Dog Sitting during a Pandemic
When I retired last year from teaching, my plan was to make some side money dog sitting so I could travel. I’ve been dog sitting for about 5 years now, always with the plan that this would be my side hustle.
All was going as planned…
When I retired last year in the end of June, my daughter and I went to Universal Studios and were back in time for the usual Fourth of July rush @ Jen’s Doggy Daycare. As always we would be celebrating our guest Wallace’s birthday with all his dog pals. The summer was busy as usual with “regulars” and new pups keeping me content and busy.
In the fall, I was able to travel to D.C. and to visit friends in Massachusetts. My plan was working!
Holidays are always hectic @Jen’s Doggy Daycare with my regulars Sadie whose Mom goes to see her son in Miami or her daughter in Los Angeles, and Yofi whose Mom prides herself in planning extended extravagant trips at the end of each year. We celebrated the New Year with new dogs Toby and D.J. whose parents went off to Jamaica for a family getaway.
In January, my daughter and I went on a 10 day getaway to Puerto Rico and a cruise. I was sure to start this vacation as all my teacher friends were returning to work. Made it kind of bittersweet.
When we returned I had a pretty busy February and March dog sitting. Things were really going great and I was looking forward to celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary in The Bahamas in the end of March.
That’s when everything changed….
It soon became very apparent that it wasn’t a very good idea to go on this trip, no matter how much we were looking forward to it. JetBlue was great about a credit for a future JetBlue Vacation. It was just about right at this moment, most people’s worlds came to a screeching halt for “15 Days to Slow the Spread”.
If you think about it,
With my one single vacation cancellation: the dog sitter doesn’t get paid, the limo driver doesn’t have a run, the shuttle guy doesn’t get paid and no tip, no tips for the bartenders and no money spent on excursions and souvenirs. The airline and hotel workers have less and less reason to keep paying a worker. Worst of all, little did we all know that it was going to be a lot more than 15 days.
And just like that, Jen’s Doggy Daycare went dark...
If there’s no weekend getaways, no cruises, no European trips, no Caribbean vacations, no business travel…. There’s no Jen’s Doggy Daycare. So many bookings were cancelled for the next few months. Some were rescheduled and cancelled again.
Slow start back…
March, April and May were quiet but here in the NY suburbs, things slowly started getting better, and slowly Jen’s Doggy Daycare started anew. I actually had a meet and greet! Lola, a lapso apso was suppose to stay Memorial Day weekend. They changed their plans and she ended up staying for just Sunday night, but it was a start. One dog, one night in May on Memorial Day Weekend.
Lola came for a couple of over night stays in June, and then an extended weekend. (They had family to stay with in NJ.) Bruno whose family cancelled during spring break came for Father’s Day weekend while his parents went to Montauk. (This year is definitely the year of the road trip.)
I think I reached phased four…
July 4th weekend was the real turning point for Jen’s Doggy Daycare. Bentley the French bulldog puppy came to stay. Bentley is what you call a quarantine puppy. It turns out during the extended lockdown, many people decided that it was a great time to get a dog. People had plenty of time for training, and dogs are always a good idea if you need some cheering up. Bentley came for one weekend, then another, and now comes twice a week for daycare while his parents are at work.
Fancy’s parents went to see their daughter for a weekend in Albany. Aria’s parents whose Mom is a must teacher, hence the name went to Alaska. Aria is a mini poodle who also is a result of the quarantine. Her parents are first time dog owners. I’m hoping to watch Aria for years to come. Roxie the cavapoo was back for an overnight stay. Buster the beagle stayed a week in August while his family were in Pennsylvania. I really like a beagle!
In addition, the daycare side of Jen’s Doggy Daycare has been very active with day trips and people visiting from the city (also with new quarantine puppies) who need a place to leave their puppy while attending various parties.
The future is looking bright…
I squeezed in a road trip with my husband to Cooperstown and I’m heading to Cape May with my daughter for a few days. I’m back to watching dogs and traveling. Like I said, its clearly the summer that road trips made a comeback.
I have bookings for the remainder of August, Labor Day, and September, and of course I have Bentley a couple of days a week for daycare. I feel blessed knowing that Jen’s Doggy Daycare’s future is bright, and look forward to many more years of dog sitting and traveling because my ultimate goal is for me to live a happy retirement life!