Life as most of us know it is being severely disrupted by the restrictions and common-sense guidelines being put forth in nearly every community in order to slow the spread of covid-19. Are there any “winners” in this strange new world? Many of our dogs, it turns out, are benefitting from having their owners working from home or caring for kids whose schools and daycare centers have closed. I know of many dogs who are getting more walks and much more family time than ever.
On the other hand, many people whose livelihoods are dependent on dog-related businesses are definitely worried. I am seeing a lot of angst in the social-media feeds of dog trainers, walkers, groomers, daycare, and boarding facilities. Many dog owners are canceling services and appointments, either because their travel has been suspended or because they are self-quarantining, or just to protect themselves from possibly being exposed to the virus in public places.
(I know that there are MANY people whose livelihoods are taking a big hit right now; I’m speaking only about dog-related businesses because that’s in my wheelhouse!)
What you can do to help
I know of many small and micro dog-related business owners and employees who are suffering major hardships at this time. I’d like to promote a suggestion I’ve seen elsewhere: If your income or job is stable and your income is NOT taking a hit due to the various virus-containment strategies in place, consider sending a check to the dog walker, groomer, or trainer you would have ordinarily seen during this time. Consider it a holiday bonus!
The only dog-related businesses that I’m aware of that are doing well at the moment? I know that companies who sell food and other supplies online are getting buried in orders; many are announcing that there will be delays from their usual prompt delivery times. Also: Trainers who teach using video or live-streaming. Many trainers are switching to that format to keep their income (and their clients’ education) on track. If you are stuck at home and bored, and your dog could use some training, consider asking your trainer if she’s set up for a video consultation. Or book a training appointment with a professional on the other side of the country! This is a perfect time to get access to people who ordinarily would be too busy to book online appointments with out-of-the-area clients.
At last word, health officials still approve of people getting outdoor exercise, as long as they maintain a distance of six feet away from other humans who are not members of their household. You know what else is six feet long? The best leash for walking your dog! If you are stressed by the news, we’d like to recommend a long walk with your dog outdoors (as long as you are feeling well).
Hang in there, wash your hands, order your dog’s food earlier than usual, and take care!