Camp Wignall daycare and boarding services and Wignall Day Spa feature our outstanding camp and grooming staff, modern facilities and on-site veterinary care from our hospital’s medical team. We have the largest indoor and outdoor dog-play areas in Merrimack Valley! All of our services are integrated and coordinated between our staff to provide seamless care for your pets every day.
Camp and grooming staff work together closely to coordinate all the services your pet needs during a stay, whether it’s just for the day or for an extended vacation. Our goal is to provide the very best for each individual pet and help him or her feel like this is home away from home. Being away from you is stressful, so we take extra steps to reduce your pet’s stress and provide an atmosphere your pet will love! When you meet our staff, you will see that they truly love every pet, treating them all as if they were their own pets.
Camp Wignall Staff:
We are fastidious about our staff. We only hire staff who are intelligent, knowledgeable, caring and skilled and who love animals. We provide extensive training to new employees, and continuing education and training are ongoing for all staff in order to ensure that we deliver the very best care possible to all our campers and patients. Keeping our staff current on the latest thinking in animal care, behavior and handling is one of our fundamental values, therefore ongoing continuing education is an integral part of working at Camp Wignall.
Our kennel technicians, daycare group leaders, and kennel/grooming supervisor, Courtney Wilson, are our Camp Wignall camp counselors! Our weekday staff are full-time camp counselors, and they work with our daycare dogs and all our dog and cat boarders. Our part-time staff are counselors who care for our dog and cat boarders. Caring for pets who are away from home, whether for a day, a week or a month, takes great patience; intuition; a working knowledge of animal behavior, animal care and basic animal training; significant physical strength and fitness and, of course, a genuine love of animals. Every staff member is required to complete the same training. Our daycare group leaders have additional training and experience in managing canine groups. Training includes extensive classroom time and hands-on training in animal care, basic emergency care and first aid, kennel sanitation, contagious diseases, zoonotic diseases, animal behavior, managing canine groups, customer service and safe, kind animal handling. In addition to their initial training, they are required to complete five to 10 hours of continuing education every year to stay informed on the latest developments in our field. It’s a dog’s or cat’s life at Camp Wignall and we like it that way!
Wignall Day Spa Staff:
Our groomers have been professionally trained in the art and technique of grooming cats and dogs. Their training includes professional grooming school; continuing education through their regional professional organization, the New England Pet Grooming Professionals; college courses and hands-on training. In addition, they must complete extensive core classroom training in basic sanitation and contagious diseases, zoonotic diseases, safe, kind animal handling, customer service and animal behavior. They are also required to complete 10 hours of continuing education at the hospital every year. As with daycare and boarding, grooming takes great patience and a genuine caring for animal kind, but it also takes a serious attention to detail; artistic ability; an innate sense of style; good depth perception; the dexterity to handle scissors, blades and other grooming tools; the creativity needed to visualize how a specific pet can or should look, depending on its breed, and the excellent technical skills to bring that vision to life. Every pet’s a star at Wignall Day Spa!
Boarding & Daycare Fees:
Our boarding and daycare fees are all inclusive: we do not charge extra for outdoor play, individualized attention, one-on-one time with staff, treats, bedding, a high-quality Hill’s® diet or water play during a day camp or overnight camp stay. Additional fees apply to medical and grooming services during a boarding, daycare or grooming stay. Our dog campers play outside every day, and we have the largest indoor and outdoor dog-play areas in Merrimack Valley! These are only some of the things that set us apart from our competition! Camp Wignall can accommodate most companion pets, including dogs, cats, exotic mammals, reptiles, and birds! Exotics, reptiles, and birds all board in our medical facility in environments suitable to their species and under the care of our medical team to ensure continuous monitoring.
Home Away From Home:
We provide hours of physical exercise and human contact every day during your pet’s stay. Because our dog campers play outdoors with our staff every day and our cat campers can stretch, play and explore indoors, we enable our campers to feel like they are right at home. We strive to provide all the creature comforts (and then some!) that you would want for your pets at home.
