D is for Doggy offers private walks with trained dog handlers through Pooch Pals.


Pooch Pals was established in 1999.

They have been one of New York City’s most trusted providers of private dog walking services, in-home pet sitting, and professional dog training. Each pet care provider at Pooch Pals goes through extensive training, including training classes with dog trainer Kate Perry. We have also made this training a new requirement for each employee at D is for Doggy.

Currently at D is for Doggy, we offer dog walking services that are within a half mile radius of each daycare. With the growing demand for dog walking we are very excited to partner with Pooch Pals, which offers dog walking all over Manhattan; we are also excited to expand our services to now include in home pet setting. Pooch Pals will be responsible for both our clients dog walking and in home petting sitting needs.

To learn more about Pooch Pals and to sign up, please check out their website!

Questions or concerns? We are always available to take your call or answer emails. 

Meet the dog handlers!!!

oie_jpgNora Kharmoudi (Client Relationship Specialist) was born in Alaska and raised in Hawaii where her adorable Shih Tzu-Dachshund mix, Kukuilani, is currently waiting for her. She grew up in a family that participated in the Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Races and created a menagerie of animals on their farmland which fostered her lifelong love of all animals. Nora is a recent Ithaca College graduate, an avid traveler, and is currently pursuing a career in Media Production.


Photo Apr 22, 10 46 07 AMSara Tickanen (Staffing Manager) has wanted to work with animals since, well, forever. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Sara recently relocated to New York to pursue graduate studies and earn her Master’s degree in Creative Writing, Nonfiction. She has always had a soft spot for helping save rescue animals, and is currently a devoted volunteer with Mighty Mutts animal rescue. Sara lives at home with her rescue cat, Samara Reese (Sami), whose interests include mousing, eating, and sleeping. Sara’s interests (of much less importance than Sami’s) include animals, writing, teaching, and binge watching Netflix.

Photo Apr 22, 10 47 40 AMLaura Nectow
 was born and raised in the beautiful town of Plymouth, MA. Growing up with a black lab named Duke and a chocolate lab named Shadow, Laura was a dog lover from the very start. “I can’t imagine my life without them. There’s something so special about communicating with dogs of all breeds and getting to know their individual personalities.” Laura studied photography at the New England Institute of Art in Boston. She now owns a funny little Jack Russell/Corgi named Frankie and resides in Astoria, NY.

Photo Apr 22, 10 47 43 AMMikaela Gallego
 is a former creative writing major at Pratt Institute and working on a collection of poetry. Raised in a unique environment filled with all sorts of pets – from sugar gliders to a 100 pound yellow lab – an opportunity to work with Pooch Pals seemed like a perfect fit.  Mikaela has quickly found her passion for providing the most personal and quality care, as she strives to build strong relationships with both her new canine and human friends.

Photo Apr 22, 10 47 53 AMVictor Rivera hails from the sunniest of states to bring his shining personality to the Pooch Pals team. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Victor has always had an inherent love for animals. He believes that his spirit animal might actually be a dog; he is loyal, energetic, laid back, and a loving individual. He studied Deaf Education in the Midwest for a few years before moving to NYC to pursue a lifelong dream of living in the most electrifying city on Earth. Two of his favorite roommates are cats (Pippin pictured left). Victor’s other interests include reading, petting dogs on the street, exploring the city, going to Disney World as often as possible, and being around positive individuals.

Photo Apr 22, 10 47 55 AMAllison Gish is a life-long animal lover who loves nothing more than spending time with her furry friends! Hailing from Louisiana, Allison moved to New York to continue her career as speech-language pathologist. After moving to the city, however, Allison’s passion for singing was reignited, and she is going back to graduate school at Mannes College of Music to pursue a professional studies diploma in vocal performance. She is thrilled to be able to spend time outdoors with dogs every day and seeks to radiate joy in everything she does! Allison resides in Manhattan with her husband, Nick, and cat, Kitty.

Photo Apr 22, 10 47 58 AMSarah Wainwright grew up in Boston, MA. She has a broad history in animal care, including volunteer work in the Live Animal Center at Boston’s Museum of Science, fostering dogs through the North East All-Retriever Rescue, and pet sitting. She moved to the big city to become a professional dancer, graduating from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in 2013 with a job in a dance company, but had to leave her lovable Labrador Retriever at home in the process. Combining her love of New York with her passion for animals is exactly how Sarah wants to spend each day, and Pooch Pals is where she gets to do just that!

Photo Apr 22, 10 48 01 AMTricia Richards
 grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. She moved to New York a year ago and has since been pursuing a career in the arts. Ecstatic to be working with Pooch Pals, Tricia also spends her time working as an artist’s model and a photography studio assistant. She hopes to combine her passion for both animals and photography by specializing in pet photography. In her spare time she also enjoys reading, volunteering, and exploring the city with her camera in tow. She has one fur baby named Gus, a two year old Maine Coon.

Ayleen Cruz
grew up in New York. Animals have always been a big part of her life, as she has lived with everything from dogs and cats to snakes and turtles. Ayleen has a BA in graphic communications and has her own design business, but she has always felt the desire to incorporate animal care into her life. After rescuing two stray cats from the snow covered streets of New York, she now finds herself with a pocket of cat treats to share with every stray she passes. She finally decided to follow her passion and work with Pooch Pals’ dogs, providing care and getting a better understanding of the bond between humans and our furry companions.

Photo Apr 22, 10 48 11 AMJustin Fontanez has lived in the Bronx his whole life and has always wanted to work with animals. He is currently living with 2 fish, 2 tortoises and 1 dog and loves being a dad to all of them. Although he was never allowed a dog while growing up, his love and passion for dogs never faded, and he took every opportunity to interact and learn more about them. He was originally employed as a medical biller, but he is now pursuing his dream to work with dogs and spends most of his time with his loved ones, especially his 7 year old Beagle Jack.

Photo Apr 22, 10 48 14 AMDiana (Bear) Spiegel grew up in Los Angeles, California and moved to New York in the Fall of 2014. She is currently a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College pursuing her BFA in acting with a minor in Gender and Sexuality studies. She has been a lover of all animals since before she could speak and has never met a furry friend she hasn’t liked. She grew up with her wonderful cat, Mystery, who still resides with her parents in LA. Diana has always been obsessed with her friends and neighbors dogs and constantly took them for walks, played with them, and pet sat whenever possible. She also has a close connection with Winston, her director’s dog from back home. Whenever her director was busy, Diana was put on “Puppy Duty,” which included playing, walking, feeding, and making sure Winston wasn’t sneaking anyone’s food.

Photo Apr 22, 10 48 16 AMAndrea Byrnes was born and raised in New Jersey, and moved to New York City after spending four years traveling the country while her husband served in the military. During that time, she was unable to have a dog of her own and she felt a great void in her life. She has been a dog lover since childhood, and has always had a dream of helping to make a difference in the lives of our canine companions. After spending time working in retail, Andrea decided to follow her dream of working with dogs upon moving to Manhattan. Andrea studied public relations while attending Montclair State University, and would like to return to school in the future. After seeing much of the country, Andrea is happy to have settled in a city that is as dog-friendly as New York!

Photo Jul 15, 9 11 52 AMJosh Fisher was born in Dallas, TX. All his life he had a dog by his side, whether it was a white lab named Maddie or a Yorkshire terrier named Leo, until he moved to New York City in fall of 2014 to pursue acting. His love for dogs and all other animals drove him to pursue a career with Pooch Pals. Josh looks forward to watching dogs grow and learn, and establishing a connection with each of them.