Aged 28, Eileen Riley had an enviably glamorous life; her globe-trotting career as a diplomat took her from the corridors of power at the White House to postings in Cameroon and Papua New Guinea, and finally, London where she decided to jack it all in to become a professional dog-sitter.
As you do.
In fact her diplomatic skills were to prove invaluable in her new career.
Secrets of a Pet Nanny is a fabulous and very funny collection of tales about the dogs she has looked after, from pedigree puppies to rare Tibetan terriers.
Riley is a true dog devotee but that does not prevent her casting a caustic eye over her charges and their devoted owners.
Secrets of a Pet Nanny was published by Elliott and Thompson in October 2013.
I've never owned a dog, in fact I've always been a little bit wary of dogs. I was once bitten by a Corgi. Yes, I know, one of the smallest breeds, but it frightened the life out of me and made a real mess of my leg. I was ten years old and the very next day I went on a school trip to see how Police dogs are trained .... I was traumatised! I do love animals though, including dogs, and over the years I've got to know some lovely dogs. My favourite is a lovely little Jack Russell called Sally who sadly is no longer with us, but she was a very special lady.
Eileen Riley has always loved dogs and her passion shines through in this lovely memoir. Eileen changed career, quite drastically. She was once a diplomat, travelling the world to all sorts of exotic locations, dealing with people from all walks of life, but when she settled in London she gave it up and become a Pet Nanny.
I'll admit that I didn't know such people existed before I read Eileen's book, but what a great service she and the other Nannies provide. Adoring dog owners can go off on their holidays and leave their bundle of joy in Eileen's capable hands, knowing that they will be safe and well cared for.
The first couple of chapters are an introduction to Eileen and her previous career, and are followed by individual chapters about each of the dogs that have stayed in her home. Eileen has looked after almost every breed of dog that there is, from the tiniest ones who fit in the palm of her son's hand, to the huge beasts who seem to grow and grow. Each one of these doggy visitors have their own personalities, their own likes and dislikes, what not to do, and what you really must do when they stay in your house.
Animal lovers will really enjoy this entertaining, well-written and lovingly written tale of life as a Pet Nanny. It would make a great gift, and is beautifully presented with each doggy chapter having a line drawing of the subject at the beginning.
I won my copy of Secrets of a Pet Nanny last year from Josie's fabulous blog Jaffareadstoo.... pop over and read Josie's review of the book too. Thanks Josie x
Eileen Riley is a professional pet nanny, writer and editor. Born in New York City, she went on to become an American diplomat with postings in Washington, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea and, finally, London. Having fallen in love with the city, she decided to stay and quit diplomacy for the greater challenge of watching other people's dogs. In her spare time, she has been the director of an international news agency, raised two children, gained a black belt in karate and learned how to play several notes on a flute. Secrets of a Pet Nanny is her first book. She lives in south west London with her family and regular canine guests.
She blogs at http://notwarandpeace.wordpress.com. Twitter @EileenRileyArms