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Have you seen the dog-powered scooter? Local girl develops exercise rig for high-energy dog

Alayna Eldred of Osakis enjoys scooter rides powered by her dog, Molly. Photo by: Amy Chaffin, Osakis Review1 / 2
If you're out on the Central Lakes Trail near Osakis, chances are you'll see these two - Alayna Eldred, 11, and her dog, Molly. Photo by: Amy Chaffins, Osakis Review2 / 2

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.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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