Have you seen the dog-powered scooter? Local girl develops exercise rig for high-energy dog
If you saw Alayna Eldred zipping around Osakis this summer, it's likely you did a double take.
The contraption she rides around on is worth another look - it's a unique rig that exercises her high-energy dog, Molly.
Eleven-year-old Alayna and her dad, Jon, customized a scooter that allows Molly to work off some of that energy.
"My dad and I saw this type of thing on TV and thought we could work on our own version of it so Molly could pull us on a scooter," Alayna explained.
The dog-powered scooter is a children's scooter modified to fit a side bracket that the dog is attached to and then runs alongside the scooter.
The Eldreds had a special harness made for Molly. The dog's harness clips right into the side bracket.
When they're zipping down the trail, it looks like Molly's in a sidecar, but Molly is the "motor."
Molly is a Brittany spaniel, a breed known for its excess of energy.
Sharon, Alayna's mom, said, "When we'd take Molly for a walk she would pull us and she didn't get the adequate exercise that kind of dog needs.
"Now, she's a much calmer dog after she exercises," she said.
Twice a day, Alayna takes Molly out with the dog-powered scooter.
"Molly knows when it's time to go," Alayna said, "she comes over to me and it's like she's saying, 'OK, let's go.' "
Molly wasn't quite so gung-ho at first.
"The first time, she was scared. Eventually, as the days progressed, she got a little more confident and learned to run next to [the scooter]."
Not a day goes by when someone doesn't smile, point or give them a thumbs-up.
Alayna usually takes the dog-powered scooter to the Central Lakes Trail so they can really get some good speed on a straight stretch.
However, because Molly has the instinct of a "bird dog," there was a near-crash that Alayna recalled. "She saw a bird and wanted to chase it, but I grabbed the brakes and stopped."
Alayna and her dad tackle a project together each winter, things like building a fish house or deer stand, and last winter they built the scooter.
This was the first summer Alayna has used her dog-powered scooter.
Alayna is a home-schooled 6th grader and her mom said building the scooter was a great project for school.
"I think the best way for a child to learn is hands-on," Sharon said.
Alayna is a young entrepreneur, as well. She has a dog care business, helping dog owners with feeding and walking their dog while they're away.
Follow Amy Chaffins on Twitter at @theosakisreview.