Do you #GoDogRunnin? This local business started in Halifax in 2013 as a dog running service. In three years the business has had impressive growth and support, and now provide a range of services and products that take a proactive approach to canine health, wellbeing and fitness.
DogRunnin not only provides tailored services based on your dog’s age, breed, and mobility, they are Atlantic Canada’s premiere retailer for athletic dog gear.
Read on to learn more about this great local business. We’re proud to partner with them for the 5th Annual Local Wishlist!
“It was a happy accident, really.”
In 2013, Sarah, the owner of DogRunnin, was working part time and needed something else on the side. She and her dog, Pippy, would frequently run together at the park. On one of those runs, she was asked if she’d consider taking other dogs for a run.
“My initial reaction was no,” Sarah says.
But the request was the first of many, and as inquiries continued, she eventually agreed.
She initially took on clients on a part time basis. But good ideas spread fast, and within six months, demand for DogRunnin had exploded. She went full time in 2014, and by mid-year, she hired her first employee.
Today, DogRunnin employs a team of local staff, many full time, who run, walk, and care for their canine clients, and teach interested owners to run with their dogs.
“It happened quite quickly. It’s all a little bit of a blur,” Sarah says.
Over the past three years, DogRunnin services have continued to grow and evolve. The team decide what new services to offer by listening to their customer base and creating new programming based on demand.
They added training programs (canicross lessons and run clubs) to teach Nova Scotians how to run with their dog, and extended their hours and care options.
“We evolved our services to be able to accommodate people who are working shift work and need someone to be there early in the mornings or into the evenings.” Sarah says.
They have also expanded the types of care they offer to include services that range from a simple let out to extended care options for owners who are travelling or who just need extra support for a period of time.
This year, they also opened a small retail store in Halifax’s North End.
“Everything is geared to being active and outdoors with your dog. It’s not a traditional pet store in that sense,” Sarah says.
At the DogRunnin shop, you’ll find harnesses specifically designed for running. They allow a full range of motion for the dog rather than constricting movement. An ergonomic run for the dog means it is not going to end up with any long term injuries that can result from running with improper form or from running with restricted movement.
“You don’t have to be into dog sports to have the benefit of that,” she says.
Sarah doesn’t just know the products in store, in some cases she’s helped design them. She has an ongoing relationship with Nahak (based in Quebec), helping them design and tweak a hands-free leash.
They also carry padded collars, shampoos and other dog care items, and hands-free systems in-store. And while many of the shop items are great for all dog owners, they also carry professional level canicross belts and lines for canicross or skijoring.
What Makes Them Unique:
As they say at DogRunnin, why walk when you can run? For dogs, running is a proactive approach to health.
“We see in humans that obesity rates are rising and people are becoming more sedentary, and we see the exact same thing is happening with dogs. So keeping on top of your dog’s weight and their fitness has an incredibly dramatic impact in terms of their long term health,” she says.
And while proper exercise is important for dogs, Sarah thinks exercising with your dog is “like a magic bullet”.
“We know that physical fitness is incredibly good for mental health. We also know that animals are really good for mental health. So there are benefits for the dog, and then there are benefits for us as humans, too,” she says.
In fact, Sarah cites studies have shown that people who are physically active with their dog actually meet more of their health targets than people who do not.
With canicross specifically, you work as a team with your dog towards the same goal.
“It’s incredibly good for the dog in terms of their mental health. They know this is what they’re desgined to do and this is what you are asking them to do and you’re giving them positive feedback, and that comes back at you,” Sarah says.
Why Buy Local?
“You are investing in a person. And you’re investing in the opportunity for someone to build a life here in Nova Scotia. The opportunity for people to build a life here, if that’s what they choose, is really important,” Sarah says.
And it doesn’t just impact the life of one business owner.
“The money that gets invested into a small business stays in the local community in a much greater way than it does with a larger scale business,” Sarah says.
She also believes that local small businesses like hers can offer a strong connection between the customer and the product. In investing in Canadian small businesses for the products carried in store, the DogRunnin team also have a close relationship with the makers.
“If I have a question or someone has a question about a product I pick up the phone or send a text message and am able to get a response right away. We have a real relationship with (our suppliers),” Sarah says.
What To Look For During the Holidays!
DogRunnin have a few special packages that are only available during the holiday season. Like their Holiday Party Package, designed to help care for your canine during seasonal gatherings and get togethers.
The party package includes a check-in the night of your party, so you don’t have to call it an early night to fit in that bedtime walk. In the morning, the DogRunnin team will pick up your pup and take them for a group run.
“You can sleep in, you can have your coffee in a relaxing setting and they will come back tired and ready to snuggle,” Sarah says.
They also have an introduction package, perfect if you are looking to try DogRunnin out, or give some health and happiness to a friend. It includes five services (three runs and two let outs), and is a great way to give your dog a little exercise boost during this busy season.
And if you are resolution planning, or just looking to keep you and your dog fit during the holidays, check out Club DogRunnin.
“Our run club meets on Thursday nights. It’s open to anyone at any point and time that they want to come. And if you’re nervous just come on out, the runs are free and it’s a really good time,” Sarah says.
You’ll find lots of great gifts and services to keep your canine healthy and happy this season on the DogRunnin website, but here are a few of our favourite gifts:
The Local Wishlist is made possible by our Presenting Partner:
And a fantastic group of local partners:
And Our Friends of the Wishlist: