Well where to start….it’s been a LONG eleven months since I posted anything here. To say I didn’t have time would be a lie. With Covid-19 shutdowns and my business cut in half I have had plenty of time to write a post, I just didn’t have the idea or inspiration. I was worried about my business and the state of the world and didn’t want to write anything negative sounding but negative was what I was feeling. Roughly a year ago the whole entire world looked like a totally different place. Covid-19 changed the world in so many ways but I’m going to talk about what changed for me and the industry I’m in.
Firstly many animal based industries like dog walking were completely shut down early in 2020 for eight weeks, being deemed as non-essential. Although many of my clients were working from home and still wanted me to walk their dogs I was not allowed to; some clients had kids home from school or were home themselves and were able to walk the dog so no longer required my services. Most of the world transitioned to online work, zoom meetings and terms like social distancing and wearing masks became normal. When I was able to go back to work I had to ask clients to ensure their dogs were used to seeing a person in a mask as that was how I would be arriving to their home to take their dog out. As most of the world did, I had to make some changes to my services and the way I operated. Namely, I no longer use the dogs’ own leashes but purchased biothane leashes that I could use and sanitize between walks, wearing a mask became normal when entering a home, I carry and use hand sanitizer like it’s going out of style, there is no longer any stopping to chat with my clients that were home but rather a quick pick up/drop off to ensure proper social distancing. There was nothing I could do with my business to move it online as the rest of the world had. How do you walk a dog online?
While I was shut down I took an online course in iphone photography to improve the photos I took for my clients as well as for my website and social media outlets. I also took part in some dog training challenges and videos for friends and other groups I am a part of. I found a part time job at a dog training school as I have always loved training dogs but just didn’t have the time to offer it to my clients. If clients ever asked I was always willing to share tips, tricks or ideas but just didn’t offer it as a service. So here was a new world opening up to me in terms of employment. I tried to make the most of the diminished schedule by spending a LOT of time outdoors this summer hiking, running and paddleboarding with my dogs. Luckily I was still able to participate in some new forms of classes for my dogs where masks and hand sanitizer joined the regular items in my agility training bag.
Just prior to Covid-19 I participated in a fun event last winter called Iron Paws which encourages outdoor activity with your dogs. I loved it and had so much fun. It inspired me to track each and every bit of activity I did with my dogs using a tracking app on my phone. I joined another challenge and received a stunning medal when it was completed. The challenge was to complete 1000 kms of activity in the calendar year. I only tracked activity I did with my dogs and finished in September. By the end of 2020 we logged 1200 kms (yes, I still kept track after the challenge was completed since it became a habit) I’m not a super competitive person but I do like to track accomplishments. I much prefer to document and count “up”, so to speak, the things I have done rather than check them off in a countdown to what?? The day I can no longer do those things? Bucket lists are not for me thanks. I had a great idea to start tracking how much walking/hiking I did with YOUR dogs until the first Covid shutdown. I say the first shutdown because as I type this Ontario is in the midst of another shutdown where dog walking has been deemed non-essential again. At this point I may just hold off on the idea until 2022.
I do have some ideas of new things to introduce to my business and I still await the surge of people needing my services as it seems EVERYONE got dogs during the pandemic!!! Yay!! I do worry, as most in the pet animal industries, that with people being home so much with their new pets they will not have been appropriately trained or properly socialized and may suffer from separation anxiety when their owners do return to work. I am currently working on putting together an at-home training program for pet dogs that you can access online and work at your own pace with your pup! How exciting! Stay tuned!! If this sounds like something you’re interested in contact me for more info firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the services offered at Wags & Wiggles you can hire us to check on your home in your absence – whether it be an extended vacation, extended business trip, a second home or transition period between two homes – Wags & Wiggles can come in to check on things such as heating/cooling systems working, look for damage due to weather and/or burglary, bring in your mail/newspapers, alternate lights, water plants, etc.
Many people don’t realize if you are away from your home for any length of time it may be a requirement of your insurance company to have someone competent check on your home in order to maintain your policy. Check with your individual policy to find out what the time frame is and what the requirements are.
Contact Wags & Wiggles to set up a meet and greet to go over things you want checked in your home. A schedule of visits can be customized based on your absence and the requirements of your insurance company.
Sue can be reached by phone at 647-228-0273 or email at email@example.com
Why would a person hire a dog walker or pet sitter when they have family, friends or neighbours they could ask to help them out? Well if you travel a lot or work everyday and need help with Fido or Fluffy, it can be a lot to ask of someone as a favour.
As a pet sitter my goal is to keep your pets as comfortable as possible in your own home by maintaining as regular of a routine as possible. I will come into your home on regularly scheduled visits to feed, water and walk/exercise your pets while you are away. Other tasks are also offered as part of the service such as medicating the pets, alternating lights in the home, bringing in mail and newspapers and watering plants. Some other benefits for your pet are they are familiar with their surroundings and not stressing in a kennel listening to other dogs whine and bark. Cats generally do not travel well so this is the ideal way to have your cat cared for. Also you do not need to administer any additional vaccines in order to leave your pet at home and you don’t need to worry about pick up and drop off times scheduled at a kennel. My visits will be scheduled based on your travel times so Fido and Fluffy are home and happy to greet you when you arrive.
Some tips for leaving your pets at home:
- inform your veterinarian you are away and let them know who is taking care of your pets in your absence; provide your veterinarian’s contact info to your care provider
- inform your family/neighbours you are away and that you have someone coming in to look after them; provide your pet sitter with emergency contact numbers in case there is an emergency with your house (broken window, fallen tree)
- have a plan for things such as power failures, snow clearing, broken furnace or air conditioning, etc
- if you are uncertain about leaving your pets with a pet sitter do a ‘trial run’ and go out for one night to see how they do
Daily dog walking services are ideal for anyone who has a long day at school or work or needs to run errands after school or work and want their dog to get out for some fresh air, to stretch their legs and, of course, to relieve themselves during the day. I offer a variety of services ranging from potty breaks for puppies and senior dogs, thirty minute walks or sixty minute hikes – all of which can be tailored to your dogs’ needs. Your dog can be walked individually or with other dogs as long as your dog enjoys the company of other dogs and behaves appropriately.
When searching for a dog walker or pet sitter some things to consider in your decision would be their experience and love of animals – ask them about themselves and how they came to be a dog walker/pet sitter. Ask for references – you would do the same for anyone else you hire. Ask about their training and practices – are they trained in pet first aid? how many dogs do they take out together? what do they do if your pet gets injured? is their business insured? When you hire someone to care for your four-legged family members you should feel good about leaving your pets in their care and confident that your pets will be loved and cared for appropriately.
I offer dog walking and pet sitting services in Caledon, Caledon Village, Caledon East, Mono Mills, Inglewood, and Cheltenham. Prior to booking any services I will meet with you and your pet, free of charge, to discuss your pet’s needs. Please call 647-228-0273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for availability and to set up a meet and greet. Each visit is tracked with an app that every client is set up on so you get a real time report of your pet’s visit, including photos, comments and an option to chat live!
- 30 minute dog walk in your neighbourhood
- 60 minute dog group hikes *dogs must meet required criteria*
- puppy/senior dog potty breaks
- cat/small animal visits
- vacation care visits (includes collecting mail, watering plants, alternating lights/blinds, etc)
- medication administration
- house sitting *no pets required (includes collecting mail, watering plants, alternating lights/blinds, checking on heating/cooling/water pipes, etc)
*dogs must be friendly with other dogs, must behave for travel in a vehicle, aggressive/dominating behaviour will not be tolerated on group hikes