Our mission at Ruff ‘n Tumble Playcare is straightforward and very simple. The health and well-being of all dogs in our care is our first and only priority! In our last dog-friendly business, we noticed that often people have their dogs “taken out for a mid-day bathroom break” while they are gone for the day or at work. While that helps to keep your house clean it doesn’t do much for your pooch in terms of exercise, stimulation, interaction or companionship. At Ruff ‘n Tumble your dog will have plenty of opportunities to engage in all kinds of activities under the care of our well-trained, dedicated staff of professionals. We promise to keep our dog-to-staff ratio low to ensure that the ultimate individual care and attention is provided to each and every dog. Our staff is here to ensure your dog’s safety and to provide an environment that is fun and enriching. Ruff ‘n Tumble’s staff will provide personalized care and exceptional service to our guests on four legs, as well as their two-legged parents
Sheri and Michael Helman ~ Owners
We are local residents and have been active members of the Merrimack Valley business community for over 20 years. Prior to starting Ruff ‘n Tumble Playcare, we were the owners of a local wine store. Our dog, Jake, came to work everyday and greeted all of our customers. Jake came to us from the MSPCA at Nevins Farm and was our first rescue dog. He took great care of us for 15 1/2 years. After Jake’s passing, we got Hannah who gladly stepped into the role that Jake had created. Observing Jake, and then Hannah grow up in the store’s stimulating environment, we quickly realized the wellness benefits of dogs who have regular social interaction. It was clear that dogs who are physically active and mentally engaged show many health benefits attributed to living this type of lifestyle. As a kid growing up, Sheri always wanted to work with dogs, but corporate life took her in another direction.
It was Jake’s adoption that planted the seed for a relationship between Michael and Sheri and the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. Our passion for dogs led us to create annual fundraising events resulting in over $150,000 for the shelter. Then in 2016, after selling the wine shop, the next obvious step was to work with dogs and help them live a better lifestyle. We decided to open a dog daycare because our animals have meant so much to us and we wanted to help others. In 2017, that decision led to the creation and opening of the only licensed daycare and kennel in North Andover, Ruff ‘n Tumble Playcare.
Our desire is to fill Ruff ‘n Tumble with other peoples’ dogs and make sure they get the love and care that all dogs deserve. Although Jake is no longer with us, he is the reason we are now doing something we love. His paws have been filled by Hannah and Fred, both rescue dogs that we now share our life with. Most importantly they keep that passion alive to help all dogs live as good a life as they do.
General Manager ~ Cherie Ann
Cherie has been with us from the beginning, we hired her even before we opened our doors. If you ask her she’ll tell you it’s always been about the animals for her, she has always had them in her life and at her side.
Currently “Groot” claims her as his mother along with his actual mother Xarhia and another big brother Zeus. Prior to joining us, Cherie has been an active member of various local kennel clubs and had worked in the doggie daycare industry for years.
After many years with a career in the “human” healthcare field she decided to follow her dreams of working with dogs full time.
Cherie went back to school to become a Licensed Massage Therapist certified in Canine Massage along with being a Reiki, level II practitioner where her healing skills have helped countless canines in need. Cherie is a huge asset to Ruff ‘n Tumble, both for her extensive working knowledge of dogs, their behavior & anatomy and her excellent organizational skills.
Training Manager ~ Kate (CPDT-KA)
Kate has joined us to build and manage the new Ruff ‘n Tumble training department. Not only is Kate is a daycare customer who believes in the benefits of socialization in a controlled and safe environment, but she also comes to us with a wealth of knowledge about everything “dogs”. Growing up, Kate’s home always had a dog and a cat, so it was no surprise that she wanted to do something with animals. When she was finally old enough, she began working at boarding kennels and veterinary hospitals. Along the way she found her true passion of dog training. She was always intrigued by the veterinary sciences world and eventually that led to a career path as a veterinary assistant and technician. She learned so much about dog behavior that she decided to explore dog training, too. She began this journey by apprenticing with dog trainers that utilized only positive reinforcement training methods. That was it, she was hooked. As a daycare manager, she diligently worked on the side to learn dog behavior and training techniques that she could utilize in the daily routines of the daycare.
In 2014, all of her years of knowledge and training culminated when she became a “Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed” (CPDT-KA®) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
Subsequently, she began teaching puppy classes and basic manners programs. Kate spearheaded “positive reinforcement” board and train programs at the daycare, while she continued to teach private and group classes. Kate admittedly loves teaching people how to better understand their dogs to further strengthen their relationships and bonds. When she is not working with other people’s dogs, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their 3 dogs enjoying the outdoors.
Sr. Dog Handler ~ Shyra
Shyra has been with us since we opened our doors in Jan ’17 but has been working with animals since she was 16 years of age. After having explored (and studied) many different area’s in the animal field she finally that caring for dogs in a Daycare setting is where her true passion fully shines.
Her experience includes everything from being a kennel technician at an animal hospital to working at a holistic pet store. She found that working at daycares/kennels quickly became her favorite. Learning about canine behavior is fascinating to her and she enjoys creating a safe, playful environment for the dogs to spend the day.
Her positive attitude and high energy helps her keep up with younger pups and enjoy the company of older pups. No matter the age of a dog they are always someone’s puppy. Shyra looks forward to meeting you and your canine family member at Ruff ‘n Tumble.
Dog Handler ~ Erin
Erin joined us in Feb ’20 (right before the pandemic) Since childhood she has always had an admiration for animals of all kinds. Growing up she was always with/around cats, guinea pigs and rabbits and now her pride and joy is her dog Zelda.
Right after high school, she decided to further her passion with animals and enrolled in North Shore Community College’s animal care program. She did all of this while starting her first dog daycare position.
Now here she is 9 years later, with an associate’s degree in applied science as an animal care specialist, years of hands on experience as a dog walker as well as working in dog daycare’s.
Dog Handler ~ Gina
Gina is our most recent hire, but despite her short tenure she is off to quick start. When she first applied for a job we saw that she had experience working at a grooming salon and a daycare. She also told us she owned a “few” animals and thought that experience would enable her to handle many situations. Litlle did we know that this included two 155 pound dogs named Rocco (an american bulldog) and Charlie (a rottwieller), two cats and a bird.
Right from the start we thought she was someone that could jump in and work well in the team. It wasn’t until after she started that we realized how quick that start would be.
Dog Handler ~ Holly
Holly joined us in Oct ’17 and is a multi-generational family of North Andover residents. Her two biggest passions are horses and dogs. When she’s not at Ruff ‘n Tumble she’s working at Windrush Farms a local therapeutic riding center.
She’s had a lifelong relationship with animals and has been involved in rescue work for dogs (and even horses) for years. Holly shares her life with 3 rescue dogs and 2 cats (along with her husband too).
Her most recent acquisition is a cat named Athena that her husband rescued while stationed in Korea. Hardly a goddess, Athena finds mischief every waking moment so her new name is “Trouble”.
Dog Handler ~ Lisa
Lisa joined the RnT team in Oct ’19 when she moved back to the area and we moved to our new location. She has been working in the dog care industry for 15+ years and as she says, “she can’t imagine doing anything else”.
If someone asked her, what is your passion? She would quickly respond “taking care of and loving every single dog I meet”.
Her own personal dog is Finn, a rat terrier mix. She will be the first one to tell you she has a special place in her heart for all of the dogs. Now that she has settled in here, that big heart of hers has gotten even bigger because of all the RnT dogs.