Ground Floor: Cedar Rapids business puts priority on pet wellness

Service helps busy pet owners care for their dogs

George Ford
Published: December 31 2013 | 6:00 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:28 am in
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Mike and Martha Krejci believe that physical fitness is just as important to pets as it is to their human companions.

That conviction led to the formation of their new business, Best Friends Dog Walkers.

“I’ve always believed dogs should have a good fitness program,” said Mike Krejci, who has owned dogs his whole life. “Studies have shown that just 20 minutes of exercise a day can add a couple of years to a dog’s life. That’s like 14 years to a dog.”

Best Friends Dog Walkers is a full-service dog walking business for people who are too busy or physically unable to walk their dogs.

Unlike a kennel or dog “day care” facility, Best Friends Dog Walkers travels to clients’ homes in Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities to take their dogs for scheduled 20-, 40- or 60-minute walks. Walks may be scheduled on a one-time or recurring basis.

“A lot of our clients are gone during the work day,” Mike said. “We’ll go to their house at the set time, walk the dog, pick up any poop, and bring the dog back home.”

The Krejcis initially established Best Friends Dog Walkers in October to give Mike a break during the work day. He was working full-time at the couple’s other business, a web development company, but did not like sitting at the computer all day long.

“Now he’s spending more time walking dogs,” Martha said, noting that she has taken on more of the web development work.

“It’s the perfect job for me,” Mike added. “I love dogs and I love to exercise. It’s the perfect way to spend my day.”

Best Friends Dog Walkers has no limitations on the size or breed of dogs that the business will accommodate.

“I’ve never met a dog I couldn’t handle,” Mike said.

The business employs additional dog walkers besides Mike, meaning that it generally can work around client requests for particular time slots.

While the hours of operation are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, it will entertain requests for special Saturday and holiday scheduling.

While developing their business model, the Krejcis sought to make the scheduling process as easy as possible for clients.

“One of the great things about us is that people can contact us in many different ways,” Mike said, noting that walks can be scheduled by phone, email, or web-based form.

As an additional service to clients, the Best Friends Dog Walkers website includes a listing of pet-friendly businesses and apartment complexes in the area.

“We already have a strong pet community in Cedar Rapids,” Mike said. “We are trying to solidify that and make our website a hub of information for pet owners.”

The Krejcis said they hope eventually to convert the business to a non-profit organization to support local no-kill animal shelters.

At a glance

  • Owners: Mike and Martha Krejci
  • Business: Best Friends Dog Walkers
  • Email: walk@comewalkmydog.com
  • Phone: (319) 538-3834
  • Website: www.comewalkmydog.com

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