EAST BLOOMFIELD — We all love our pets. We feed them, clean up after them, brush their hair, take care of their … business. But what happens when we go away for the weekend?
Enter Howlywood Kennel, located at 7856 Routes 5 and 20. Owned and operated by sisters-in-law Bianca and Kelly Bianchi, Howlywood opened for business this past November on the site of what was formerly Locust Grove Kennels. It boasts radiant in-floor heating; central air conditioning; a large outdoor area for pets to enjoy some fetch and Frisbee; and, coming soon, a 24/7 in-kennel doggie camera system that promises to give nervous pet-lovers the ability to check in on their animals day or night.
Hence the Howlywood name, and the slogan, “Where your pet is the star!” The cameras will actually have an infrared capability that will allow them to function in the dark.
The camera system is not up and running yet, but Kelly says they are shooting for having it operational in the near future. She said the camera system will “not only give the owners the ability to see the pets while they’re gone, but also … give us the ability to check in during off hours.”
The idea came from asking customers what they’d like to see added to the kennel.
“We’re an innovative facility,” said Kelly. “We have lots of ideas for expansion with what we want to offer.”
With many years of animal care and customer service experience between the two of them, Kelly and Bianca had been waiting for a long time to start a kennel of their own.
So when the Locust Grove facility went on the market last year, they jumped on it.
“We’ve been looking for quite a few years for a location,” said Kelly. “It came at a perfect time in our lives.”
“Now that we’re here we’ve just hit the ground and we’re going to take it and run with it,” said Bianca.
They expressed a desire to take the kennel in their own, new direction from Locust Grove, and, as Bianca put it, “rectify any issues with the previous kennel.”
“We sent out over 2,000 flyers and mailers offering a free night, stating that we were under new management,” she said.
Bianca’s background in IT and customer service has been the perfect complement to Kelly’s extensive experience in kennel management and dog training. They are the sole employees. Bianca specializes in the front end aspect of the business, while Kelly focuses on the canine side of things.
“Kelly tries to make sure that dogs’ energies are matched up,” Bianca said.
“There are some dogs that are easy to get along with; others are a bit more challenging,” joked Kelly, adding that she enjoyed the challenge of winning dogs over and discovering their individual personalities.
“It’s something special here,” said Bianca, “because I feel like when [the dogs] are here every one of them needs something different. It’s about finding that one thing that makes their stay here better than anywhere else.”
Howlywood takes care of more than dogs, of course. They board cats too, and while they haven’t gotten any offbeat requests yet, Kelly says they are “open to anything.” Within reason, of course.
Some people drop off animals for day care while they’re at work, others for a couple days during a quick weekend getaway, or some for even more prolonged periods. A number of people have stopped by just to tour the facility.
“Our whole mission here is to provide the highest level of comfort and care to every pet that walks through this door,” Kelly said. “We just strive to meet our customers’ expectations.”
Even in its fledgling months, it is clear Howlywood has its eyes set on the stars. As Bianca put it, “This isn’t just a kennel. This is a passion.”
Learn more about Howlywood Kennel at www.howlywood.com.