The Team

dena materaDena Matera – owner operator

Group walks and Boarding

What happens when a you mix a dedicated animal lover with an entrepreneurial spirit? Just ask all the lucky creatures ever cared for by Dena Matera of Got Dogs? in Truckee, CA.

If they could talk, Dena’s animal friends would certainly praise her exuberance, warmth, and passion. Raised alongside German Shepherds, a lizard, and a parakeet Dena learned early on about gentleness, connection, and loyalty.

It is that spirit—that deep understanding and connection with animals—that gave Dena the inspiration to start a pet care business of her own. In preparation, she attended dog shows regularly volunteered at Truckee Meadows Dog Training Club. In 2009, Dena earned her dog training diploma. Eventually, her dog, Shakti, joined Dena, and together they received a Canine Good Citizen Certification. This gave them the opportunity to work in hospitals with the disabled.

Currently, Dena continues to develop her professional understanding of animal psychology and behavior along with building her professional relationships. In addition, Dena’s own family has grown. Now, the proud mother of two, Dena is busier than ever. Fortunately, due to Got Dogs? success, her business has expanded along with her family. Dena has hired a dedicated and trusted crew of helpers to assist her in providing dog walking and pet sitting services. So, these days, Dena speaks of Got Dogs? as “we” not “I” because she sees her business as a team (and family) effort. According to Dena, “It’s the best job I could ever imagine — walking, playing and cuddling dogs daily. I just love meeting new dogs — and their people. Many of my clients are now friends. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

 

“I can survive with my dogs. I will survive because of my dogs. They provide love, safety, warmth, and knowledge. I know now and forever they are my guardian angles. I will forever be grateful and loyal, I know so will they to me.”
-Owner of Got Dogs, Dena Matera

All walkers and sitters are experienced with pets and caretaking. They are background checked for criminal and motor vehicle.

ericaErica Bennett

Erica was born an animal ally. She grew up caring for animals of all shapes and sizes. From horse to mice. She understands and loves the company and community animals bring and their owners.

In her early adulthood she quickly became a trusted dog, plant, cat and house sitter for her friends for years!

She fell in love with Tahoe and became a local in 2004. Having lived all around the lake and now in Northstar for the last 6 years, she brings an understanding of the best trails and nature no matter the season, our area has to offer. This coupled with her passion for caring for pets makes her unique.

Though her main focus now is kids and real estate. She also loves to help Dena with Got Dogs whenever she can.

kayleighKayleigh Mack

Kayleigh is a deeply empathetic person who has loved and adored animals since she was a little girl, especially dogs. Her family used to call her the dog whisperer because even dogs who struggled with humans socially would warm to her quickly. Her family adopted two dogs growing up from the local shelter in northern Los Angeles where she grew up.; Oakley, Lhasa Apso/Shitzu mix and Marley, an Australian Shepherd/Husky Mix.

When Kayleigh left for college, she decided to start dog sitting while she focused on her studies. As an adult, she adopted a five year old abused chi-weenie named Bella, an extremely fear aggressive dog that struggled greatly with trusting humans. Her abusers were going to turn her over to a kill-shelter, but Kayleigh was able to intervene before she was sent there. After a few short years, Bella became a happy girl, friendly and social with all humans after experiencing the love she never experienced with previous owners with Kayleigh.

Later, Kayleigh went on to adopt her current dog Lucy, an eight pound Maltipoo, when she found her alone and in terrible condition on the street one afternoon randomly. After grooming her, feeding her, taking her to a vet, and looking for a family who might be looking for her, Kayleigh decided Lucy picked her.

Kayleigh has a nurturing nature and enjoys working for organizations that help others or that help animals. She has many years of experience working in the elder care field in addition to child care. Additionally, Kayleigh is a skilled performer, having traveled internationally for many years singing and playing piano in her own band. She is currently awaiting acceptance to graduate school to become a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist. She greatly appreciates the time she gets to spend with the animals working for Got Dogs.

chris kruss dog walkerChris Kruss

Tahoe Donner back up walker

Chris is a long-time Truckee local who’s lived in our area for almost 30 years. Dena has trusted Chris with her furry clients for over five years, as well as being a trusted friend and helpful neighbor.

Rest assured Chris knows our trails and will find the coolest spots for epic canine adventures each and every time. The proud owner of three adorable dogs of his own, Chris is a semi-retired salesman who’s always up for a robust Tahoe Donner outing— even if it’s last-minute!

Before moving to Truckee Chris spent his youth in the the Santa Cruz mountains and called the surrounding farms and ranches home. Chris’s favorite pastimes include fitness and motor sports and of course hiking — rain or shine — with a happy pack of dogs.

 

kelly boireKelly Boire

Truckee back up walker & sitter

Kelly has been an avid dog lover all her life.  Growing up, her family always had at least one dog, so she learned to care for them from an early age.  Moving to the Tahoe area almost 20 years ago, she continued to have dogs of her own.  She has taken them hiking, biking, kayaking and paddle boarding, enjoying their company and enthusiasm as an integral part of being outdoors.  She has trained her own dogs and studied dog psychology and behavior to better understand their needs and interests.  She strives to make good connections with dogs and provide companionship, care, and love to all the four-legged friends that she is entrusted with.

Liz O’Keefe (RIP)

Sept 13,1983-June 7, 2023

On the bike playing in the dirt. Toes in the sand as dreams come true. Heart at home near the sea. Sailing on snowflakes past the trees. Forever alive in our hearts