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‘Excited for the potential’: See Spot Run, a Bend mobile dog gym, plans to expand, keep more dogs in shape

(Update: adding video, comments from owner and client)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bad weather or families' busy schedules are not stopping some Central Oregon dogs from getting their exercise.

See Spot Run is a Bend mobile dog gym with non-motorized treadmills, allowing dogs to walk or run to their heart's content. Fitness sessions are brought right to the doorstep of those who sign up for the service.

Owner and operator Patches Howell created the business two years ago, inside of her van. The treadmills are specifically designed to accommodate various sizes of dogs, according to their website.

Victoria Ahrens has been using the service for her dog, Stanley, since last August.

"During that ice storm, Stanley couldn't even walk because, you know, all the snow was iced over," Ahrens said Tuesday. "And so I message Patches on a Saturday and asked her if she had any openings and she had a quick 30 minute opening and squeezed us in."

Ahrens says it's been a big help, as she recovers from her knee surgery.

"I'm unable to do all the activities that I used to do." she said. "Having Patches come to my house every Wednesday, in the middle of the week, helps give me a break. "

Howell says her son gave her the idea to start the business.

"My son told me about a company in Arizona that was actually offering this service to the public. That's when I knew I had to offer it to the Bend community as well," Howell said.

She's hoping to expand the business this year.

"We plan to hopefully purchase our second van and then, in fact, look to be hiring. So we're excited for the potential," Howell said.

Inside the van, there are carbon and HEPA air filters, and non-motorized 'flatmills' for dogs to walk or run on.

"It's climate-controlled." Howell said. "We keep it pretty much in the range of about 50 degrees to 61."

Dogs get to run on the flatmills for 30 minutes during appointments. Prices vary from $40 to $60 per session, depending on whether a customer is bringing one or two dogs.

Ahrens says she's noticed a lot of positive changes with her dog after he started the fitness sessions.

"He's become more lean, and his stamina is a lot better," she said.

Howell emphasizes that exercise isn't just crucial for a dog's physical well-being, but also plays a significant role in their mental health.

"It is a confidence-builder, for sure." she added. "It's an aerobic exercise. So it not only for physical needs, like building muscle and keeping joints mobile -- it's also great for anxiety, stress and building confidence as well."

Howell says she hopes to hire more employees by the winter.

Article Topic Follows: Pets

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Jillian Fortner

Jillian Fortner is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jillian here.


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