Dog Business in 2020
2020 has been challenging enough as it is. But as a business owner, dog walker, dog trainer, mom and someone recently diagnosed with a chronic illness, 2020 has been one hell of a doozey.
At the beginning of the year I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I barely had the diagnosis long enough to process before the state was in lockdown. I talk a lot more about that on my personal blog. But because of the difficulties I had started experiencing at the end of late year, I hired my first employee. Then before lockdown, a second.
Once we were all in lockdown, we had to pivot. Hard. All the in-home training clients had to be put on hold. Board and Trains became harder because I couldn't allow people into the facility. Day training was unnecessary because everyone was staying home. And because everyone stayed home, dog walks were all put on hold. And because no one was going anywhere, there was no need for pet sitters. It was a frantic time. And I'd be lying if I said I hadn't panicked a little. But I was able to take time, perfect my programs and start thinking ahead, of life after Covid. One employee left, so I hired another. Things were beginning to look up.
And then I caught Covid. Despite not seeing anyone, not going anywhere. I was stilll wasn't going anywhere or doing anything more then my board and trains. At this point it was the end of June and restrictions were beginning to be lifted. So we invited my sister and her husband over for a game of D&D. That was a Sunday. My sisters boss wasn't feeling well and got her positive Covid result all Monday. By Tuesday my sister and her husband had their positive tests. So my husband and I went Thursday to take our own test. They came back negative. But Friday, my husband was showing symptoms. By Sunday, so was I.
And so, for the entire month of July I laid out either on my couch or my bed, certain I was dying of Covid. It was awful. It was like the worst flu I'd ever experienced and there several times we almost went to the ER. And on top of that, I couldn't tell where Covid started and Fibro began. Moving hurt. Thankfully my c But by that first week in July, the walking schedule was nearly full again. When my first employee got a promotion in her other job, I was forced to hire again. So I hired two more employees, on the phone from my couch. Something I will never do again, by the way. An entire month and a half of my life, just gone.
And then I had an employee, the one I hired before I caught Covid break her leg. So I had to force myself back to work. And once I came back, I discovered I could do even less then before lockdown. I couldn't do a 15 minute walk without gasping for air or getting drenched in sweat. It became obvious pretty quickly that the two I had hired while I was home sick were not a good fit for the company. And that was a nightmare. After being in business for two years, I had to refund not one but four clients, for the first time ever. August and September were absolute chaos. And the area around us was on literal fire. Beginning of this month, we lost our 13 year old lab to cancer.
I have virtual visits with my doctors every two weeks at this point. I've had a heart monitor spend the day with me. I have an echo in my near future. I have to use a nebulizer almost daily, sometimes between walks. I'm experimenting with CBD lotions and bath bombs, ice pack and heating pads. I went from taking 2 pills a day to nearly a handful. Covid is no joke. Being a business owner in 2020 is not a walk in the park. Being a dog trainer in 2020 has meant getting creative.
I'm tired. I'm burnt out. But I'm working on the come back. I'm not letting 2020 win. We will make it through the rest of the year, still offering board and trains, day training and puppy programs, as well as AKC evaluations, both in person while socially distancing and virtually. Next year, we'll be offering Canine Good Citizen classes and we will be introducing our newest dog trainer to the team to teach Rally and Sports Obedience. We will continue to keep in touch with our clients, taking care of their pets and getting their dogs out for walks.
We are still here, for our clients and their dogs.