When Cara and I adopted Bailey, our 3 year old basset/beagle mix, she immediately bonded with us and settled right into our home.  But we quickly noticed that she did not deal well with strangers, and would not let anyone that she did not know pet or handle her.  This, unfortunately, made finding someone to watch her when we were out of town very difficult.   After trying several kennels and a couple of local craigslist ads, we were discouraged after everyone said they could not watch her.   So I put an ad for help, describing our situation, on craigslist.


I got an e-mail from Marcela describing her home, her experience with animals and a story about a dog that reminded her of Bailey.   While everything seemed promising, we realized that Marcela lived about an hour away from us; which was less than convenient.   But we decided to take a chance and drove out to their home. After meeting Marcela and Cynthia, we realized that they really understood Bailey’s behavior and made us feel comfortable leaving her with them.

When we got home from our first trip, Bailey was doing great and they taught her how to shake!!   Over time Bailey grew quite fond of Cynthia, and would actually “cry” when she saw her after a long absence.  This is how I knew that Bailey loved Marcela and Cynthia as a second family, and while we missed our dog while away, we knew she was being well taken care of.

We recently had to move out of the area, and one of our biggest disappointments in our new city is that we don’t have Marcela and Cynthia to watch Bailey.    They are caring, sweet, and knowledgeable and you could not find a better home for your dog to enjoy while you are away.

Ryan Oder and Cara Garfield.  Arlington, VA

I have had the great pleasure of leaving our pet Maggie with Marcela several times. She had made Maggie feel like one of the family right away. Maggie had never before been boarded with someone and is very demanding to say the least. Maggie proved to be no match to Marcela way with dogs. Maggie bonded with Marcela right away like they were best friends. I believe this to be true because dogs have a few good sense as to whom they can trust.   Marcela provided us updates on Maggie during her stay which calmed our anxiety of leaving her for the first time. Marcela is a true professional with the handling of Maggie and took great care of her. I would recommend her to any dog owner, who wants their pet to be boarded in a safe and loving environment.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruth says:

    Did you know that your dogs nose and paws can crack and get dry in the winter? I learned this from Marcela on the first day I met her! She advised me to rub a small amount of vaseline on my dogs nose and paws. This is just one example of the many things i have learned about caring for my dog from her. She is a very knowledgeable pet professional. To her experience she brings a very warm and caring touch. I am delighted to have found her to care for my champagne. I can go away knowing that my baby is cared for and very safe 24/7. I have never liked boarding my dog at kennels and know i will never again have to do that! Why would i do that when i can have Champagne stay in a friendly and caring home where she receives love and attention! Marcela has been the answer to my prayers! Thank you Marcela!

  2. Liz Osborne says:

    Marcela has been walking our Roxie for almost a year and she is terrific! Roxie has also boarded at Marcela’s home. Roxie loves Marcela, and Marcela is great with her. She’s given us great tips on behavior and always provides feedback on how Roxie is doing — along with pictures! We’re very lucky to have Marcela in Roxie’s life.

  3. Cyn Dumas says:

    Since we were going out of town for an extended period of time, we wanted Archie to go somewhere that he would be very well taken care of. We also wanted to work on his training and behavior. Since he had never been to a kennel, we didn’t want to board him at a facility, and we thought that at a facility he might develop bad behaviors. The three week period that he spent with you, Marcela, was a perfect solution. He developed good behaviors and had good care while we were gone. The training sessions also helped us learn how to modify Archie’s behavior on our own.

    1. Marcela says:

      Thanks Jackie:-)

  4. Valarie says:

    Hi There Marcela: Just getting around to viewing your website once again, it is absolutely awsome and filled with beautiful pictures and good information. It is so evident that you both are truly dog lovers. To witness it first hand by the care Kalimba was given on her stays at your place in Maryland to this beautiful website, just validates your geniue love of our flurry friends. We miss you dearly! The pictures of Alex and Bella say it all and anyone can see they lived a good and happy life. My love to you and Cynthia, take care, stay warm! Kind Regards, Valarie

    1. Marcela says:

      Hi Valarie. Thanks for stopping by. We miss you and Kalimba very much too. Yes, we tried our best to give them a good life because what our canine companions give us is priceless. We appreciate your kind words. Our appreciation and love to you and your cute Kalimba.

