Meet Our Team

Karen PetersonMe and my dogs

Walk and Wag was founded when I was a victim of downsizing after 30 years in the radio industry. I was a sales/marketing executive who loved my clients and missed the friendships I made with them. I knew I wanted to continue with a position that was strong on customer service but not the intense pressure of sales.

After extensive soul-searching, I no longer wanted to put my future in the hands of bean counters looking at me as a number on a spreadsheet. I knew that my experience with, and love for, animals could somehow become a career and allow me to become the master (or mistress in this case) of my own destiny.

As a person who traveled extensively for work, I’m well aware of the pitfalls of leaving my pets with friends or relatives…you can’t really get mad at them for mistakes made since they’re doing it for free. After one such debacle, I started using the services of a professional pet sitter. For the first time, I felt totally at ease when I was away on business trips, and it was well worth the money.

After running this business for awhile, I opened up my home for animals to stay here as an alternative to being boarded in a kennel.  This has been an invaluable tool, especially for learning dog behavior and using this knowledge to help both my dogs and my clients’ dogs eliminate unwanted behavior and undue stress on both pet and owner.

I’ve had cats since I was a child and welcomed dogs into my life 35 years ago (wow, I’m really old). I currently own 2 dogs and 3 cats. I have extensive experience walking multiple dogs, large dogs and special needs dogs. I’m an expert on giving pills to cats, subcutaneous fluids, expressing bladders, insulin shots and administering any medication your pet needs.  In addition to dogs and cats, I’ve cared for pot bellied pigs, skunks, rats, parrots, cockatiels, cockatoos, ducks, ferrets, rabbits, prairie dogs, iguanas and tortoises and hope to expand my list even further as time goes by.

As my pets are my children, I will treat yours as my nieces and nephews.  I would love to earn the privilege of caring for your kids.

 

MJ

mjmaneros

Originally from New Hampshire, our family always had dogs and cats.  My dad was an engineer and, in his spare time, he conducted dog obedience classes and raised tropical fish.  Loving animals and the outdoors, after college my husband and I headed west and purchased a farm raising horses, pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens and anything that wandered on to the property.  Living in Florida since the 80’s, I have rescued cats, dogs and several raccoons.  My sidekick now is a very cute, slightly spoiled little Yorkie.

After many years being a manager handling people, phones and computers, I have found a true calling walking, talking and giving undivided attention to your fur babies. Their needs are so basic and their love so unconditional…what’s not to love about the time spent with them!  ( I can’t call it a job!)

Rachel

I moved to Pinellas County three years ago from the Peoria, Illinois area. I am a full-time server in a local restaurant.  I have enjoyed walking dogs and talking care of my friends and neighbors pets since I was in grade school.  I have continued my pet sitting business since then and am excited to be working for Walk and Wag to expand my knowledge of animal behavior.

I have two cats of my own…Sylvie is 12 and Chloe is 7.  They are spoiled kitties who enjoy playing with their balls, string toys and cat nip. I love all animals and I grew up with dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, fish, and guinea pigs.  I also have experience taking care of birds and chinchillas.  My goal is to give your pets the same love and attention I give my own pets.

MikeMike Wenke

I’ve always enjoyed the companionship of pets…recently having as many as 4 Goldens and 2 cats at one time.  I was born and raised in Delaware. My parents bought me my first dog when I was 7, and I’ve been a pet lover ever since.  I’m a retired Real Estate Professional having owned a RE/Max Office managing 30 top producing Real Estate Professionals.  After retiring, I started a Pet Sitting business in Canton, Georgia with the help of my wife Marcy.  Marcy lived in Fort Lauderdale most of her life where she volunteered at the local animal shelter.  Our love of animals has no bounds.  We believe that pets, especially, are so dependent upon our attentive love and care.  Caring for pets is what we do now, and we look forward to caring for yours.

ChrisChris Booze

I have lived in the same Seminole home for 21 years and work in Title Insurance and Real Estate.  My first pet was a cat in Pennsylvania when I was 10, and in 1975, my family moved to Florida. We got a poodle who needed a home, and I was just the perfect fit for her.  After graduation, I got my first dog, a Great Dane, who was a great companion for my oldest daughter as she grew up. The next was a Rottweiler who grew up with my youngest daughter.  At the present time, I have four cats. I have had, through the years, a Ball Python, rabbits, rats, turtles and fish. All were a part of the family and given lots of love…even the snake   🙂   I was looking for part-time work and this position is just perfect. I am proud to be a part of a team that is here for you and your pets when needed. I will be there for you when can’t be!

SandraSandra Kydd

Originally from Atlanta, I moved to Pinellas County in October 2012 after having lived in the Caribbean for 13 years.   I have always loved animals, but while there, my love for animals grew even stronger, and I became involved in the start-up of the first animal welfare organization ever on the island where I lived.   During that time I also had seven rescue dogs.

Since moving back to the States in October, I have volunteered extensively with Pinellas County Animal Services, walking and socializing dogs that are in the adoption area and helping out with adoption events.   Last year, I fostered a blind senior Chihuahua for the Senior-to-Senior Program.  I am now proud to call him my four-legged son.  From time to time, I also foster dogs that need to get out of the shelter environment until they find a forever home.  I am a member of the Bay Area Disaster Response Team, and in the last year have taken the Florida Small Animal Response Team training, Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) course as well as the Red Cross Pet CPR/First Aid course.

I was looking for a part time job and someone told me about Walk and Wag and the great reputation they have.  There’s not another job I would rather do than work with animals. Since it’s something I love, it really isn’t work. I look forward to taking care of your pets and will treat them like they were my own.

Nicole

nicoledI was born and raised in Southern California with many four legged friends by my side. My family were big animal lovers (my mom had a duck named Stanley!) and always had at least a dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, guinea pig, bird and fish in our home. As an adult, I’ve had Chocolate Labs, German Shepard’s and even a Basenji as my fur babies.

I decided to leave the corporate world in early 2002 and start my own clothing and accessories business so I looked into dog walking/pet sitting as a way to supplement my income and enjoy the outdoors with some fun companions.  After leaving California to move to Colorado, I continued my pet sitting services in the Denver area.  Ten years later, my husband and I craved the beach and warmer temps so we moved to Treasure Island.  Since I have my own coaching business now, I have the flexibility in my day to do what I love most…care for and walk your pet(s). Whether it’s a short play visit, a long walk or a trip to the dog park, I treat every animal as if they’re my own.

Joan

2015 became a major milestone in my life, a year in which I retired, sold my home of 43 years and left L.I., NY for Clearwater, FL and new adventures with my partner and   Joan Desio-Rizzo  our small menagerie of 2 cats and 4 dogs. Over the years I have had a variety of creatures enrich my life.  Rabbits, lizards, parrots, dogs and cats – all have been an integral     part of my family (which also included 4 children and now grandchildren).  Loving and caring for animals is what I love to do and I look forward to caring for yours.

 

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