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Mobile dog gym helps Valley dogs stay in shape during summer heat

PHOENIX — With temperatures reaching triple digits and the Valley being under an excessive heat warning through Saturday night, it’s not safe to take your furry friends outside.

But they can still get a workout thanks to RunBuddy Mobile.

“We are a mobile dog gym, and we come to your place of business or your home,” said David Lopez, owner of RunBuddy Mobile. “We pull up in the air-conditioned safe confines of the mobile dog gym and give your dog a 30-minute customized fitness session.”

The gym is inside a van and has several treadmills designed especially for dogs. The non-motorized treadmills are all custom-built with safety features and help dogs build up endurance.

The rubber belt on the treadmills stand at a slight incline, which helps work out their back legs and hips.

Trial sessions are 30 minutes long and start at $30 per dog. A portion of every run gets donated to dog shelters and rescues across the Valley.

RunBuddy Mobile also does several visits to animal shelters and post videos of dogs on the the treadmills, hoping it will encourage people to adopt them.

Lopez started the company two years ago, after nearly two decades of dog training experience.

This week, he gave KTAR News 92.3 FM a demonstration of the treadmills with a German Shephard named Xena. He did several speed intervals in which he used a dog squeeze toy to encourage Xena to pick up her speed.

Danelle Gerischer of Phoenix is Xena’s owner. She has been using RunBuddy Mobile for nearly two years for her two German Shepherds, Xena and Zak. She said it’s their “once a week treat.”

“Basically on Thursdays they know around 2 o’clock they start getting really antsy and really excited” she said. “They go to the front door and start jumping around because they know RunBuddy is coming.

Gerischer said RunBuddy Mobile has helped Xena get in shape. It’s also had a big impact on her once-apprehensive dog, Zak, who was abused before she got him.

“Zak has really gotten help with his social skills,” she said. “He would never approach anybody. And after RunBuddy, he approaches people and he’s very interactive.”

“RunBuddy has changed my dogs’ lives,” she added.

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