Growing up in Fremont, Michigan, Alicia Offringa was always surrounded by dogs, cats and the occasional lizard. As the owner of Camp Bow Wow Hudsonville, she’s still surrounded, but just by dogs.
“My goal was to work in a zoo,” Alicia said. “While I was studying for a biology degree at Grand Valley State and working for the Humane Society of West Michigan, a family friend offered me the opportunity to be the manager of the new Camp Bow Wow Hudsonville. I started work there on the very day it opened 16 years ago.”
Thirteen-and-a-half years later, she bought the business. Camp Bow Wow is a franchise with more than 200 locations nationwide, including 10 in Michigan. Its certified camp counselors are trained in first aid, pet CPR and behavioral issues.
The Hudsonville Camp offers doggie day care, boarding, grooming, and even occasionally fosters dogs for partners, such as the Humane Society of West Michigan or Lake Haven Rescue, when they have a dog who could benefit from the Camp Bow Wow environment.
At Camp Bow Wow Hudsonville, dogs play in groups and are never stuck in a kennel. Dogs also receive enrichment activities, such as digging through a tub full of balls, eating snow and chasing bubbles.
Alicia is proud that Camp Bow Wow Hudsonville participates in the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing grants to help sick and injured dogs receive urgent medical care. The foundation has raised more than $900,000 and helped more than 800 dogs.
To support its balance sheet, Camp Bow Wow Hudsonville hosts small fundraising events, such as Picture Days, at special times of the year. All money raised goes to the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation.
“My staff is really passionate about what we do,” Alicia said. “We really love all the dogs.” She herself lives with two dogs, three cats, a ball python and a very brave little chinchilla.
Camp Bow Wow Hudsonville joined Michigan Pet Alliance as a corporate member a year ago and just renewed its membership.
Alicia met Michigan Pet Alliance board member Namiko Ota-Noveskey when they both worked for the Humane Society of West Michigan. Namiko, now program supervisor for Kent County Animal Shelter, reached out to tell Alicia about the benefits offered to corporate members of Michigan Pet Alliance.
“Alicia is very compassionate about animals,” Namiko said. “She accommodates to the best of her ability to ensure that each dog enjoys their stay at Camp Bow Wow.”
Alicia hopes to attend the 2023 One Voice: Michigan Pet Alliance Conference & Expo in Grand Rapids, September 21 and 22.