- Clean, fresh bedding changed daily
- Clean, fresh water as needed
- Hill’s Sensitive Stomach food daily, fed to your specifications
- Socialization (dogs: with other compatible dogs; cats: with family-member cats)
- Solo playtimes (for dogs not compatible with other dogs)
- Individual kennel runs for dogs and cat condos/suites for cats
- Fully air-conditioned and heated kennel runs and cat condos/suites
- Healthy treats! Staff supervision
- Hugs, kisses, pets, music, smiles, encouragement, cuddling, patience, understanding and more
- Basic behavior training incorporated into every day
- Special integration for new campers
- Staff trained in medical observation, basic first aid and basic emergency care
- Staff trained in basic animal care, animal behavior and behavior management
- Medication administration by our medical staff
- Emergency medical care by medical staff Medical boarding for sick and/or chronically ill pets
- On-site grooming available during any stay
- Personal attention from our staff for every pet, every day
- Toys, outdoor wading pools and outdoor play structures for dogs; outdoor views, indoor climbing structures and window seats for cats
- Beautiful, fully turfed, fenced and double-gated outdoor dog-play yard, open 365 days per year
Full medical services are available to every pet during his or her stay, should that need arise. These range from routine physical examinations and vaccinations to laboratory tests, X-rays, medication administration and even surgery. We also offer medical boarding. Unlike typical boarding facilities, if your pet gets sick just as you are supposed to leave on that well-planned vacation or if your pet has a chronic illness, we can accommodate his or her special needs while you are away.
Medical boarding allows you to rest assured that your sick pet will receive the very best care during any stay with us. By contacting us in advance to discuss your pet’s needs for medical boarding, we can create an individualized plan for your pet’s stay. Your pet will be supervised by our medical staff, enabling you to vacation worry-free. For more information about medical boarding, please call us at (978) 454-8272 to discuss your pet’s needs.
Because Wignall Animal Hospital is a state-of-the-art, air-conditioned and heated facility, your pets will be comfortable year-round at Camp Wignall. Outdoor camp activities for dog campers take place in our secure, turfed, fully fenced and gated outdoor play area, which is always fully staffed. Rather than quick walks on a leash, our boarding and daycare dogs experience the freedom of the outdoors for play, socialization, voiding, summer splashes in our wading pools and, of course, T.L.C. from our staff, all at no additional cost. Individual indoor kennel spaces are at least 3’x6’x8’ for boarding dogs and include food, water, bowls, bedding, treats, and toys. Cat campers get to enjoy the peace and quiet of our cat camper condo suites, which all come with great outdoor views and include food, water, bowls, litter, bedding, treats, and toys. Cat campers can relax in their condos, perch on window seats, climb for some exercise and enjoy tasty meals, all in their own little kitty camps!
Wignall Day Spa
Wignall Animal Hospital Grooming or Wignall Day Spa is also fully staffed, air-conditioned and heated year round right at the hospital facility. The spacious main waiting room at the hospital, generous off-street parking and easy drop-off and pick up make having a sweet smelling pooch or kitty a breeze. Pets at the hospital for medical appointments, boarding or daycare can easily be groomed on the same day as their other appointments. Just let us know that is your preference when you schedule any type of appointment.
Grooming: Who Needs It?
If you think only foo-foo dogs or Westminster Kennel Club competitors need grooming, your pooch or kitty is missing out! Our groomers individually assess each pet for his or her grooming needs, which can range from brush-outs to baths to intricate haircuts. Groomers can recommend how often specific breeds should be groomed for the best maintenance of the coat and cut. Pet owners may think that letting the hair grow long and getting fewer haircuts will save them money. However, for certain breeds, if the coat is not maintained with regularly scheduled haircuts, it can get matted and tangled and it can cause vision and stability problems. Matted hair is painful, and the longer the hair gets, the heavier the matted hair becomes, and the more it pulls on your pet’s scalp.
