Passage East ends year with high 'barks'

Passage East Kennel has had the best year of its tenure in Wilton, said manager Fawn Holden, thanks in part to a revamp in the mission of the business.

Rather than just offering regular kennel services, Passage East has begun offering both expanded grooming and day care services for all clients.

“Business has been very good,” the manager said on Friday. “We’ve been full for all of our peak season dates. Grooming has expanded, day care has expanded. Over the course of the year, we’ve gotten a lot of regular clients who come for day care.”

While the business has expanded its options, Ms. Holden said, it has also improved greatly upon the style of care its canine clients receive.

“We focus on socializing the dogs in actual playgroups,” she said. “They don’t just get walked on a leash; they get to exercise and run.”

Many of these positive changes, she said, are due in part to a turnover in company management. There are “lots of changes,” she said, “and all seem to be for the better.”

Doggie day care

One of the most popular new programs at the kennel has been doggie day care, Ms. Holden said, because two-income households often need help exercising and stimulating their dogs.

“A lot of times, day care is beneficial for people who have everyone in the family working full-time,” she said. “They don’t have time to properly exercise the dog. Our program is better than staying in a room or a crate all day, because at the end of the day, they have a nice tired dog. It’s really healthy for them to be outside and to be social dogs.”

Additionally, day care is a good way to transition a dog into being boarded at the kennel for an extended period of time.

“For people who are hesitant to board, we do day care as a trial. Once they see how happy the dog is socializing and playing, they are more than happy to have them boarded there,” Ms. Holden said.

The manager has been with Passage East seven years, she said, and started as a groomer before eventually becoming head of the business.

“I started working here as the groomer and nothing else. I was working with the former manager and seeing what was done, and there were a lot of things I think could have been done,” she said. When Ms. Holden became manager, she put those thoughts into action.

“We expanded hours, added doggie day care, and upped the quality of care for the dogs. The amount of exercise and socialization we have you won’t find at another kennel. I want this to be the best place to leave your dog, and I really feel it is.”

Most importantly, the manager especially wanted to improve the dedication of the staff at the kennel.

“I wanted to staff the business with people who had a lot of experience with dogs, and we have that now,” she said. “In fact, myself and the kennel manager live here on site. We’re personally invested. Myself and the staff know the name of every single dog here if we have 12 or 90 dogs here.”

Passage East is at 499 Danbury Road. For more information, visit