"If you like dogs, that's great. Even if you love dogs, I understand. But, it's a very big difference to love dogs," explained Nicole Goudey-Rigger, as she crossed her arms across her chest. "I mean, in the core of your being where it doesn't matter if there's dog hair in your coffee or that you just got a poop print on your shirt."
Goudey-Rigger is the owner of Pets a Go Go, a dog walking and pet sitting company that is opening up a facility in Briarcliff Manor...and she—and her 10 full-time employees—love dogs.
A combination of summer camp, daycare and a "gymboree-ish" atmosphere—all for canines—is the vision the Chappaqua resident has for her new facility on North State Road, just down the street from The , which she has partners with on a regular basis.
"It's a neat environment," Goudey-Rigger said. "It kind of builds on what we have been doing for the last eight years."
Pets a Go Go came about when Goudey-Rigger and another pet business owner merged their ventures in 2008.
"For me, it's sort of gone from this 100-client, 60 dogs a day kind of environment, to now we do at least 150 households a day and have about 975 clients right now," she shared. "It's kind of grown to the point now where it's hiking, walking, medical assistance—we help out with all that."
Currently, the company offers everything from daily dog walks to overnight pet and house sitting.
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The new facility, expected to open by the end of April, "was sort of a natural extension to do more training and more overnights," Goudey-Rigger explained. "Up until this date, we either sleep in the home or the pet sleeps in our home. There's only so much you can do."
Pets a Go Go in Briarcliff Manor will be an 18,000-square-foot facility with an additional .75 acres of outdoor space, complete with overnight staff and an "indoor potty."
In addition to the large play area—fitted with grates covered with natural material that can be used by the dogs as a bathroom—the facility will have retail, reception, office, shower, bathroom and grooming areas.
"The play area will be cage-free at all times," said Goudey-Rigger, who added dogs will need to undergo a temperament test before signing up.
She expects to house up to 40 dogs during the day and 20-30 overnight, who will enjoy a schedule that includes breakfast, play time, lessons for those signed up for a "stay and train environment," more playtime, dinner and a designated lights-out time.
In the summer, the outdoor space will be used for water sports and activities like paw-printing, she shared.
"Accessibility and reliability," Goudey-Rigger said, are the elements that have earned her a loyal client base over the years that continues to expand.
She currently accepts work as far south as the Bronx and as far north as Rhinebeck in Dutchess County. Pets a Go Go's east-west boundaries spread to Nanuet in Rockland County and Stamford, CT.
"As a company, I'm very conscious of not growing too fast," she explained. "If I can't keep this quality, then I'm going to hurt myself."
Goudey-Rigger has found many clients turn to Pets a Go Go after bad experiences with pet care.
"I had a couple of really seriously bad experiences in the kenneling world," she shared. "My second Yorkie went to a kennel once in her entire life and came back with an opportunistic lung infection. She spent the last two years of her life on antibiotics."
Goudey-Rigger, who previously had a career on Wall Street, doesn't fault kennels for this type of mishap, but wanted her company to give clients the same results they can expect from a moving company or insurance company—"professional, accountable and on the books."
"This is what my guys do for a living. It's how they feed their families, so it's a real job," she explained.
She plans to bring this accountability and quality to the Briarcliff Manor facility and may even continue expanding Pets a Go Go in the future.
"I would love to see someone else love this business in another location, because I do think it's transferable, especially for woman," Goudey-Rigger said. "I would love to see this thing fly."