|Billie Mendoza, Owner of Paw Joggers,
with her German Shepherds
Between work, soccer practice, and making dinner, a long walk with the pup keeps falling further down the totem pole. That’s where Paw Joggers can help.
When Billie Mendoza, Founder and Owner of Paw Joggers, retired from airline management in 2008 she decided to find a hobby that would go well with her healthy lifestyle. After two months of retirement, Mendoza came across an article on Runner’s World that caught her attention. The article featured major cities around the country that had dog running programs in place. “I really liked the idea of a having a local dog running program and I wanted to start one here in Cincinnati,” says Mendoza.
The concept of turning the idea into reality felt natural for the Mendoza who is a dog-lover and experienced runner — a Flying Pig Marathon participant for the last 16 years in fact. Mendoza began volunteering at the local SPCA by helping the sheltered pets find loving homes. She also began taking courses in pet fitness and care.
In May 2009, Mendoza officially launched Paw Joggers with its first location. “We did very well when we opened,” Mendoza recalls. “After the first year, I had to hire more people because we needed help.” With services ranging from running, walking, home visits, and transportation, Paw Joggers created a large customer base.
Then, when she added the option of overnight stays, Paw Joggers began to boom. “When we began offering overnight stays, the business really took off,” Mendoza recalls. This service became very popular particularly with clients who wanted to plan a vacation. In addition, Paw Joggers now provides exercise sessions lasting 30 or 45 minutes, fresh water breaks and refills, food refill (if necessary), text or email photo and visit overview, and email activity report.
With the opening of a second location in August 2013, Paw Joggers continues to grow at a rapid pace. “The greatest joy is being outdoors and there is no happier client than a happy dog,” Mendoza says. The two locations service customers in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area and the other in Mason/North Cincinnati area.
According to Mendoza, there are 40 regular clients between the two locations and 120 sporadic clients who utilize their services throughout the year. With holiday seasons being fully booked and a steady clientele growth, Mendoza is now looking to expand even further. “We are looking into the idea of hiring Regional Managers with the opportunity of owning their own location,” she explains.
But it’s not just about business for Mendoza. In July 2013, she founded the Paw Joggers Animal Community Fund (Paw Joggers ACF), a nonprofit organization that supports local animal rescues. As a 2014 Bad Girl Ventures Top 10 Finalist, Mendoza hopes to participate as an alumni to support other women-owned small businesses. Supporters will have the opportunity to join Mendoza and the Paw Joggers team for the 2nd annual Paw Joggers Rescue Run, on October 19th at Sharon Woods Park. “We take great pride in our reliability and reputation and it feels good that our customers appreciate our work,” exclaims Mendoza.