Paw hair and nails allowed to grow too long can actually impede a pet’s ability to walk. In extreme cases, the pet will only walk when it’s absolutely necessary. Our staff can help you plan your pet’s grooming appointments so that they are economical and good for your pet. Even short-haired dogs and cats need regular grooming—either by you at home or by a professional groomer. Many pet owners do not realize how much routine grooming can help reduce shedding, encourage healthy hair and skin and promote proper hair growth. Ask our staff, and they can explain what you can do at home between Wignall Day Spa appointments in order to maximize your pet’s appearance, coat and skin health.
In addition, our professional groomers are trained to look for symptoms and signs of illness and physical distress on your pet. Because they are handling and looking at every exterior part of your pet’s body during grooming, they often detect things that you would not normally notice, such as hidden ear infections, skin irritations and infections buried beneath your pet’s coat or ticks, insect bites, cysts or other masses on the belly or under skin folds. Our staff is trained to detect these things and, if they notice anything, to have a veterinary technician provide a free preliminary examination to determine whether there is a need for a doctor examination. Should one of our doctors think that there is a medical issue that should be examined, we will be happy to provide a doctor examination at your request.
There is no extra charge for a high-quality shampoo and conditioner products; we use them for all pets at Wignall Day Spa. 99% of our campers are groomed at the end of a boarding stay! Just like your other kids, our pet campers take camp play very seriously, therefore baths, trims, nail trims and ear cleanings are musts before going home! Our camp and grooming staff coordinate your pet’s grooming needs to enable him or her to go home fresh, clean and sweet-smelling at pick-up.
Required Vaccinations/Tests Before Boarding or Grooming:
- Rabies (one or three year)
- Distemper* (one year)
- Negative fecal test (within last 12 months)
- Rabies (one or three year)
- Distemper* (one year)
- Leptospirosis (one year)
- Bordatella (one year)
- Negative fecal test (within last 12 months)
- Rabies (one year)
- Distemper (one year)
- Negative fecal test (within last 12 months)
* NOTE: some three-year distemper vaccines are accepted. Call (978) 454-8272 for more information.
Camp Wignall is OPEN:
Sunday: 9:00AM – 3:00PM
Monday: 8:00AM – 8:00PM
Tuesday: 8:00AM – 6:00PM
Wednesday: 8:00AM – 8:00PM
Thursday: 8:00AM – 6:00PM
Friday: 8:00AM – 8:00PM
Saturday: 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Wignall Day Spa is OPEN:
Sunday: 9:00AM – 3:00PM
Monday: 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Tuesday: 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Wednesday: 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Saturday: 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Quick links to make your life easier.
Camp Wignall FAQs:
What does the boarding/daycare fee include?
Camp Wignall fees include food, bedding, bowls, toys, treats and outdoor and indoor playtimes. There is no additional fee for playtimes or playgroups, which total approximately four hours per day, or for ongoing training, which is incorporated into all of our play activities.
Playgroups are orchestrated based on each pet’s level of comfort with other pets, socialization skills, temperament, the pet’s age and size as well as owner and staff recommendations. Playgroups provide the optimal opportunity for play, staff interaction, the company of other pets and stress relief.
If your pet is on medication, there is a medication administration fee of $9.00 per day, per pet.
What is the medication administration fee?
We take administering your pet’s medications seriously, so our medical staff supervises medication administration.
Our medical staff oversees all medication dispensing and monitors side effects during your pet’s stay. In the event that your pet experiences any complications from his or her medications, our veterinarians will assess your pet and contact you to determine an appropriate medical action plan.
How do I enroll my pet in boarding or daycare?
Boarding: You can register your pet for boarding in three ways:
#1: By phone. Call (978) 454-8272, and we will mail you a registration form to complete, sign, date and return to us either in person, via mail or via fax at (978) 458-4646. A reservation is confirmed once we receive the form completed by you.
#2: On our website. You can print a boarding registration form on our website. Then complete, sign, date and return the form to us either in person, via mail or via fax at (978) 458-4646. Once we receive your form, we will verify that we have availability for the dates you requested. If we are unable to accommodate your request, we will call you to discuss it, and we can place your name on a boarding waiting list for your desired dates.
