Camp Unleashed: ‘Cause Dogs Get SAD Too
Tourists take in the sights at Camp Unleashed. All photographs by Trix Rosen
Help your best buddy beat the winter blahs with Camp Unleashed’s Winter-Wonderland Weekend, February 20 -22, a rural retreat for dogs and their owners (or, as the powers that be at Camp Unleashed refer to those who feed, walk, bathe, and take dogs to the vet, “their people”). Guests, both quadru- and biped, stay at the Inn at Shaker Mill Farm, a former grist mill in the Taconic Range on the western edge of the Berkshire Mountains in Canaan, NY, 135 miles from New York and 140 from Boston.
Everyone knows that dog people are different from other folks but those who live in the country are not nearly the breed apart that city dog people are. Maybe it’s because the obligations of dog ownership in the city are greater—three long walks a day, no doggie door. Or maybe it’s because urban dog culture is so rich it’s bound to shape a dog owner’s life. Or maybe it’s because city dogs themselves are different. Here in the country, we tend to walk alone with our dogs, fielding the inevitable sturm-und-drang of neighborhood canines whose sense of territory we’ve offended. City dogs, by contract, travel in packs. They often have a circle of friends whose owners time their walks so their dogs can play together. As for their sense of territory, if they have one at all, it is pretty much confined to their bowls and their beds.
Morning hikes: cross-country skis or snowshoes optional.
Annie Brody, founder and director of Camp Unleashed, knows all this. She is a native New Yorker who, after adopting her first dog, moved from the 29th-floor of a Manhattan apartment building to a cottage on a dirt road in northeast Columbia County, NY. “I witnessed the relaxing effect that living in nature had on both of us,” she says. “So I decided to create a getaway where city dogs could unwind and “unleash” their true canine spirits, together with their human guardians.”
At these retreats, Brody and her team of devoted dog professionals offer lots or nothing to do (and solemnly swear there will be no stupid pet tricks or best-in-show prizes). Dogs of all ages, puppies to seniors, differently-abled dogs, dogs that are not athletically inclined, and those that are, all enjoy the freedom, fresh air, and each other. In addition to morning hikes in the snow (cross-country skiing and snowshoeing optional), activities include a tasting of award-winning wines from nearby Furnace Brook Winery at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, MA, an afternoon workshop on spinning dog fur into yarn, antiquing for exceptional dog-themed collectibles at Sandy Klempner Antiques, and optional therapeutic massages for people and their pooches.
Let the howling begin.
$599/person and up to two dogs;
20% discount for nonprofits professionals; $25 for the owners of rescued dogs
Includes private room with bath for two nights,
all meals, trail fees and instruction, wine-tasting,
arts- and-crafts workshop. Please reserve by 2/16/09.