A local business did not let itself go to the dogs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global health pandemic resulted in doggy heaven for some: many people are now working from home and their four-legged man’s best friends are getting used to all the extra attention.
Dogs On Point, located in Glengarry, continued to meet the challenges daily and didn’t give the pandemic any ‘paws’ for thought.
Jeremy Donnelly, who owns the business with his wife, Sam, says that while business slowed down, it did not stop for them.
“We were able to remain open during the COVID-19 crisis,” he explains.
That is admirable considering the health pandemic hit during the operation’s busiest time of the year.
“In March and April we’re busy because everyone’s boarding their dogs while they’re on vacation, so the boarding side was a huge hit.”
Dogs On Point offered contactless drop off and pick up, so grooming and boarding clients were able to drop off their dogs at the business and put them in the fenced yard so they didn’t have to get close to anybody. “We use our own leashes and collars for the dogs so they weren’t sharing any dog equipment. We also offered free drop off and pick up at clients’ homes so I would message a client about five minutes before I got to their place and they would leave their dogs in their crate right outside their front door and I would just take the dog from there; other people would leave their dogs in their own fenced-in yards or tether them off their front deck so “Uncle Jeremy” could take them from there.”
Between clients, Donnelly said he and his wife were disinfecting all of the surfaces and door handles and such.
“During the COVID crisis it was slow but I only ever booked one client per day and we held every session outside as much as possible, it was a lot easier to maintain social distancing.”
Dogs on Point offers services in three areas. “Our main business is dog training for puppies and adult dogs. With that we offer a few different programs such as one on one training, in-home training as well as board and train. Once a client is finished training with us we offer boarding and grooming services as well. A lot of the things we help our dog training clients with are things like leash walking, off-leash reliability, jumping up, stealing food off the counter. And we work with pretty much any dog behaviour issue that people are having.”
The business, Donnelly laughed, started accidentally. “My goal was actually always to start a horse training business.”
He trained and showed horses then ended up getting into dog training more as a hobby. It wasn’t long before friends and family members asked him to work with their dogs. Jeremy and Sam have three dogs of their own: Hendrix is a mixed breed, Luna is an English springer spaniel and Carlie is a golden doodle.
From there, it started out as a hobby and turned into a full-time job. He is a 2010 graduate in business administration from the Pictou Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, and he left a job as a CCA at Glen Haven Manor. “I worked back shift all night, would come home and get some things done in the morning, have a nap, get up, see afternoon dog training clients then go to work that night. The first two years it was a lot!”
Now, four years later, Dogs on Point is wagging all of the right tails and getting back to normal.
“We’re really grateful for our customers; some of them would send their dogs here to just tire them out or get groomed and just to help support me so, I’m just so grateful for that.
“I’m thankful as well that there was some initial help from the government, especially during the first six weeks when we really took a hit.”
Dogs on Point’s clients are equally happy the business stayed open during the pandemic. One customer wrote: “They are the very best at what they do,” and nominated the business in Advocate Media Inc.’s Shine On campaign which is aimed shining a light on outstanding businesses in Pictou County that are making a difference in their communities during these trying times. The businesses have a chance at being highlighted in the company’s newspapers, as well as winning $3,000 worth of free advertising for when the economy picks up.
Anyone wanting to nominate a business in the Shine On campaign can do so by connecting with the Shine On link on our website, www.pictouadvocate.com, or dropping a handwritten nomination with the business’s name, as well as your name, email address, phone number and reason for the nomination into our office at 21 George St., Pictou. You can also nominate your own business.