#3: In person. You can make a boarding reservation and submit a boarding reservation form in person at the hospital. We will be able to confirm availability at that time.
Daycare: You can register your pet in three ways: by phone, on our website or in person, all as noted above for boarding.
Daycare registration requires that two forms are completed, dated, signed and submitted to Wignall
Animal Hospital: a daycare enrollment form and daycare participation agreement. The submitted forms will be reviewed by our kennel supervisor, who will contact you to discuss daycare for your pet before you bring your pet the first time.
Can my pet board or come to daycare if he or she is sick?
Because we must protect our campers, you should make alternate arrangements for a sick pet. Just like with children at school, contagious illnesses can spread easily to other pets. It is for this reason that up-to-date vaccinations and fecal testing are required for our campers.
*If your pet is identified as sick within the first 24 hours of a boarding or daycare stay, we consider your pet to have arrived sick and may need to place your pet in medical isolation. A medical examination will be done to diagnose your pet’s illness. A veterinarian will contact you to discuss an appropriate medical plan. If medical boarding is required, there is an additional fee of per day, per pet. Medical boarding enables us to protect the health of our other boarders and daycare pets, and it allows us to treat your pet in a medical environment where he or she can be monitored closely while you are away.
If my pet has never stayed for boarding or daycare, do you help him or her adjust?
Our campers are spoiled with attention and lots of tender, loving care! Our staff pay extra close attention to new campers, helping them feel at ease, safe, comfortable and happy to be here. It is normal for your pet to need some time adjusting to your absence and the lack of familiar home routines, smells, faces and sounds. While there is no replacement for you, thanks to our staff, our campers learn to love camp as their second home.
What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is an old-fashioned term for a cough. A cough is not an illness but is a symptom of some kind of upper-respiratory infection. Previously, a cough in a dog was only associated with groups of dogs in contact with each other, such as in a boarding kennel, because most dogs stayed at home their entire lives and very few people boarded their dogs.
Times have changed! Today, many humans often take their dogs everywhere, including to dog parks, back and forth to the vet, for rides in the car, for visits with friends, etc. Dogs are no longer homebodies! And, viruses and bacteria that can cause a cough are easily transmitted by people on shoes and clothing, as well as by dogs themselves via their saliva and breath.
A canine cough can be a symptom of a simple cold, allergies, a foreign body lodged in the throat, canine influenza (dog flu), pneumonia or bronchitis. The infection can be a simple cold that lasts one or two days or it could take two weeks to resolve completely.
My dog seemed fine, but then suddenly he or she started coughing. What’s up with that?
Typically, a cough is evident several days after the pet has been exposed to the source of the irritant, therefore your dog could arrive at Camp Wignall appearing completely normal and without a cough even though he or she has already been exposed to the irritant. If your dog begins coughing while boarding, he or she most likely unknowingly carried the infection into camp. If your dog begins coughing while boarding, we will immediately isolate him or her in our medical facility and will care for him or her there until departure or until he or she is symptom-free. Medical fees apply.
How can Wignall Animal Hospital prevent the spread of coughing?
We do everything humanly possible to maintain a clean, safe facility. Our kennel staff members have strict requirements for disinfection of kennel runs and cages; use anti-bacterial sanitizer; wear gloves when appropriate; conduct quick medical screenings of every boarding pet upon arrival; monitor all boarding pets for obvious symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, runny eyes, lack of appetite and lethargy; sanitize food and water bowls daily; sanitize cleaning equipment daily; sanitize our outdoor turf daily and clean up any pet waste promptly and properly dispose of it. They report all significant symptoms to our medical staff immediately for evaluation on a case-by-case basis. We also require that all boarding dogs have the Bordatella vaccine, the only vaccination available for any of the known bacterial sources that cause a cough.
If my dog is vaccinated with the Bordatella vaccination, how can my dog catch an illness from another dog’s cough?
The Bordatella vaccination does not provide 100% protection! Similar to human flu shots, the vaccination may protect a dog completely or reduce the severity of the illness, but it cannot guarantee that a dog will never get a cough.
