Dog walking as exercise in Palm Beach County
by Jane Smith
Meet John Hirsekorn, a professional dog walker in the Palm Beaches.He and his wife Jana run Village Pet Pals out of their West Palm Beach home.
Hirsekorn says his wife hooked him on the dog walking business about 10 years ago when she retired from the state and found her pension just wasn’t enough to meet her needs. They are both dog lovers, so the business just grew to where they both make a comfortable living from walking and boarding dogs.
“Now that I walk dogs, I don’t have to take any crap,” he jokes, “I just have to pick it up.”They own one dog, Sasha, a black/white Poodle mix that is a 5-year-old female. They also had five other dogs staying with them last week. The five are owned by their dog-walking customers.
Ninety-five percent of a dog’s problems can be cured with a walk, John Hirsekorn says, following the Dog Whisperer‘s creed of exercise, discipline and affection. He calls the walks, “doggercise,” because he walks about 1 mile each time.
Over the course of one day, he estimates he walks 8-10 miles. He and his wife charge between $20 and $25 a visit, depending on whether the dog lives in their Andros Isle community or he has to drive over to Palm Beach.
They have been involved with DogVacay website for one month and see it as another way to spread their love of dogs and make extra cash. On DogVacay, the Hirsekorns charge $55 a night to board a dog.
DogVacay is a start-up service that began in California by two dog lovers who wanted to find a better place to board their dogs, other than a kennel.
Click here to watch a video explaining how the service works.
DogVacay makes its money by taking a fee of between 5-15 percent from the hosts, says co-founder Karine Nissim Hirschhorn. “There is no fee to the customer. In fact, the average price on our site is $22 per dog per night — which is over a 50 percent savings to the average priced kennel, not to mention a superior experience for both human and dog!”
As seen in the Palm Beach Post blog, 8/15/2012