By Alicia Dziak

It’s the tail end of summer vacation, which usually means heading out on a much-needed vacation before school is back in session. While the family hops on a plane and soaks up the sun, what do you do with your furry companion?

If you’re like many people and don’t have a friend or family member who can stop over to your house and take care of your pets, a kennel is the next best thing. With so many options around, how do you choose the right one?

Judy Emerling of Springville noted that she took several factors into consideration when she recently boarded her 1 1/2 year old border collie, Riley.

First, “we wanted to make sure he’d have plenty of time to play outside versus being crated,” she said. Other factors were “personality of the staff and being well versed on different breeds and their characteristics.”

Emerling was able to take a tour of the facility before she took Riley there. “The setting was important to us,” she explained. “We live in the country, so we wanted a place where Riley could run around off leash.” Location was also key. “We didn’t want to drive an hour to get some place,” she said.

Emerling, who ended up choosing a kennel in nearby East Concord, was impressed with how the kennel went the extra mile with certain aspects of Riley’s care, such as texting her updates and photos of Riley playing and interacting with the other dogs.

Rachel Robinson, a vet technician from Springville, noted that other important questions to ask are: How are the kennels cleaned and how often? Do pets get one-on-one time or is it feed them, let them out and go? Can they give meds, injections or insulin if needed? “It would be nice to know that the owner of the kennel will be there full time,” she added.

When families head to places where the pup can’t join them, it’s important to feel comfortable with your dog’s temporary home. Choosing a kennel is an important decision, because let’s face it—dogs are part of the family! Do your homework, talk to friends and find the best option to fit your dog’s needs.

The following is a partial listing of area dog kennels:

East Concord Canine Retreat, (716) 592-0120;  Meisters’ Windy Knoll Kennel in Collins, (716) 532-4194; East Otto Country Kennels, (716) 592-4011; Dan’s Kennels in North Collins, (716) 337-4024; Pinekroff Kennels, Inc. in Allegany, (716) 372-0961; Woodcrest Pet Resort in Little Valley, (716) 945-2700; Howl-iday River Inn in Olean, (716) 372-1506; Waggy Tails Resort & Spa in Hinsdale, (716) 557-2400; Pet Care Plus in Olean, (716) 373-3077.

You can always ask for references from each kennel and check out reviews and information on Google.

With a little research, you’re sure to find the kennel that’s doggone awesome for your canine!