This Month’s Featured Article


By Published On: March 4th, 2024

While we at Main Street Magazine haven’t exactly been hounded by folks seeking stories on how to go about boarding their pets for the first time, we do know there are many animal lovers living in the Harlem Valley, Northwest Corner, and Berkshire Foothills with active lifestyles who will, at some point, very likely need to do so. While we seldom encourage one to put the cart before the horse, so to speak, we do agree that Alexander Graham Bell was correct when he said in the 19th century that “preparation is the key to success.”

With many local pet owners living vibrant lives that we well imagine include jetting off on both quick weekends away and extended vacations abroad, logic dictates that those zoophiles might well appreciate some tips on how to make the perfect accommodations for their furry friends. 

Those puppy dog eyes

That’s where I come in – a doting dog mom who gets separation anxiety when running errands for a few hours. It may sound silly, but when I try to leave the house, simply locking the door can be challenging. All I see as I put key to lock are two brown eyes, sweet as liquid honey, staring back at me; above them are two soft-as-butter caramel-colored ears cocked back as if waiting to hear me say, “Come on, Bailey, you can come, too.” But when I say “goodbye,” Bailey’s ears inevitably pitch forward as she realizes I’ll be going solo when I venture out into the world. That ultimate moment comes with the swoosh of a tail, fierce and swift, as my beloved pup pivots and exits the foyer, leaving little behind besides a trail of dejected puppy prints and windswept waves of fur floating in the air – all before I can even manage to pull the door shut.

So, perhaps this explains why, when my beau and I began planning a two-week European vacation, the thought of what we would do with our little girl was a very real concern. Our first choice was to have a family member watch Bailey, as that way she would be with a familiar face in a familiar territory. But we needed a backup plan, as we were all-too aware that even those with the best of intentions could have emergencies arise. In our case, that’s exactly what happened, as our family member got COVID, and we didn’t want to burden her with watching Bailey while she was recovering and trying to regain her strength. 


Thankfully, we had already started to research how to go about boarding a pet and what would be required to do so. Firstly, kennels and boarding facilities mandate pets be up to date with their vaccines – typically rabies, Bordetella (commonly called kennel cough), and DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus). This will ensure the health of other animals staying at the facility; your veterinarian should be able to forward your pet’s records to any facility where you may be interested in boarding your animal.

I highly recommend you ask your vet about the kennels where you’re considering boarding your pets; word-of-mouth goes far with this type of service. Ask at your veterinarian’s office, for starters. Ask your vet directly, even, because if you can get him or her to tell you where he or she takes their animals, that should instill a lot of confidence in the people who run it and how they operate their facility. 

Take advantage of today’s hi-tech world and read reviews online, but beware that people can hire folks to post nice things – or do it themselves – or folks with a grudge can write something nasty about a place over something inconsequential. So, look at the reviews, but always take them with a grain of salt. Also be cognizant of how many reviews have been posted, for example 23 vs 2,300. 

Chip and Gina

To help you really get a sense of what goes on when Spot has a sleepover, I spoke with a couple of people who know a thing or two about pet sitting. Chip Barrett has owned and operated Ledgewood Kennel in Millerton, NY, with his wife, Kirby, for the past 24 years. They have a full-service kennel on a 75-acre working farm on Smithfield Road that offers everything from horses to dock diving, which is when dogs competitively jump off of a dock into a pool of water.

I also spoke with Gina Hoiser of Gina’s K-9 Bed and Breakfast in Copake, NY, who like Barrett has been boarding dogs for decades. She opened her pup hotel 28 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Housed in a charming white farmhouse lovely enough to be an actual bed and breakfast, Hoiser said it’s a labor of love and there isn’t anything else she could imagine herself doing. In fact, she had been a dental hygienist but slowly moved from doing that full time to part time so she could run the K-9 B&B to leaving dentistry altogether so she could pursue her dream. Nowadays she gets to spend morning till night making sure the dogs are fed, watered, walked, entertained, and loved. She described it as pretty much the best job in the world.

