1. Re-opening Friday March 27, 2020
Starting Friday March 27, 2020, Groovytown Dog Lodge will be re-opening with reduced services. We will continue offering our daily Adventure Hikes, with door-to-door pickup. At this time, due to the present circumstances, we do not have the financial means to staff our boarding facility; therefore, our overnight boarding and daycare services will remain closed until further notice. For those in need of such services, please reach out to us and we will try to find alternative options.
Our Adventure Hikes are offered Monday through Friday, on a recurring, set schedule. To learn more about our door-to-door Adventure Hikes please visit https://groovytowndoglodge.com/day-hikes/. To book recurring Adventure Hikes please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As many of you are aware, we ceased operations for two days (March 25 and 26, 2020) in response to the provincial shut-down of non-essential services. We took that time to diligently assess the information pertaining to the provincial directive. Based on our research, we are confident that, upon re-opening, we will be operating within the spirit of the current provincial directive. Therefore, we are re-commencing services on Friday March 27, 2020. For more information on how we came to this conclusion please refer to the second section of this notice.
Moving forward, we will continue to use the protocols we initiated on March 16, 2020. We believe that these measures, along with our ability to walk dogs on private land, thereby ensuring social distancing, provide a good option for dogs and their parents during these challenging times. While we cannot completely eliminate all risks, our protocols are intended to mitigate that risk. If you do choose to send your dog on hikes please remember that you play an essential role in the success of our protocols. Please ensure you read and understand our protocols. If you are unsure of something then please ask us for help or clarification. Please see section 3 for our Protocols.
2. What We Learned Through our Research
Doug Ford recently announced that ‘dog boarding kennels’ and ‘other service providers’ are considered essential services. This directive clearly indicates that our dog boarding service is an essential service. However, we were unsure if our daycare and door-to-door dog walking services were considered other services ‘other service providers’ (See #71, https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces#section-17).
Before continuing with our day-hike services we wanted to ensure that we were complying with the ‘spirit’ of the provincial directive. We have since consulted with both the provincial and federal governments through our local representatives. We also spoke with a representative with Ontario’s new business questions hotline. Through these consultations we have determined that we do indeed meet the standard of ‘other services’ within section 17-71 of the list of essential workplaces.
We also reached out to Dr. Scott Weese, co-author of the blog, Worms and Germs, published by the University of Guelph Centre for Public Health & Zoonoses(https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com). We wanted his feedback regarding our current protocols as well as the risk of transference by dogs if one dog with a contaminated coat rubs against another dog. Dr. Weese let us know that our protocols ‘make sense’. Further, he states:
We can’t completely eliminate the risk and have to balance practicality and prudence. The risk of haircoat contamination should be very limited if we are doing a good job screening owners. It’s no guarantee but if we check to make sure owners are healthy, and not known to be infected or self-isolating, odds of them shedding the virus and contaminating the pets haircoat are very low.
Finally, we have listened, to you, our valued clients. Many of you are still working, or you have dogs that would be better suited to an off-leash hike in an environment where you do not have to worry about social distancing from others using shared the sidewalks and parks.
Based on our research we are confident in our choice to resume services.
3. Our Protocols
· If you are under quarantine, please cancel all home pick-ups (the 24-hour cancellation fee will be waived). If you still need dog walks, an alternative may be to have your dog stay with a friend and have us pick up from that location.
· If you feel any symptoms related to the Corona Virus (fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties) please cancel all home pick-ups (the 24-hour cancellation fee will be waived). If you still need dog walks, an alternative may be to have your dog stay with a friend and have us pick up from that location.
· Please keep dogs close to doors for pick up (e.g. if your dog is crated in an upstairs bedroom please move the crate closer to the front door) as we want to avoid moving throughout people’s homes during this time. This measure is to prevent inadvertently contracting and/or spreading the virus.
· When interacting with our staff (at the Lodge or in your home) we ask that you keep a larger than normal distance from one another (minimum 6 feet). We still want to say “hi” and let you know how things are going. We just want to do our best to keep a safe barrier between everyone.
· As a preventative measure we will be using hand sanitizer between homes during our day hike pick-ups. Each day, before we start pickups, we will also be taking our own temperature reading to as a safeguard to ensure we are not showing early signs of illness.