Seattle-area pet-service providers launch new program
April 9, 2020
Just as other businesses have been impacted by the closures mandated by Gov. Jay Inslee in a state-wide effort to reduce COVID-19 closures, so to have Tamara Bean and Cameron Thompson.
While the Seattle-area Fetch Pet Care franchisees and regional partners, however, normally offer a range of animal services, the pair are now focusing on a specialized program conceived by Bean aimed at serving essential personnel and seniors. The Fetch and Go service is a no-owner contact method of picking up and returning a pet.
Bean said she thought of the Fetch and Go program when coronavirus cases first started to be reported in the area. To minimize risk to both pet sitters and the people they serve, the safety program requires clients to have a sanitation station by their front door. Dog walkers are also carrying their own leashes for dogs, and dog owners are leaving collars and harnesses on their pets. Upon arrival, all dog sitters have to do is put the leash on the dog, leave for a walk, and, when they return, wipe everything they tough with pet-friendly disinfecting products they carry before they leave.
“It takes potentially 20 seconds,” Bean said.
If a client is medical personnel, pet sitters won’t go into their homes until they have been at work for a minimum of three hours. This is another safety measure they’ve implemented in response to the pandemic, Bean said.
“I’d rather us err on the side of safety than otherwise,” she said.
Thompson agrees the focus is on everyone’s safety.
“We’ve done everything we can except put a bubble around us,” he said.
Bean said, with the closures, 90 percent of their professional pet care services are shut down. They are only accepting new clients if they are senior citizens who are immobile or first responders or medical personnel who need their dogs walked.
She said one of her clients in Ballard has been working the overnight shift, and they have scheduled her dog walker to come between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
“We are doing whatever we can to help, even if that means coming in late at night,” Bean said.
The rest of their focus is on their senior clients. Thompson said without their dog walking services, some of their more elderly clients would not be able to exercise their dogs.
“At the end of the day, we are providing a service that allows them to have their friends and maintain their way of life,” he said.
Petsitters will also run errands for owners if requested. Recently, a petsitter also took one of his elderly clients’ dogs in to the veterinarian for vaccinations and a quick check up.
“These are things we typically provide, but at this time, they’re even more significant to people,” Thompson said.
He said while his dog sitters will deliver pet supplies to clients upon occasion, because of the pandemic, he has arranged for his dog sitters to take other necessities, as well.
“This is something we want to do to keep our clients happy,” he said. “We’re all in this together during this tragic time.”
Bean said while the business’s focus is making sure clients’s needs are served during this time, the pandemic and resulting closures have personally affected her as a small business owner and single mom. She said she has grown her business into a successful enterprise over the last 13 years.
“It’s been my heart and soul, and it’s devastating in a significant way,” Bean said of the pandemic, adding she can learn and grow from the experience, as well. “So when we do build back up, we can institute everything we have learned.”
Bean also recognizes the importance of communication and positivity during the pandemic, which is why she has created the Raise a Paw to Pets Facebook page.
She said #RaiseAPawToPets is a “community movement to share love and light being generated by pets everywhere. Bean invites people to join the Facebook group and share funny and thoughtful stories about their pets.
“A pet’s purpose is to share and spread love, so we created this movement to follow their example,” Bean said in an email. “The least we can do is tell their stories.”