Justinia Holiat (MSEd '06)

Can tiny apartments and city living make a Rottweiler embarrassingly soft around the middle? Or, worse yet, stir-crazy and in need of a pet therapist? Many urban dog owners have come to the conclusion that a preventative exercise regime can fix what ails or may conspire to ail Fido. Hoping to answer this growing demand is recent School of Public Affairs graduate Justinia Holiat, who combined her love of running and of dogs to found the company Ruff Runners last summer. Ruff Runners competes for doggie dollars with other such high-end Manhattan-based canine services. Her staff of five competitive runners trains an average of 15 dogs per week.

In 2005 Americans spent $18.5 billion on pet care (not including pet food), with almost $900 million on training services. Pet care is big business in America—and is getting respect from, among others, the business press. A feature article on Holiat and Ruff Runners appeared in the Nov. 26 edition of the New York Sun.

So is there anything that Holiat learned in her Baruch master's-level education program that helps with her business and/or clientele? "If I hadn't gone to Baruch, I probably never would have realized my dream of being a business owner. I was lucky to have mentors at Baruch who consistently encouraged us to follow what we're passionate about. Hearing that advice over and over, I came to realize how important passion is in choosing a career path."

Interested in hiring a personal trainer for your pet? Visit Ruff Runners on the Web at www.ruffrunners.com or contact them at 1-877-Ruff-Runners or info@ruffrunners.com.


Photo by Heuichul Kim, by permission of the New York Sun newspaper