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About 18 years ago, Sharie Thompson and Kath Allen met while working in the corporate world — they became instant friends through their mutual love of dogs and the outdoors.
“We always had this dream to do something with dogs,” Thompson said.
So, fast forward to 2016, during which time Stephen Hillen joined in on the dream, and Hike Doggie was formed.
Hike Doggie is a new Jefferson County-based business for dog owners to ensure their dogs are active and happy by providing weekly hiking opportunities.
Hike Doggie is bonded and insured, and each of the human hikers earned dog walking certification through dogtec, a business and marketing support organization for the dog industry.
In addition, Thompson and Allen say they’ve attended conventions to learn about the industry and how different pet associations operate.
“People love their dogs,” Allen said. So “it’s all about the dogs. I love that we’re providing a valuable service.”
There are a lot of different reasons why people can benefit from Hike Doggie, the women said. Some have busy schedules, live in a residence without a proper outdoor area for a dog to play, travel often or have physical ailments.
When a person has to leave a dog in the house all day during work, “dog parents can start to feel guilty,” Allen said. “A whole workday, in dog minutes, is a very long time. It’s a less stressful situation when they’re out in nature with a pro dog hiker.”
Hikes occur in Jefferson County Open Space parks, and usually last for about a half-day — approximately four or five hours including the hike, pick-up and drop-off. Dogs are picked up at their residence by the Hike Doggie team in the Hike Bus, which is custom-designed for dogs’ comfort during travel time. Although based in Jeffco, the Hike Bus can pick up dogs from anywhere in the Denver-metro area.
For now, hikes are offered twice a day — morning and afternoon — Monday through Friday year-round, but the business is looking to expand its hours to include weekends this fall.
People may sign their dogs up for weekly hikes, or even every day. There is no contract, however, to use the service, people must sign their dogs up to hike at least once a week.
The purpose, Allen said, is to get the dogs on a “recurring hike schedule.”
Hike Doggie is designed to accommodate hikes for most dogs, Thompson said. The Hike Doggie team meets with dog owners to make sure everything is a good fit, then dog owners sign their dog up for one of three speeds: stroll-n-sniff, carefree jaunt or leg it out. People also choose for their dog to hike with doggie pals or party of one. Maximum capacity for a doggie pals group is four dogs per Hike Doggie human.
Hikes are paid for by the outing — doggie pals costs $65 per hike, and a party of one costs $85 per hike.
Hike Doggie has already been accepting dog clients and taking hikes, but it officially launched on May 2, and will celebrate at its Sniff ‘n Social event 2-6 p.m., May 14, at Lions Park, 1300 10th St., in Golden.
“It’s a dog party,” Thompson said. “Dogs should bring their people.”
It is “very much dog-centric,” she added, but community members who don’t have dogs will also have a good time — there will human treats including hors d’oevres and beer and wine, plus games, contests and the unveiling of the winners of the Hike Bus Model Contest, which occurred through April 30. The event is free and family-friendly.
Thompson takes her dog out for hikes in the Conifer area most every weekend. She enjoys the tail wagging, licks and dog smiles when a dog gets to “have an awesome day,” she said.
Allen lives in downtown Golden, and said that for years she has been taking her dog — and the dogs of friends and neighbors — for early-morning hikes on Jeffco trails.
“This is Colorado,” she said, “the outdoors and making dogs happy.”
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