SARATOGA SPRINGS – In order to keep her business surviving through the pandemic, Happy Hound Pet Sitting Service owner Kathy Lovelace completely reinvented herself and the business.
Knowing dogs love social contact more than most people do, Lovelace wanted to continue her dog sitting and walking service to her clients. To achieve this, Lovelace first became COVID-certified by Pet Sitters International. In order to become certified, Lovelace learned about COVID-19 and how to not only protect herself but those around her as well.
“I learned all about the virus and the best ways to avoid it,” Lovelace said. “I want to keep my clients and their pets safe. I have also educated myself on the local regulations, such as stay at home orders, to know specifically how everything can impact our local area.”
Pet Sitters International is an international educational association for professional pet sitters based in North California. The pet-sitting association represents nearly 7,000 independent professionals, Lovelace being one of them.
After becoming certified, she made some modifications to her daily routine as well as her business. Previously, Lovelace would meet and great clients and their pets inside. However, she recently changed the meet and greet to be outdoors with masks and staying socially distanced.
“For home visits, if the client is home they will stay social distanced with a mask or they agree to go into a separate room into their home. Sometimes they’re home because, well, they’re working from home. While I’m in the home, I wear a mask and while walking the dogs, I simply stay socially distanced,” Lovelace said.
She now enforces a strict hand washing routine as well and asked all clients to complete a COVID-19 form, asking recent travel, contact and quarantine questions. Her clients only have to fill it out once, and will sign to agree to report any changes on the form. Despite making those multiple changes, Lovelace still faces a challenge: clients working from home.
“I feel that the challenge is that I have established some nice clients who I really miss. Now, more and more people are working from home, so I’m not seeing my clients as much. I would see their dogs up to five times a week sometimes and I have became attached to them,” Lovelace said.
She believes that if other independent businesses adopt similar methods, they can be successful as well. However, one benefit to owning a professional dog service is that adoption rate has increased these past months.
“Pet adoption and dog ownership has gone way up. Adoption has helped bring sunshine into homes and it’s a great to see,” Lovelace said. “At the end of the day we are all in this together and we’ll make any and all changes as we need to.”
Lovelace can be reached by phone at 518-583-6561 and is located at 72 Waterview Drive in Saratoga Springs. To learn more about Lovelace and her business, visit www.petsit.com/pet-sitter-saratoga-springs-ny-happy-hound-pet-sitting-service-llc