Robin Jackson left her insurance job to work with dogs a decade ago. Now, a former school bus has gone to the dogs in her newest business venture.
Jackson, 48, the co-owner of Sheba’s Doggy Day Camp on Turkey Creek Road near York, converted the former school bus with custom accommodations to transport pooches to her day camp.
“I always loved dogs, I always loved animals,” said Jackson.
She moved to the Carolinas from Boston with an insurance company job. When the company wanted to move her to Syracuse, N.Y., Jackson opted for severance and used the money to open her dog day camp.
The business opened in Charlotte originally and moved to York in 2004. The camp, on 10 acres at 70 Turkey Creek Road, serves between 20 and 30 dogs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week. It is closed on Tuesdays and on weekends.
Jackson said her day camp business is unique in that most of the dogs are picked up and dropped off by the day camp, which operates two vans for pickup and delivery.
Jackson said she entertains the dogs during their stay.
“We have pool and water fun, Frisbee fun,” said Jackson, who keeps the dogs in groups of up to 10, separated based on their style of play, temperament, age and size.
“We have a lot of fun,” she said. “We do different things every day.”
Jackson said she and co-owner Janet Pirie also operate a grooming service under the same name at 1647 Parham Road. Pirie is the groomer, and the dog camp has two part-time employees.
The grooming service also offers pickup and drop-off, she said.
Jackson said she has been dreaming of a bus for the business to allow it to transport more dogs.
The bus has been outfitted with shelves, which hold the crates. The bus can transport 30 to 50 dogs, she said, depending on the size of the animals.
The bus, formerly used to transport disabled students for a private school, has been painted outside with whimsical artwork of dogs frolicking among flowers and playing the grass.
Jackson said she plans to use the bus to make neighborhood stops every Tuesday, to promote the business. The bus will make stops in York, Lake Wylie, Tega Cay, Fort Mill and south Charlotte, she said.
“We will have an actual bus stop in the neighborhood, and go to a different neighborhood each week,” she said.
Jackson said she has some special events in mind for the bus, too. She said the bus will be at area events – especially those catering to dog owners – offering all-natural dog products and organic treats.
Jackson said her fees are $30 for a day of doggie day camp, including pickup and drop-off. She said plans are to add additional days and subdivision stops for the bus.