To our Harmonious Hounds Family:
First and foremost, we hope this message finds you, your family, and friends in good health and spirits. The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is looming large over our lives and we are seeing disruption in ways most of us have never imagined. We want to reach out to each and every one of you during this difficult time with some assurances and updates as it relates to our business and services.
First, several important notes from the professionals:
- Dr. Robin Patel, Director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, takes the position that people do not need to be cooped up inside all day, as long as they are being smart and cautious when they go out and not congregating in groups.
- The Center for Disease Control has found no evidence that companion animals, including dogs and cats, can spread COVID-19. Read more on that topic here.
- According to “Exhibit A” of Governor Baker’s Shelter in Place Advisory, “Organizations and workers responsible for the care and custody of animals, pets and livestock” are considered an essential service.
At this time, based on this guidance from professionals, we will continue to provide dog walking services to clients who need us, with careful provisions in place to ensure safety for staff and clients alike:
- Staff with any signs of illness or contact with anyone who is ill will not be providing service.
- We will only be employing a skeleton crew (2-3 people) – with the same person providing service for your pets each week, whenever possible.
- We will be using our own equipment (harnesses, leashes) to walk dogs; we will be using biothane leashes, which can be easily cleaned and sanitized on the run.
- Walkers will be washing their hands, and sanitizing their keys, leash, car, and phone between each visit, as well as using face masks.
- Walkers already avoid others while out with your dog for safety, but will consciously be employing the 6-foot social distance rule until further notice.
We welcome clients who need us to maintain their service for the consistency of routine and wellbeing of their dog(s); even if you are home (as long as your household is healthy – please just notify us if you are employing quarantining measures!). If you are home during walks, we have some special requests of clients to minimize the risks that come along with human-to-human contact:
- We will text you as we’re arriving so that you can have your dog geared up and ready to roll.
- Where possible, we encourage outdoor pick-ups: You can either (a) put your dog out into your fenced in yard – assuming there is direct access via gate, or (b) put your dog out on a tie out or back-tie; we will text again on our return for a similar no contact drop-off
- Alternatively, we can provide a limited contact pick-up for clients who are home; please have the door unlocked and maintain at least 6-feet distance from the walker if you are present while they are picking up or returning your dog
We recognize that some of our clients are deemed essential to our community – doctors, nurses, first responders, and others on the front line of this pandemic. We are thankful for the risks you are taking for our benefit and want to do everything we can to support you. In light of that, we plan to make every effort to maintain walking services for as long as we are able.
As it relates to our dog training services, we have suspended all in person group classes, orientations, and seminars through at least May 4th per the state shelter in place advisory. Starting this week, however, we are excited to announce that will begin transitioning to both live and recorded online training options using the Facebook and Zoom platforms! Currently enrolled students will be contacted directly with instructions and options for participation. With so many clients home with their dogs, now is a great time to address training goals since you are better able to provide the consistency needed to build new habits at “the scene of the crime” (your home and neighborhood!). There’s no need for training to be put on hold or your dog to be driving you crazy while you’re home – we can still help!
We have set up a Facebook group for our clients to continue to connect with us and other community members during this time of social isolation. We will be sharing free enrichment and training tips to keep your dog on the path of progress.
You can request to join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HHSUPPORT
We know that a lot of people are struggling right now. The pet sitting industry and our small business have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with most clients canceling upcoming travel and more people working from home or being laid off each day. We don’t know what the future holds in a post-COVID-19 world, but we hope Harmonious Hounds will still be part of it. For those who want to support us in this time of need, we would invite you to consider taking the following actions:
- Continue to book dog walking services, if you are comfortable doing so both financially and health wise, even if you are home
- Donate tips to be provided to your individual dog walkers HERE, to show your appreciation for exceptional service
- Purchase gift certificates for yourself, friends, or family for future use
- Give us a positive review (HERE on google, or HERE on Facebook)
- Follow or “like” all of our social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram)
- Comment, like and/or share our social media posts
- Post positively about us on your social media, and in local or neighborhood Facebook groups
- Recommend our business to your family, friends, and neighbors
- Book future services as soon as you are able
- Reach out via email or on Facebook and let us know how much you and your pet(s) miss us!
Thank you so much for your continued support – please stay healthy and safe!
Lauren & Tim