From trial to triumph – Heidi Ganahl overcame personal tragedy to open the first Camp Bow Wow® and proceeded to build North America’s largest and fastest growing pet care franchise and premier provider of fun, safe and individualized care.
The Big Idea
Entrepreneurs at heart, Heidi and her first husband, Bion, were always thinking up crazy, new ideas. Heidi and Bion looked for high quality pet care for their two dogs and failed to find what they were looking for so in 1994 they wrote a business plan for a doggy day care, gave it a camp theme and made it fun and upscale.
Six months later, Bion died in a tragic plane crash. Heidi received a settlement, but managed to lose most of it loaning to family and making bad investments. Five years later, Heidi’s little brother came to her and asked her if she still wanted to start Camp Bow Wow because he knew she wasn’t passionate about what she was doing. She took the $80,000 remaining from her settlement and said “Let’s give it a try.”
The First Camps
In December 2000, Heidi opened the first Camp Bow Wow in Denver as one of the very first dog day cares in Colorado. After the success of the first location, Heidi opened a second location where one of her clients introduced her to the idea of franchising. Camp Bow Wow began franchising in 2003.
Today there are more than 130 open Camps and over 30 in the process of opening. Numerous locations offer in-home pet care with Home Buddies, and dog training services with Behavior Buddies. Our motto is Happy Healthy Pets, Happy Healthy People and we pride ourselves on caring for pets as if they were our own.
A Dog Gone Bright Future
In August of 2014, Camp Bow Wow was acquired by VCA Inc., a leading animal healthcare company with over 700 animal hospitals in the United States and Canada. Camp Bow Wow’s strategy remains the same, but Heidi hopes to see the number of locations grow to 1000 over the next several years so we can provide premier pet care to even more pets who have yet to experience the Camp Bow Wow difference.
"Find something you are passionate about to start a business around, create a great plan, and find the best people you can to help launch it. Keep your focus on your dream, dream big, and go after it!"