“May you live in interesting times.”
These truly are “interesting times” we are living in. As I write this, I am in Portland, preparing for an imminent shelter-in-place order expected to come soon to help prevent the spread of COVID 19, commonly known as Coronavirus. As most of you know, this is a virus which is bringing society to a screeching halt as governments around the world shut down borders, cancel events, and require citizens to stay home. If you spend your time listening to the news, either legit or FAUX, it can make you feel like we are in a very scary situation.
I want to address this as it pertains to those of us in the pet care industry. I do not purport to be a health expert and I have no idea what’s coming next or how this will play out in the months ahead, however I do know that if we let it get the best of us, we will have a very hard time coming back from it when things begin to calm down.
First, let me address an immediate concern for many in this field. According to the CDC and WHO, Corona cannot be passed to or from our pets. The AVMA has released statements clarifying early reports of a dog testing “weak positive” and giving tips on prevention going forward. Those tips, like those coming from so many other places, basically says, wash your hands and avoid PEOPLE who have been exposed. Most sources do not believe there is a risk of contracting this from our pets.
This will have a big impact on our economy over the next few weeks to months. If you are in quarantine, self-imposed or government ordered, please keep your head. We are going to have to figure out the new normal. It may seem unimportant in the global picture, but if you have a dog in training or a new pup, this may be a good time to get a jump on some of the skills your dog needs for the rest of his life. Classes may be out, but many trainers, including myself, are offering online options or Facetime consultations. Training may be on a back burner for you, but this is the livelihood many of us depend on, so if it is something you can continue, please look for options to do so. This is true for many other industries as well. I can only imagine how difficult it is for people in the restaurant biz right now as they try to adapt to some of the new carry-out only restrictions in place. If you are healthy and can afford it, please give your local pub or diner some business, then get home and self-isolate so we can get this under control and “flatten the curve” as they’re saying as soon as possible.
If you’re a business facing a downturn and potential layoffs or changes, know that you are not alone. Don’t let this overwhelm you. Reach out if you need to talk to someone or a little guidance. Be careful on social media as it can become a tornado of misinformation, but it can also provide some insight as to what others are doing to weather this storm. If you don’t feel you have anyone available to you, reach out to me. This is new territory to all of us, but I am happy to be a friendly ear or sounding board to bounce some ideas off. You can reach me here or on FB. If you feel you are facing financial hardship due to this situation, the Small Business Association has some help available. Be sure to look into that, both their low-interest loan programs and their payment deferrals. You can start at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
It may take a couple weeks, maybe longer, but eventually this will all blow over. How we come back from it will be the real test for many of us. If I can offer any single piece of advice here, it would be don’t panic. It may get tough, it may feel dark and dire, but there will be a dawn.
Take care of yourselves, stay positive, and remember, get out and do something with your dog! (But keep appropriate social distance from other people.)