Ledgewood Kennel

As both Barrett and Hoiser agreed, cynophilists need vacations just as much as – if not more – than non-dog-owners, and they’re pleased that after so many years in the business, they’re still able to offer their services. Of course, it’s not always easy. Ledgewood Kennel, for instance, has struggled finding workers ever since the COVID pandemic, said Barrett. Because of that, he has had to raise prices slightly, something he had not done in years.

“We never had problems with help in the kennel until COVID,” he said. “Then it got insanely busy. We were turning people away, not calling people back, we couldn’t keep up; it was really a nightmare. We’re trying to rebuild, charge more and take fewer dogs. We fewer people now and are using a new model.”

Ledgewood Kennel has 20 runs, with an overflow that can take up to 40 dogs. The runs are inside the cages, “and can easily take two medium dogs,” described Barrett, who added that the interior of the run is heated with a sliding door under a roof. 

There’s a third outdoor play area that has gravel and large cages, where the dogs go twice daily. In addition to boarding, owners may opt to have their pets come in for doggy daycare along with grooming and dock diving at the pool. That global competitive sport takes place May through October and has for about 15 years, said Barrett, always drawing a crowd. 

Barrett said his kennel has a loyal clientele with a solid reputation. “We have radiant heat in the winter and central air, too, so the dogs are really well taken care of,” he said. “The other thing, we really never had much of an outbreak of anything, and we keep a very clean facility. The dogs get walks, swims, daycare, grooming; it’s really like going to the spa. When people bring their dogs the second or third time, the dogs run out of their car and can’t wait to get into the kennel; that’s how the owners can tell everything is good.”

Ledgewood Kennel boards cats as well, though less often than it does dogs. When folks bring their feline friends, the cats stay in a separate room with big cages and a big window so the kitties may look out the window. Barrett said, “if they’re not completely unruly, we let them out to roam around and sit on the windowsill — but not in the same area as where the dogs are.”

Gina’s K-9 B&B

Hoiser does not accept cats at her K-9 B&B. She is fond of all furballs, but catering solely to canines makes life a whole lot easier for her. So, too, does excluding certain breeds, which is why she does not accept pit bulls. 

“Don’t get me wrong: I’m not anti-pit bull, but it’s a completely different license and insurance policy, and it’s exceedingly expensive. The number of pit bulls I get really wouldn’t cover the cost. But I am not anti-pit bulls, they’re dogs too and deserve a wonderful life. They just get a bad rep.”

All other pups may check into her doggy bed and breakfast, however, which is on nine acres in the town of Copake. About half an acre is fenced in for the dogs to roam free.

“The Roe Jan stream is on the bottom half of my property, and in the summertime I take some of the dogs down there for walks. If they  want, they can swim there on a 30-foot rope,” said Hoiser, explaining that’s for individual excursions that must be booked separately. “Not everybody wants to go in the water, mostly just labs and goldens.”

The set up at the K-9 B&B sounds idyllic, with the entire four rooms of the first floor dedicated to the dogs. Typically, three to four dogs will be housed in one room per night, depending on the size and temperament of the animals. 

Before setting up a stay at the B&B, Hoiser said she has a process for new dogs – and their owners.

“I invite them over to come into the house, to inspect every room and see exactly where their dog will stay, and I explain how they’ll spend the day. I give references, including the Copake Vet Hospital,” she said. 

She recommends anxious dogs spend a half day with her prior to being boarded, which is a good idea for any animal to get comfortable with new surroundings. Hoiser takes photos of the half day and sends them to the owner so they can get a visual of their dog’s day, and then schedules a full day for the next visit. After that, the dog can do an overnight.

Gina and Chip’s priorities are always the animals and their well-being. With the various services that their respective facilities offer, their prices will vary, but both explained that all of their prices remain very affordable and competitive. 

So when it comes to planning your next getaway, one that your furry family members can’t go on, it’s good to know that you have options for Spot and Trixie. They, too, can have a little R&R at some of our region’s top doggy / kitty resorts like Ledgewood Kennel and Gina’s K-9 B&B. •

To contact Ledgewood Kennels, call (518) 789-6353 or email To contact Gina’s K9 Doggy Bed & Breakfast, call (518) 329-4675 or email