Animal Instincts

A random conversation changes a Studio City resident’s life—inspiring her to make a career out of her love of pets.

Ask anyone on the trails of Runyon Canyon about Julia, and chances are they will either know her or know of her. Leading a pack of up to 10 dogs, two to three times a day, draws some attention—especially if you’re a pretty, friendly blonde.

In fact, Julia Freedman is known as the Mayor of Runyon or, as some call her, Queen of the Canines. She is a passionate, professional dog walker, but it wasn’t always that way. 

Several years back, Julia found herself burned out with her job as a high-end event planner. From music award shows and parades to weddings and book launches, Julia had to be on-site tending to each and every detail.

The stress impacted her health, hinting that it was time for change. “I was sick all the time. Since I’ve been walking dogs, I haven’t been sick at all—for years.”

The catalyst came when a car tragically hit her own dog. “It was awful, but it made me think about what was really important.”

Julia quit her job and starting frequenting the dog park. Mourning the loss of her yellow lab, Eddie, she found solace in playing with the dogs there. One day, sparked by a conversation with someone she’d just met, Julia got the idea to start a dog walking company.

“Being outside all day, walking, training and taking care of dogs, just sounded like a dream,” she shares. And so the spunky, young German native became a real life Dr. Dolittle.

Julia claims the best thing about her new career is being appreciated—by her human and canine clients. And she raves about the positive mental shift her new career has sparked in her and in others.

“I think I have a following. Sometimes I have as many people walking with me as I have dogs. We like to talk. I’m even considering getting certified to counsel. Then I’d be legitimate!”