By Liz Morrison.
Reprinted with permission of Fido Friendly magazine.
Four Paws Kingdom RV Park
If you are going to take Fido on the road in your RV, finding a stopover that is dog-friendly is key. In past issues of Fido Friendly we have reviewed a few RV parks that cater to families traveling with dogs and we are pleased to tell you about the newest addition to that category. Four Paws Kingdom is located on 32 lush acres in the North Carolina mountains just outside of Rutherfordton.
Owners Meik and Birgit Bartoschek are avid travelers who enjoy RVing with their two Corgies, Schroeder and Linus. After visiting several campgrounds, they wondered how they could improve on the parks they have visited to make them more accommodating to pets. And that is when the idea of opening their own pet-friendly campground was born.
“One day we were sitting down thinking about our lives and thought that maybe there is one more challenge we should give ourselves. So we started looking for a place to build Four Paws Kingdom,” Meik said.
The campground,which is closed in the winter, offers 41 RV campsites, six tent-sized sites and two cabins. But that is just the tip of the chew toy. Fido will love the many off-leash, fenced amenities that are all about him, including a swimming pond for both dogs and humans, a dog park with ample running space, and for the little guys, a dedicated small dog playground. There is also a fully fenced, championship- sized agility ring with a free introduction (agility classes are extra). And every dog gets a treat or two at check-in.
But wait, there’s more! Does Fido need an obedience tune-up? There are classes and seminars for dogs and humans. There is even a herding demonstration and clinic provided by experts from nearby Possum Hollow Farms. Some classes and seminars are free; others require a nominal fee. Like to explore nature? Four Paws Kingdom has 20 acres of on-leash hiking trails to keep you and Fido in shape.
For you creative types, Meik’s wife Brigit is an artist and offers instruction in arts and crafts. From decoupage to dog bandana painting to silk painting to decorating flower pots and wooden trays, Brigit will keep you busy while Fido runs around with his friends. You can see some of Brigit’s work at the campground gift shop and art gallery.
After a day of romping in the pond and rolling in the sand, Fido might be a little too stinky to be welcomed back into the RV. Not to worry, Four Paws Kingdom has a state-of-the-art, self-serve doggie bath house equipped with two tubs, warm water and a lighted grooming station with electrical outlets for dryers. If you did not bring your own doggy cleansing products, their store offers all kinds of shampoos and conditioners to make Fido look and smell his best.
So, what’s in it for humans? Plenty! A comfortable modern bathhouse (no pooches allowed), cookout and grill area with outdoor fireplace, a pavilion with entertainment on weekends, free video rentals, high speed Internet access plus inviting swimming and fishing ponds. Plus, you are smack in the middle of some of the most beautiful back-country in the Southeast.
The Bartoscheks also run the Four Paws Kingdom Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible pet ownership. Their mission is to promote lasting relationships between dogs and humans by encouraging pet owners to enroll their puppies in obedience training in order to teach the dog good habits at an early age. The Bartoscheks are concerned about the number of unwanted pets that are left at shelters, or even worse, dumped onto back roads because of bad behavior. Strays are a real issue in their area, and through the foundation, they are promoting humane animal treatment and educating pet owners about overcrowded animal shelters.
“We want to teach people that it’s so much easier to have a dog if the dog knows basic obedience commands. A lot of people complain about dogs not being responsive, not wanting to walk on a leash or barking too much. So after awhile they get annoyed and just throw the dog out. We try to teach people that if they learn just a little bit about basic human-dog interaction it’s so much easier to live with your dog and the dog will have a better life,” Meik said.
By offering lectures, seminars and workshops through their foundation, Meik and Birgit hope to help decrease the number of neglected and abandoned pets in their area while educating pet owners, as well as potential pet owners, about building healthy, loving relationships with dogs.
RVing is a great way to see the USA and Canada with your dog. So when Fido starts howling what appears to be a Willie Nelson tune, gas up the rig and get ready to hit the road. If you want to find out more about this growing travel trend, visit some of the Web sites listed in the resource area below.
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