How can I know if my dog has been exposed to a virus or bacteria that will cause one of these illnesses?
You would only know if you saw your dog with another dog who had these symptoms! We often see coughing cases in dogs that have been at home and have not had contact with other dogs, or they have been with other dogs but none of them had any symptoms seen by their owners. Similar to children in school, this is why it is so challenging to prevent the spread. You often do not know a dog is contagious until he or she is coughing or has a runny nose or eyes.
Can I have my pet’s annual physical examination, vaccinations, fecal test and other routine tests done during boarding?
Yes! Simply tell us you would like them done during a boarding stay.
Can I have a medical recheck done during a boarding stay?
Yes! If your pet is not contagious, he or she can board in the kennel, and we will perform the medical recheck examination during the boarding stay.
Can I have a sick appointment for my pet while he or she is boarding?
If you arrive to board a sick pet, your pet would be hospitalized and boarded in our medical facility. Medical boarding fees plus any applicable treatment fees will be due when you pick up your pet. Please notify us in advance, and we will discuss costs and services with you.
What if my pet only needs an updated fecal test in order to board and I don’t realize it until I arrive for drop-off?
In this case, we will perform the fecal test in the hospital at drop-off. If the test is negative, nothing further is needed. If the test is positive, your pet cannot be in the kennel unless he or she is treated, therefore we will immediately begin treatment. You will be responsible for the cost of the fecal test and the medication or other treatment that enables your pet to board in the kennel.
Can I have my pet groomed during a boarding stay?
Yes! Simply choose “grooming” on the boarding registration form and we will arrange an appointment with one of our groomers during your pet’s stay. The grooming fee is due at boarding check-out.
I am very particular about how I want my cat/dog groomed. How will the groomer know what my preferences are?
We highly recommend you speak with one of our groomers before your pet’s boarding stay. You will also indicate any specific instructions on your boarding registration form. Feel free to call our grooming facility, Wignall Day Spa, at 978-454-4216/4217 to discuss your instructions. One of our groomers would be happy to hear from you.
What will my pets be fed during boarding? My pets are very finicky eaters.
We provide Hill’s®diets to all our boarding pets. These are the same foods we recommend to our clients, and they are also used by our staff for their own pets. Normally, we feed our boarding dogs and cats Hill’s Sensitive Stomach, which is a light, easily digestible food that we find most of our boarders enjoy and adjust to easily. If you prefer to bring your own food from home, you are welcome to do so. There is no extra charge for this.
For exotic pets such as snakes, turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, hedgehogs, birds, rats and mice, please bring their species-specific food to boarding along with their “habitat” from home.
I know dogs can get rough during play. Can my dog get hurt?
We take every recommended precaution to keep all our boarding pets safe while they have a great time with us! Dogs will be dogs, as the saying goes, however, all playgroups are supervised by our staff who have been trained in managing dog behavior. It is very unlikely that your dog will get hurt, as we intervene when play is heading towards becoming rough or inappropriate. Just as with a group of children, there are occasional cuts and scrapes that are unavoidable—dogs do use their teeth to play after all! As we ease new boarders into playgroups, trying to match them to other dogs in size, activity level and temperament, we carefully monitor their abilities to socialize with their new friends and will change the play plan whenever it is necessary.
The soft, dog-friendly outdoor turf eliminates the chance of wounds and injuries caused by hard-surface play areas, and our entire outdoor play space is fenced. It is also double-gated for entry and exit, providing additional safety against escape.
What standard does Camp Wignall use for how boarding and daycare are run?
Wignall Animal Hospital is a member of the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA), formerly the American Boarding and Kennel Association (ABKA), and we follow their guidelines for professional pet boarding and daycare facilities. We have recently applied for PCSA Gold Accreditation as a boarding and daycare facility/program. Accredited facilities/programs must meet rigorous standards in 15 different categories, including pet safety, facility operations and cleanliness, staffing, staff training and pet evaluations for group play.
What training or credentials do members of Camp Wignall kennel staff have?
