An environmental consultant turned her lifelong love of animals into a business.
Brenda Martinez was an environmental consultant for 23 years for state, local and tribal agencies throughout New Mexico and Arizona. She has a degree in biology from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix to boot.
The Albuquerque native was introduced to Taos in 2010 by a friend. She felt immediately attracted to the local, diverse community and embraced its spirit of hospitality. In 2014, she decided to make the move and begin a new stage in her life.
“Everything in Taos looks like it came straight out of a postcard,” she said. “And people are the best. I couldn’t find a better place to call home.”
Martinez is a lifelong pet owner. She once worked at Emergency Veterinary Clinic, a veterinarian practice in Santa Fe. She and her 10-year-old daughter, Alexandria, have fostered more than 50 dogs for the Española Humane Society over the years.
“We would take care of them for a week or two and then take them to an awaiting van early in the morning so they could go to their forever homes in Colorado,” she said. “It was a very sweet experience. I also have my own dog, Charlie.”
After she settled in Taos, Martinez discovered that there was a range of pet services needed in the community. She opened Taos Pet Care of All Types in September 2015.
“I had my own businesses in the past, so moving into pet care was a natural transition,” she said. “My first client was a dog named Lucy, a rescue from Stray Hearts. I walked her four days a week for almost six months. It went from there. I’ve found all my clients mostly by word of mouth.”
Walk, hike, trip to the lake — you name it
Martinez’s pet services include walks, hikes, daily care and sitting, as well as trips to the vet and other places. She can take care of pets in clients’ homes so animals stay in a familiar environment – or she can board them in her house. She also provides on-call services.
Before taking in a new pet, Martinez meets with the potential clients to find out their specific needs and all the training and household requirements. She also wants to make sure that everyone, including the pet, is comfortable with her.
“I understand the anguish that owners experience when they need to leave their precious animals for a vacation or other matters,” she said. “I return correspondence promptly, confirm appointments, provide pictures and updates – and I am totally reliable. I can also pick up mail, water plants and whatever else is requested. I pride myself on providing loving, quality care.”
She has a flexible schedule, which allows her to accommodate most requests.
“For example, if a pet needs a walk during the day, food and water or to take a medicine, I can do that,” she said. “If they require a trip to the groomer, vet or the lake or a hike in the canyon, that’s feasible, too. I also keep up training and daily routines.”
She can schedule appointments for short-term and long-term care. Her car has been approved for dog transportation.
“I have experience with most animals and have clients ranging in size from Chihuahuas to a 195-pound Harlequin Great Dane,” she said. “I have also taken care of a parrot and cats. But I leave the horses to the experts. The only animal I might have a problem with is a snake.”
Her most recent client is the town’s new police chief’s dog, a German shepherd named Diesel, who she walks twice a week.
If requested, she can board the animals at her house in Ranchos de Taos. She has a secure backyard with a tall fence.
“Of course, I don’t just leave dogs in the backyard,” she said. “It is just to play and do their business, and they are welcome inside if they are house-trained.”
Her 14-year-old rescue lab mix, Charlie, gets along with everyone.
“He is very mellow,” Martinez said. “He keeps the other pets company and helps them feel more comfortable in this temporary setting.”
She is aware of the fact that many pets these days have very specific diets – organic, no grain, vegan, homemade mixtures, supplements, etc.
“I can prepare whatever meals are requested,” she said. “By the owner, that is.”