SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – According to a recent survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, during the pandemic, 1 in 5 American families have added a new cat or dog to their household.
During lockdown, our pets have provided a lot of comfort and fun during the tough times. But now experts and families alike are wondering how our furry friends will do as the world slowly reopens.
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Many like Rob Woodcock and Sarah Sharifi. They adopted Haynes when he was just a puppy.
“None of us would ever leave the house for work. So we had time,” Rob said.
Now is the time to sit down and analyze the situation. The goal: Develop a strategy on how to help Heinz and other endemic animals cope with their owners’ vacation or start venturing back to the office in the new year.
“He’s very well trained here but definitely prone to distractions,” Rob noted.
Before you get up and leave Fido or Fluffy and think it’s going to be easy, chew on this. Boarding kennels, dog daycares, pet groomers, and dog walkers are back in business and are in high demand.
“300 new dogs this year alone. Since May, we have really grown,” said Victoria Robinson.
Robinson is the owner of the High Tail Dog Hotel in San Francisco. High Tail offers both day care and overnight stay services.
Since the introduction of COVID vaccines, and the easing of restrictions, High Tail has seen a huge jump in new customers.
KPIX 5 examined the situation with some random surveys of Bay Area facilities, and we found that doggy daycares are once again very popular. This means that if you’re looking to get out of town for the holidays or nurseries queuing up for a New Year’s Eve, keep it up.
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“If you haven’t already booked with a local pet sitter or indoor pet facility, you probably haven’t been so lucky,” Robinson said.
It is also hard to find dog walkers and pet groomers.
SF SPCA Director Dr. Jennifer Scarlett notes that “the pet grooming industry is experiencing the same pressures as many other industries with labor shortages.”
Dr. Scarlett said she advises pet owners to line up for help in advance. Equally important, she urged, pet parents should ensure that their pets are ready
“It’s about routine and it’s about the positive rewards that you want to get your dog used to meeting new people, meeting other dogs, and then they will be more comfortable in the boarding facility,” said Dr. Scarlett.
She recommended that owners immediately begin building new routines with their pets.
If you’re expected to be at work at 9 and leave at 7, go out at 7, start letting your dog go for a few minutes, go around the corner, get some coffee and come back,” she showed Dr. Scarlett.
As for Heinz, Rob and Sarah are eager to help him weather periodic absences. This summer, they’re planning a two-week honeymoon and want him to be ready. But Hines isn’t the only one who suffers from a bit of “separation anxiety.”
“We feel bad leaving him, you know, we’re leaving and he’ll stand at the window and he’ll put his paws on the window and he’ll watch us leave and your heart breaks,” Sarah said. .
The couple is planning their strategy for the New Year and it’s going to be a hybrid model: a combination of some days off work from home, the use of dog walkers, and daycare times.
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Another tip: make sure your dog receives vaccinations. Canine flu is spreading very quickly in Southern California, and experts have told KPIX 5 that it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the Bay Area.