Hilton Head Humane to use modified recumbent bike to exercise shelter dogs

Hilton Head Humane Association will soon begin using a modified recumbent bike to exercise some of the shelter's high-energy residents.

“We have dogs here that are in need of regular bouts of physical activity to help them maintain their 'good dog' status,” said Hilton Head Humane Association executive director Franny Gerthoffer. “We noticed that when we had a few volunteers that ran with the dogs on a regular basis they were exceptional in their behavior. After the runners moved away from Hilton Head, we witnessed a significant decline in the dogs' 'good' behavior.”

Lacking sufficient human volunteers to provide the dogs with the additional exercise and activity needed to maintain their good behavior, Gerthoffer had to get creative, coming up with a solution that was both effective and cost effective. After considering a treadmill or a regular bike with dog attachments, she found it: a modified recumbent bike.

One of the association's silent donors provided not one, but two, recumbent bikes. The dog attachments that will be used to modify the bikes were donated by the shelter's dog trainer, Allison Armao, and James Bradford, owner of The Bike Doctor, will add the attachments to the bikes. Similar to a tricycle, the recumbent bike is low to the ground, with a big wheel on the front and two wheels on the back.

Gerthoffer is looking forward to using the bikes to provide high-energy shelter dogs with the extra attention and care they need.

“Since we are a no-kill shelter, there are a few dogs that seem to spend more time here before they get adopted,” she said. “These dogs are in need of more outside the kennel activity and human interaction. It breaks your heart to leave them here night after night and assuring them that their family will pick them soon, but some are overlooked for months and, unfortunately, years.”

For more information on Hilton Head Humane Association, call 843-681-8686, email Gerthoffer at director@hhhumane.org or visit www.hhhumane.org.