This holiday season, Wilton’s Passage East Kennels is calling on pet lovers to lend a paw to support community animal rescue groups. Their first annual Holiday Pet Food & Supply Drive, going on all December, will benefit PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society), a no-kill shelter that has been serving pets in need for over 50 years.

“Our mission is to help the community’s neediest animals,” says PAWS executive director Ellen Simonds. “Not the breed of choice or the age of choice, but those who need social and emotional support, medical care, and love the most.”

This philosophy hits home with the team at Passage East, a locally-owned canine care center that prides itself on its no breed discrimination policy. “Our goal is to give every dog a safe and loving home when they can’t be with their owners, no matter what their breed or background,” says Passage East’s general manager, Fawn Holden. “We welcome dogs with special needs and work with them so they can have the quality of life and care they deserve.”

The kennel’s commitment to making the world a better place for dogs includes not only their own boarding, grooming, and daycare clients, but homeless pets as well. Passage East has worked with several area shelters over the past two decades to help find dogs forever homes, and have five available for adoption onsite, including Jethro, Mama, Fate, & Sara (pictured here, L-R, with Passage East staff).

Greyhound Rescue and Rehab (GRR) is another group the kennel has worked with closely that needs support more than ever this season. “Due to the recent ban on greyhound racing in Florida, there will be a large increase in the number of greyhounds that need to find homes over the next two years,” says Passage East’s kennel manager, Katrina Knebel. “GRR does a lot with injured hounds that other groups may not take in because they need surgeries from injuries on the track. We’ve helped care for over 50 of their dogs during their transition from racing life to an adoptive or foster home.” The rescue group has re-homed nearly 1,400 greyhounds since 2000 throughout New York and Connecticut.

Passage East will be accepting food, supply, and monetary donations for PAWS and GRR through Dec. 31 at its 499 Danbury Rd. location, and the team there is confident that Wilton’s generous community will come through.

“We see every day how much Wiltonians love their dogs,” says Jessica Sanchez, Passage East’s marketing manager. “Our business is successful not only because our staff provides an excellent level of care, but because our clients want the best for their best friends and trust us to provide that service. We couldn’t do what we do without their continued support.”

Similar sentiments come from Simonds at PAWS, who also acknowledges the compassion and dedication of the organization’s staff, volunteers, advocates, and donors. Helping the neediest animals comes with many challenges, but their efforts succeed in re-homing an average of 100 dogs and 500 cats annually, including special programs for senior animals and Pets for Patriots.

Passage East has a wishlist of suggested items.