Four Paws Kingdom: A Campground for the Dogs

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Four Paws Kingdom Dog Campground

Rutherford County Farm Bureau Members Meik and Birgit Bartoschek often traveled up and down the East Coast to weekend art shows. Their mode of transportation was an RV so they could also bring their dog, Schroeder, a loveable tan-and-white corgi.

The more the Bartoscheks traveled, the more they found campgrounds that welcomed only them, but not their faithful canine companion. The campgrounds they ran across that didn’t forbid dogs altogether left only a small space for a minimal amount of exercise and bodily functions. They wanted to offer a place where dog owners like them could enjoy the North Carolina mountains and let their canines have as much pleasure.

That’s what led to Four Paws Kingdom, a 34-acre spread that uses every square foot for the benefit of guests who walk on either two or four legs. The campground offers nine different completely fenced dog parks that provide owners the chance to let their dogs off a leash to play with others similar in size.

A dog play pond, a tree-lined creek, hiking trails and an agility course for competitive dogs also are incorporated into the facility, which the Bartoscheks opened in 2003 after nearly abandoning the idea.

“It was meant to be because many, many things that we couldn’t foresee at the time or were not aware of fell into place for us. It wasn’t done overnight,” Meik Bartoschek says. “Like some of our campers say, it’s kind of like Disneyland for dogs. We have a little bit of everything, and you can just come and enjoy.”

The Bartoscheks worked for five-star resorts in Florida and elsewhere for more than 20 years, so they attempted to bring luxury elements for dog owners to Four Paws Kingdom, too. Cabins with porches and a fully equipped bathhouse are among popular campground amenities.

Visitors from each of the lower 48 states have come to stay for a week or more. Some have even spent the entire summer at a campground that’s an easy drive to some of Western North Carolina’s most popular tourist attractions.

“Our guests come from every walk of life. We have people who just love their dogs and just want to be with the dogs any which way they can,” Meik Bartoschek says. “We also have a group who does dog sports and are serious about it. They come to us because they can combine the vacation, relaxing idea plus an hour or two of training, which you won’t find anywhere else.”

The Bartoscheks have made additions and modifications to Four Paws Kingdom each year they’ve operated. One of the most substantial was making the campground for adults 18 and older only. The combination of children and up to 75 dogs on the property at the same time made it challenging to oversee. However, that’s been one of the few problems the Bartoscheks have  encountered since the opening of Four Paws Kingdom made their dreams a reality.

“If it weren’t for Schroeder, we wouldn’t be here. Schroeder was our inspiration,” Meik Bartoschek says. “Even after seven years—and I say this with pride—there’s no other place like us in the United States that’s a dog-dedicated campground.”

Know Before You Go

Four Paws Kingdom in Rutherfordton, N.C., operates from April until late November. For more information, visit www.4pawskingdom.com or call (828) 287-7324.

4 Comments

  1. Patti M from MA

    June 4, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Great article! We’ve been going to Four Paws Kingdom Camp ground since the first year it opened! Our 2 corgis LOVE it there. As far as improvements go, Meik & Birgit have done a supurb job adding more fenced in areas to play, adding on to the pavillion, adding Direct TV hookups….the list goes on and on…too numerous to list everything. In the seven years we’ve been to Four Paws, we’ve met so many wonderful people! It’s great because we ALL have at least one thing in common….the love for our 4 legged fur-kids!
    Thanks Meik & Birgit for a Five Star Camp Ground!

  2. Andrea Slaugh

    June 5, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    My husband and I, along with our three dogs, lived on the road in an RV for 5 years. We rate Four Paws Kingdom as one of the finest campgrounds anywhere. The owners are delightful people who keep the grounds and bathhouse immaculately clean. Our dogs get a chance to romp off-leash in a safe environment, swim in a pond or a creek, hike wooded trails, run an agility course, and the list goes on. And what’s even more surprising, at the end of the day this is one of the quietest campgrounds you’ll ever find!

  3. Omer Causey

    June 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    My wife and I ended up relocating ffrom Florida to Rutherford County after staying at Four Paws with our Cocker Spaniel a couple of times. You could not ask for a better facility for dog owners or for nicer hosts. The campground, laundry, showers and bathrooms were spotless. On one visit, we had a minor plumbing emerency and Meik’s response was immediate.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, Four Paws gets at least an eleven!

  4. SouthernSongsTerriers

    August 4, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    A great campground that keeps getting better and better! We’ve been visiting the Kingdom at least one a year for the last three years. The event weekends are excellent. Meik and Birgit put on a great show and serve delicious food. My furkids have enjoyed staying in the cabins and bringing the RV is a breeze, since they escort you to your site. I’ve met a lot of friendly folks over the years. The furkids love swimming in the pond, wading in Linus Creek and playing in the dog parks. I enjoy the peace and quiet.

    Keep up the good work and we’ll see you again very soon!

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