dogs and us! My hope was that the revenue from the off-leash club would
help subsidize the expenses of the Camp Charlie area on the Snoqualmie River.
Camp Charlie is know for its wide, open areas where our dogs can enjoy playing and summer swimming. It offers, in my opinion, all of what our pets
desire and deserve for happy, healthy lives. We have benn so fortunate to have this wonderful area to take our dogs to play.
In creating the off-leash area, I added an additional 22 acres to the already existing 15. My intent was to give the members their own private
Marymoor. By adding the additional acreage, I also increased my costs - not only in land use, but also in maintenance. My hope was, and still is, that
we will get enough members to support this endeavor.
The success of Camp Charlie is due to you and your wonderful dogs. I want to thank you for your ongoing support and for continuing to make Camp
Charlie the place where all of our dogs want to be.