This article is a part of our encyclopedia, and is editable by you. Edit ➜
No early career info added yet...
Bike Tow Leash
Mike started Bike Tow Leash in 2003. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Bike Tow Leash?
I am a mechanical engineer graduate from Georgia Tech. My wife Betsy, GA Tech EE graduate, and I met her first day at school. We married after graduation. We have two daughters Jessica and Sam. After GA Tech I developed airline products up until when the 9-11 terrorist attacks occurred.
After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Betsy and the girls, then 5 and 8, met Cindy at Publix getting groceries. She had a black Lab puppy in a light blue cape with her. From that encounter, my family and I volunteered raising service dog puppies for individuals with disabilities as a way of giving back to our community and country. In honor of those lost, we named our first puppy Tribute.
Raising service dog puppies is a wonderful volunteer opportunity, which ultimately provides companion animals to individuals who suffer from seizures, or who have mobility, vision or hearing impairments.
As trainers, we raise, train and socialize puppies until they are ready for graduate school. For socialization, we take the puppies, in a service cape, to work, stores, restaurants, schools, theme parks, etc.to expose them to a variety of situations. This prevents unpleasant surprises after they have been assigned to a client who is depending on them to do their job without being distracted.
At about 6 months of age our first dog Tribute, now a tall long-legged black Labrador, had more energy than I did when we went out walking or running. With all her puppy energy, we needed to make sure Tribute exercised strenuously before we went out to eat. Since bad behavior is often a result of a lack of exercise and dogs in training are supposed to lie down and sleep under the table, not stand and upset dinner I was looking for an answer.
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. As a result of Tribute's need for speed, and my more limited energy levels, I got the idea to combine the fun of biking (for me) with the fun of running (for Tribute).
Given my understanding of both physics and dog behavior, and concern for both my safety and the dog's safety, I knew better than to attempt riding Tribute with a regular leash. (Much later I did attempt riding with a regular leash, made it less than a mile, and still have the scars!)
As a product development engineer, I was accustomed to doing my homework when attempting something new. First, I checked on-line to determine whether there was a product available which made it safe to ride a bicycle with a dog.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater