So many dog owners don’t have time to properly exercise their pups, but they often mistakenly think that hiring a dog walker to take their four-legged friend out for a quick whizz is enough to stimulate their canines. For most it’s not, which leads to destroyed shoe collections and chewed up pillows (I’m looking at you Milo!).
Last week we introduced you to Sunny. I don’t know about you, but when I read about his mum’s dog running company, Trailblazing Tails, I wanted to know more.
Tricia Dunn fell in love with trail running when she moved to Los Angeles and found the perfect running companions in the two dogs she was living with at the time. “While hitting up the trails one day with them, it dawned on me that I could actually do something that I love, and maybe, just maybe, make some money doing it,” Dunn tells Pawesome. She posted an ad on Craigslist offering her dog running services and by the next morning she had her first client. “They are still with us today, after almost six years.”
Since starting Trailblazing Tails in 2007, Dunn’s services have become so popular that she’s been allowed to hire a team of runners that help tire out her clients. Each takes out three to four dogs on 40 to 50 minutes runs (with five to 10 minute warm ups and cool downs) either on dirt trails or through quiet neighborhoods. If the heat is too oppressive, runs are shortened to light jog. “On a typical day, I would do three runs, but there were days that I’d do four,” says Dunn. “My running shoes were being replaced once a month.”
Because of both city laws and safety concerns, all dogs are leashed unless the pup parent signs a consent form allowing their k-9 off leash in permitted areas. Dunn tells Pawesome that pups that benefit most from a dog running service like Trailblazing Tails are hunting and herding breeds, though she adds that almost any dog can benefit. ”We have a mighty miniature pinscher client who, until recently, ran faster and longer than our cattledog client who is three years younger, and one of our quickest clients was a 10 year old golden. He’s now 11 and goes out on hikes instead.” Dunn recommends that short-nosed breeds, like bulldogs, not use a dog running service as it can get tough for them to breath while trying to keep up.
Dunn’s recent move to Portland has allowed her to expand her company to the Northwest. “It was bittersweet leaving LA, but I have never been to a city that is more dog friendly than Portland! It only make sense to expand here – these people are doggone crazy!”
Like all jobs, there are good days and bad. ”The job is physically and mentally demanding – some days are rainbows, zebras and pussycats, while others are filled with distraction, pee-mailing, sniffing, unruly pups, body aches, pouring rain and a smelly car…oh, and more body aches.” Luckily Dunn can curl up with her sweet Sunny at the end of the day and give her muscles a little break before the next run.