By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Friday, February 17, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Tiffany Estrada wants to be your dog's best friend. She calls herself "The Pooch Nanny" and for the last eight years she has been making a living as a professional dog walker.
"People's pets are like their babies and you have to treat them like that," Estrada said. "They want their animal to be taken care of and loved."
And according to Estrada, there is a huge need for someone like her.
Since moving to Hampton three months ago, she has added more than 100 clients, but wants to take on more. She is just one of several professional dogwalkers on the Seacoast.
Estrada said her services include walking and caring for the animals, administrating medication, bringing in the mail and watering the plants. She also not afraid to clean your house or shovel your driveway.
"I don't just walk dogs," Estrada said. "We are talking about cats, dogs, goats, ducks and iguanas. You name it, I walk it."
Estrada says she spends 30 minutes with each client and is available whenever you need her, day or night.
"We never have holidays off, there are no snow days off for us," Estrada said. "If you are on vacation and I'm responsible to watch your pet I have to find a way do that no matter what the weather may be."
While she has never been bitten, she has had the occasional lick.
"Every time I meet a new dog I go down to their level and pet underneath," Estrada said. "You have to treat them like you love them."
Estrada was not always in the dog walking business.
"I was what you would call a suit and tie kind of girl," Estrada said.
She got into the dog walking business from her sister, who was the original founder of "The Pooch Nanny" in Ridgefield, Conn.
At the time, Estrada just wanted to trade in her suit for sweat pants and a baseball cap. But she soon fell in love with the profession.
"It was the perfect job for me because I loved animals," Estrada said. "I didn't picture myself doing this because I was very good at sales. But the dogs just make you happy. They love you unconditionally.
"That's what I love about the job. No matter how much money I make or how little, I would not change it for anything in this world."
When her sister decided to get out of the business, she bought it from her and took it over.
"I had over 250 clients and 500 animals," Estrada said. "One of my clients had four goats, five ducks, three birds, four cats, and two dogs."
But now that she's in Hampton, Estrada is having do to something she never had to do before: advertise.
"In Connecticut, everyone knew who I was," Estrada said.
She has passed out more than 1,000 pink flyers with her contact information to pet owners.
And she has made friends with Nancy Massett of Pawcassos by the Sea in North Hampton and Kate VanDaam of Seaside Grooming in Hampton.
Anyone looking for a professional dog walker can call Estrada at 394-5037.