Each member of our kennel staff undergoes extensive training under the mentoring of a senior staff person. The training covers all aspects of kennel operations, pet care, pet safety, sanitation, pet first aid and medical issues as well as cleanliness, behavior management, and customer service. Staff training is an ongoing process that includes monthly in-house training sessions for all kennel staff.
Our senior kennel staff members have years of experience handling, treating, training and managing pets in group settings.
Ashley Chmiel, Camp Wignall, and Wignall Day Spa Supervisor, is a long-term employee of the hospital, having begun her early dog handling experience as a self-employed dog walker who began her professional animal handling experience while working at Camp Wignall part-time while in high school. She has strong veterinary interests, specifically in animal behavior, dog training and community service for stray dogs and cats. As the Camp and Spa supervisor, Ashley oversees boarding, daycare, grooming and dog training at the hospital and you will see her playing an active part in those areas on any given day of the week. In between ensuring administrative tasks, she can be found supervising dogs in daycare and boarding playgroups or assisting clients. She is the proud mom of Chira, a Golden Retriever Mix who was a rescued dog.
Ashley Chmiel is a graduate of Dracut High School. She started her tenure at Camp Wignall during high school, when she worked part-time while attending school. Her strong veterinary interests, specifically in animal behavior and training, make her a great camp counselor at Camp Wignall. She has worked at Camp Wignall since 2010, is a full-time camp counselor and supervises playgroups in daycare and boarding. Ashley is the proud mom of Shira, a golden retriever mix who was a rescued dog.
Wignall Day Spa FAQs
Why does my pet need an up-to-date parasite test in order to be groomed?
Intestinal parasites are transmitted from pet to pet and some are transmitted from pets to humans. For the health of your own pet, as well as the other pets being groomed and our staff, we need to be as certain as possible that the pets being groomed are parasite-free.
How are parasites transmitted?
Intestinal parasites are transmitted via a pet’s feces, urine-infected food or infected water. Simply put, microscopic eggs, larvae and live parasites are shed in the feces and urine and then enter the human or pet body through the skin, eyes or mouth. Because pets are frequently licking and sniffing, it is very easy for them to contract parasites. Intestinal parasites can survive outside the body for a long time and are often found at parks, playgrounds, backyards, puddles and inside homes.
Do intestinal parasites cause illnesses?
YES. Roundworms can cause visceral larva migrans and can cause permanent eye damage or blindness in humans. Hookworms can cause cutaneous larva migrans, resulting in damage to the intestines and other organs. Whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms can cause severe intestinal upset, diarrhea, intestinal hemorrhage and anemia in pets.
Why don’t all grooming providers require these standards?
The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) recommends these protocols as the standard of care for pets in a group setting. Although pets in grooming are separated from each other, they are still in the same room. Airborne infectants can travel from pet to pet, and intestinal parasites can live on many different surfaces, indoors and outdoors.
How can I best protect my pets when they are going to be groomed?
Consult with your veterinarian regarding year-round intestinal parasite protection, and make sure your pets are up-to-date with their required vaccinations (see below) and parasite testing. Because we require that pets getting groomed are up-to-date on vaccines, your pet will be in the company of pets who are also up-to-date on their vaccines.
Why does my pet need up-to-date vaccinations in order to be groomed?
Vaccinations protect your pets from the most commonly transmitted—and preventable—pet illnesses, just as with humans.
- RABIES: Vaccination required by Massachusetts State Law. Rabies is transmitted by an infected animal to another animal and to humans. There is no treatment for rabies, and it is fatal.
- DISTEMPER/HEPATITIS/PARVO/PARAINFLUENZA (DHPP): These are transmitted by bodily fluids or through the air (like from a cough). These can cause liver damage and damage to the neurological, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems, and they can be fatal.
- LEPTOSPIROSIS (L): It is transmitted from an infected animal’s urine to pets and humans. It causes damage to the liver and kidneys and can be fatal.
- Bordatella: It is transmitted via airborne bacteria (like from a cough) and causes respiratory illness.