BBC Wiltshire invites our very own Julie Turner from We Love Pets Marlborough to share some reassuring words for our pet owners during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“What I would suggest to anyone at the moment who is walking a dog that isn’t their own is to use your own lead, use your own equipment. Make sure you disinfect it after every single walk to keep up good hygiene practice.” Says Julie.
On the walk itself, Julie mentions how important it is to be vigilant and keep dogs on a lead:
“We’re making sure that we only walk solo dogs, we don’t pack walk anyway, it’s one of our customer policies that we don’t pack walk. So we walk one dog, we walk them from their house so we minimise any further risk and we keep them on a lead so that we maintain social distancing. Because we’re a small business we know where to walk and potentially, where to avoid.”
As Julie says, keeping good hygiene practice is key to keeping dog walking services going for the most vulnerable and our key workers. This is how We Love Pets are keeping customers safe:
- Only staff who are lower risk are walking a small number of dogs for our customers who need us most.
- Dogs are picked up and dropped off ideally outside in the garden or in a porch to avoid any human contact.
- Wherever possible, our staff wear disposable gloves before handling dogs and throughout the walk which are discarded afterwards.
- We use our own disinfected lead, which is cleaned thoroughly before and after the walk.
- All of our staff maintain at least 2 metres distance in accordance to current social distancing guidelines.
During the Coronavirus pandemic we’ve had to reduce our services across our network to be safe and sensible but dog walking is still available where it’s needed most, as Julie says:
“At the moment we are only walking dogs to help the vulnerable and older people. We’ve stayed open to help the people who aren’t able to walk their dogs day to day.”
Even though we may not be on the front line of this pandemic ourselves, it’s incredibly rewarding for We Love Pets staff to be able to support our customers who are. One of Julie’s customers works at Savernack Hospital, and she’s more than happy to help ease any extra burden that pet care could place on NHS workers at this time:
“It’s nice that we can help them do their job and they don’t need to worry about their dog. They’re in safe hands, we’re looking after them and they can do their shifts at the hospital and not have to worry about that at all.”
It’s this community spirit that the outbreak has brought out that keeps us going and focused on what’s important. It’s a tough time for everyone, including us, but the support we’re giving each other will always be remembered:
“I have to say our customers have been so wonderful and so supportive. They know it’s a challenging time for us and we just really hope that we can get through this as soon as we can because we miss our dogs so much. We just want to get back and see them and walk them.”
Looking forward to better times when Julie and her team can get to see the dogs and pets she misses so much again, she reflects on how there’s nothing she’d rather do:
“It’s such a wonderful job. To be able to do what we love, I mean, it’s just amazing really that we get up in the morning and get to do this every day.”
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