Madeleine and Riley like to go out regularly for 2-4 mile runs, even in the dead of winter. What might surprise you about the pair is that they aren’t training for a marathon – they’re dogs. Boxer siblings Madeleine, 4, and Riley, 3, go out with Mandy McGowen and Julie Totino, also known as the Brooklyn Dog Runners.
Friends and business partners, McGowen, 28, and Totino, 26, founded their fledgling company in September, after the two found themselves mutually bemoaning their lack of work in the current market. They bonded over their love of running and their run of dogs, and decided to try their hand at a dog running business. “It just kind of made sense,” Totino tells PEOPLEPets.com.
Ryan Jensen, dad to Madeleine and Riley, has been utilizing the running service for four months, and has nothing but positive reviews. “The prices were initially more than I wanted to spend,” Jensen, who’s not a runner, says, “but when I saw how exhausted and happy they were when I came home that day, I realized it was something that I wanted to do a lot more of.” Jensen’s pooches were much better behaved after their runs, and he was especially pleased with the personal attention McGowen and Totino gave Riley, who is deaf: they learned his sign language to accommodate him.
Totino says that some of their clients are hyperactive or don’t get along with other dogs, or have owners that are gone for much of the day. “Owners take a lot of peace of mind in knowing that someone doesn’t just come and take their pet out to go to the bathroom, but actually exercises with them,” McGowen says.
The Brooklyn Dog Runners, who charge $30 for a 30 minute run, $40 for 45 minutes, think that they’ll be able to turn their business into a career, indefinitely. They’ve definitely got a lot of interest. Totino says, “We get e-mails almost every week by people who want to come work with us.”