Chase your passion. We hear it all the time, that we should identify what excites us most and pursue it relentlessly. Some of us even get lucky enough to make a career of what we love, and then we never have to “work” a day in our lives. It isn’t all that easy, but Julie has found a way to prioritize her passions: running, dogs, and most importantly, family.
She and her husband Jeff have been married for over 15 years and have two ambitious children. CJ (11) loves climbing trees and enjoys playing football. Claire (13) is an aspiring dancer. She takes after her mother, as Julie was once a professional ballet dancer. They moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn from the suburbs of Philadelphia so that the family could be closer to Jeff’s job. Having Prospect Park close by has made that transition easier, with plenty of trees to climb and trails to run. And boy does Julie run!
I caught the bug while planning my wedding and haven’t stopped since.
It started with the Susan G. Komen 5K in Richmond, Virginia. Since then, she has run races of all distances, with over 20 half marathons and 15 full ones, including 5 consecutive Boston marathons! Last summer, she ran her fastest ever 5K and placed 1st among her age group at the Summer Series in Prospect Park. One way she prepares for races is by training with her beloved Vizsla “Alida”.
Julie and Jeff’s first dog was a shepherd mix named “Charlie” adopted from the SPCA. Though he was very ill and his prognosis was very bad, Charlie pulled through and became Julie’s running buddy for 13 years. The pair became a group of 3 and then 4 when Claire and CJ were born, with Charlie regularly trotting alongside a double stroller.
He was between 14 and 15 when he passed away and he had helped me through hundreds and hundreds of happy miles.
A year before losing Charlie, they adopted a Border Collie/Aussie mix and named her “April”. She was a runner’s dream, able to run 20 miles in the rain, sleet, snow or heat without tiring. Tragically, April passed away at just 3 years old due to an undetected brain tumor. Losing both dogs within 4 months of each other was devastating to Julie and the family. They did go on to adopt another rescue Border Collie “Lucky” but he did not mesh well with their busy lives in the suburbs, so Lucky went back to live a happy life with his original foster parents. Today, Alida and Max (a crazy, one-eyed cat) have forever changed their lives and are truly members of the family.
In addition to adopting from the SPCA, Julie is an avid supporter of rescue and no-kill shelters. Her children pitch in as well by raising money and collecting donations for the local humane society in their previous hometown – Salem County Humane Society. Claire is especially drawn to animals and will soon start volunteering at the Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn. Julie is also very proud of running 3 races while raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as part of the Team in Training program.
So when Jeff stopped by Coffee Bark (organized by FIDO) in Prospect Park this July, he took notice of a table with a sign that read “DogGo Dash Club – NYC’s #1 Dog Running Community”. After learning more about them, he was convinced this would be perfect for Julie who had been toying with the idea of becoming a dog walker. She immediately jumped at the chance to join the DogGo team, and continue chasing her passions.
I truly wanted to be able to run with some dogs, too. I love running with my own pup so much, and I see how much she loves it. Dogs are happiest when they are with a person who truly wants the best for them. I am excited to be a part of DogGo Dash Club and cannot wait to meet YOUR dog!