  5. Betheny says:

    We cannot recommend Marcela’s services highly enough! She is irreplaceable to us!

    We moved to the Baltimore area from Reno, NV with our 2 year old Australian Shepherd, Walter in the fall of 2012. He is our baby– honestly- he is like a child to us! We are thoroughly invested in his education, nutrition, health, and socialization. Both of us work in the airline industry and we could not do what we love for a living without Marcela’s help. We looked at many options and interviewed quite a few candidates before we made our decision. We can confidently say the service Marcela provides is well worth the amount she charges– and the peace of mind she gives us really is priceless! Also, we can’t say enough about her flexibility. Our schedules are challenging to say the least.

    Marcela is passionate about dogs! She is tuned in to them in and is acutely aware of even the smallest changes in behavior and can anticipate and diffuse conflicts before they present themselves. A true professional, she briefs and debriefs us at each visit giving us all of the information we need with the personal touch that makes you feel like you are talking with a long time friend.

    We couldn’t ask for a better home away from home for our Walter! He always gets an appropriate amount of exercise and Marcela challenges him with tricks, tasks, and commands to work his mind as well. Marcela limits the amount of dogs she cares for and Walter gets individual attention night and day. We feel 100% confident that Walter gets as much love, affection, and attention at Marcela’s house as he does at home with us! He loves to give Marcela hugs and kisses! We ask Walter when it’s time to leave if he wants to go see Marcela, Cynthia, and Alex and he goes crazy and is in the car ready to go! Seeing him happy and smiling when he sees Marcela helps us so much!

    We have excellent communication with Marcela! She texts us pictures of our boy every day and always responds promptly if we have any questions! I love seeing pictures of Walter hanging out with Alex and the other dogs! We also get to read Marcela’s blog for insight into who’s currently staying there and what everyone’s been up to! She gives us just the right amount of contact that allows us to focus on what we have going on, and still feel connected to our boy. Marcela runs a very controlled environment — this gives us so much peace of mind! I don’t have to worry about anyone fighting over food or toys. Everything I’ve ever sent to Marcela’s in Walter’s overnight bag is properly used and back in the bag at pick up. Her home is very clean and spacious! She keeps nice clean sheets on Walter’s bed and let’s him be himself and hang out wherever he likes- just like at home!

    Routine is very important to Marcela and to us as well! Walter knows what to expect and I think that really helps him in the transition. I know Marcela will communicate with us and take Walter to the vet immediately if necessary. She has great instincts and knowledge about our boy and we trust her judgement.

    Last year Walter was having a little trouble with his hips and Marcela tailored his care just for him. She suggested great ideas on how to help him feel better and we are happy to report a change in diet has brought him back to 100%! Marcela has the experience and knowledge to handle a wide variety of physical and behavioral issues as they arise.

    Marcela takes the time to learn and use your dog’s specific commands and key words. This is really important to us and keeps things consistent for our buddy. When Walter gets home from a trip to Marcela’s he is happy and his normal self! This really shows us that he is receiving the same kind of special care we give him!

    If even after reading this review you would like more information we authorize Marcela to give you our contacts and we’d be happy to chat with you personally.

    Walter’s Mom & Dad-
    Betheny & Jeremy

  6. Jeremy says:

    We couldn’t be happier with Marcela! She is very knowledgable and always has the pet parents and and pets best interest in mind. Walter loves going there to spend a couple of nights!

    1. Marcela says:

      Thanks Jeremy:-)

  7. Franz V says:

    Kudos to your site; from another dog parent. Looking forward to learning more about dogs here 🙂

  8. John Stone says:

    “I couldn’t be happier with the wonderful dog happy home Marcela provided for my best friend Bingo. In the past I have dreaded having to leave him behind when traveling due to his severe separation anxiety and tendency to stop eating when in uncomfortable environments. Marcela was diligent about sending me daily email updates and pics. When I found out he was eating twice a day, getting adequate exercise, brushed and loved like one of her own I was so relieved and for once could enjoy my time away. Marcela’s passion for dogs and sensitivity to their individual needs and quirks sets her apart from any other dog sitter I have met. If you’re looking for a loving home environment for your dog and are wary of traditional kennels then Canine Companions is one of the bet gifts you can give to yourself and your dog.” J.S.

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