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Camp Aldersgate to host retreat for dog lovers and their pooches

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GREIG — Pack up the squeak toys and doggy dishes, leashes and snacks. Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center will offer its inaugural AdironDog Retreat on a fall weekend.

“It’s a weekend retreat for adults or families with dogs who appreciate the relationship they have with their dog,” said Lucas Wachob, center co-director with his wife, Rebekah.

Held over three days and two nights at the center, 7955 Brantingham Road, the retreat’s activities will include swimming, grooming, homemade dog biscuits and dog-edible s’mores made around a campfire. And since this is a Christian camp, any pet is invited for a blessing.

The Wachobs were inspired in part by their dog, Chip, a 1-year-old boxer-lab mix. “He’s very excited for the event,” Mrs. Wachob joked. “He’s the one who told us to do it. We got the idea from a camp in the Berkshires — Camp Unleashed.”

The center is used in the summer as a Christian camp for children ages 6 to 18. In the off season, the facility offers retreats for children, adults, businesses and groups.

Families and adults can bring their furry friends from Sept. 5 to 7. The cost to attend varies based on lodging options. But all fees include lodging, meals and activities, except for grooming.

To stay in a shared cabin is $185 per adult, $85 per child age 4 to 12 and free to children under 4. Private cabin lodging is $200 per adult, $100 per child 4 to 12, and free for children under 4. Families are encouraged to consider a dog’s sociability before selecting lodging.

“It’s a great experience to celebrate the full expression of your pet’s personality, and the sacred nature of a human’s bond with a dog,” Mrs. Wachob said.

Guests will receive a “doggy bag” with treats, as well as waste bags for cleanup. There are disposal baskets on site.

A dog’s sociability will be identified by a ribbon color. Sociable dogs will receive a yellow ribbon while shy dogs will receive a red ribbon.

The 80-acre facility can accommodate about 300 people and 150 dogs. There are several walking trails as well as access to three lakes from the grounds. All dogs must be up to date on their rabies and kennel cough vaccines. Proof will be required following registration.

Should the retreat be successful, the Wachobs said they will consider offering the retreat yearly. Retreats for other pets may be in the cards later. But right now the focus is on developing the dog retreat.

“We’re very excited and looking forward to seeing how it goes,” Mrs. Wachob said. “We want everybody to have a good time.”

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