By Lindsay Stordahl
About three years ago, I was working 10-hour days and I felt so bad leaving my dog, Ace, home all day. So I started a new business: running dogs. I average 15 miles a day now, although most of my outings with dogs are about 3 miles or so each.
I know—it’s a lot. But I’ve always done all sorts of sports, including swimming and rugby. And although I was never into running, now I run marathons.
I run all kinds of dogs—some big, some small. Some are really overweight, so I take it easy with them. I charge $25 an hour and $18 a half hour; each extra dog is $5 more.
Sometimes I go to people’s houses and they’re home–they just don’t want to walk their dogs. But usually I’m taking pets out for a run because their owners are working in an office all day, like I was before I started my business.
When I take the dogs out, I always keep them on a leash, just in case. Some are crazy pullers. Most dogs start out fast but then adjust to my speed (about nine minutes per mile). I take the dogs to parks, in the street, wherever. It doesn’t really matter, but I definitely like to mix it up.
Here in Fargo, ND, where I live, it gets cold. Sometimes I show up and the owner decides it’s too cold to take the dog out. Other owners put sweaters on their pups and let us go. But I always show up, no matter what. There’s no real cutoff for me, though minus 25⁰ F is pretty cold! I can run in the snow, but sidewalks are usually cleared here. In the summer, some breeds tend to overheat, so I have to be careful. But as a rule, I think just getting out and moving is good for dogs.
If you need to exercise your dog but don’t have the time or ability to do so, it’s great to hire someone like me. If you are thinking about hiring a dog runner, schedule a meet-and-greet. You should feel comfortable with the runner handling your dog and potentially visiting your house when you are not home.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the right person to exercise your dog:
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