Out with Dog Walkers, In with Dog Runners?
This caught me attention and kind of gave me a laugh because I can understand only too well to a degree what this couple went through.
Filled with trepidation about being tied down, Mary Turner and her husband, Richard Shein, decided to put off parenthood awhile and see how they did with a dog. Turner, a lawyer, found Bingo, “a darling cinnamon-colored puppy,” trembling in a cage at an animal shelter near their home in San Bernardino, Calif.
Shein, an investment banker, said, “We were smitten, but six months later the cute and meek puppy was the size and had the demeanor of a full-grown male cougar.”
Bingo was an insomniac who routinely broke out of his crate around 4 a.m. He would find a chew toy or mouse — a live one — and plop it onto the sleeping head of Turner or Shein.
“Another night he escaped and then tore up hundreds of toilet paper rolls into tiny bits that covered the house,” she said.
“We thought ‘dog tired’ referred to the dog, but no,” Shein said.
The couple consulted a veterinarian, explaining that they took Bingo on morning and evening walks and that a dog walker came at noon, but the vet said: “Walks aren’t enough for many dogs. Big, energetic dogs need lots of exercise. Bingo needs to run.”
The Shein-Turners were not runners, but a neighbor, a college student, was. Shein begged him to take Bingo out.
“Now Bingo runs with him almost every day,” he said. “We pay $20, which is double the cost of the dog walker, but after his run, Bingo has dinner and falls into a deep, luxurious sleep.”And so do we,” Turner said.
Now it seems that ‘dog runners’ are becoming more ‘in’. Dogs, especially larger or more energetic breeds definitely need exercise and alot of it! Without the proper exercise, dogs can become destructive and problematic.
Walkers left in the dust“Dog running went from unheard of to uber-hip,” said William Sharp, a dog walker in San Francisco. “People like telling their friends, ‘I have to leave a key for Fifi’s dog runner.’ It’s far more sexy than ‘dog walker,’ which is so yesterday.” His business is down because, he said, “The runners are literally leaving me in the dust.”
Hiring a dog runner isn’t merely fashionable. “Many people have come to understand that their dog needs more exercise than they can provide,” said Dr. Monica Clare, a critical care specialist at the Animal Surgical and Emergency Center in Los Angeles. “Dog walking is fine, but some dogs need more exercise. Dog runners provide it.”
Seth Chodosh, a founder of Running Paws in Manhattan, has 150 dog-running clients a week, and his business is increasing 20 percent a year. “Some people call us because their dog is overweight and needs to lose pounds,” Chodosh said. “Others’ dogs are too hyper and need to run off excess energy.”
Some deskbound owners dispatch their pets to run miles that they can’t. “In some cases, people do for their dogs what they don’t do for themselves,” said Josh Schermer, founder of nycdogrunners.com, also in Manhattan. “They know they should go to the gym. They should eat better. They should run. So they have their dog do it.”
Guess it will be interesting to really see how much this catches on 😀
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