In light of the recent coronavirus pandemic, there has been an overwhelming response coming from people in terms of community. Even though we cannot be together, people are coming together more than ever in how they support the health workers and first responders who are doing their best to get a handle on this outbreak. The majority of us stay home as our effort to help, but there are businesses that are catering to the needs of health workers and first responders in order to alleviate pressure. There are many restaurants and fast-food chains offering free goodies, but there are other businesses that are also getting behind them in their own way.
For example, Lindsey Parker and Katie Wojnoonski, the two co-CEOs of the Dog Social Club, have been pulling extra time at their West Oakland facility in order to do a favor for all the health workers and first responders: taking care of their pets.
As Parker said, “There was really no hesitation between Katie or I about what we needed to do. We had sort of mentioned, almost jokingly, between ourselves before the actual directive was announced, that if something like that were to happen, we would just move in.”
And these two did not hesitate to do just that. These two closed their facility to the regular clients of the public, however, they continued to run it solely for the dogs who belong to the healthcare workers and first responders who are working hard to keep people safe from the coronavirus pandemic.
Parker added, “Thank goodness there is an employee shower that already existed. We really didn’t want to have to use the grooming facilities to bathe.”
Wojnoonski revealed how the numbers of dogs fluctuate on any given day, however, all dogs that are cared for at the facility will typically spend between a day to a couple of days at the place at a time while their owners are pulling long-scheduled shifts at hospitals and other medical facilities.
Wojnoonski said, “[We’re] doing what we can to take one little bit of stress off of them by knowing that their dogs are well taken care of. That’s the way that we know we can help.”
The facility has around 50,000 square feet of space, and these days, it’s pretty empty. Before the lockdown began, the facility normally operated with an average of 200 dogs a day between boarding and daycare services and had about 50 staff members on hand.
Because of the outbreak, the staff has been put on furlough. In the meantime, it’s been just the two women who’ve been keeping everything running.
“This sounds really silly, but I’ve been doing a lot of dance parties with the dogs,” Parker stated. “It keeps up my morale, and also they seem to enjoy wiggling around and dancing around the yards.”
Parker commented on how she has taken to filling up mini pools of water for the dogs in order for them to have some extra fun splashing around during “toy time.”
While the women care for these dogs, they’ve moved into the facility themselves, turning offices into makeshift bedrooms and living out of the staff kitchen for meals. They’re able to prep food in the kitchen since the staff kitchen has microwaves, a toaster oven, a hot plate. One of the women even brought a camp stove from home with them for the duration.
“We had a luxury meal last night … with some backyard-grown artichokes. That was really amazing,” Parker commented.
The two women see themselves continuing to do this for the duration of the pandemic, with Parker saying, “The coming weeks are still really uncertain. We want to make sure that we can be a resource to people who need it.”
How incredibly generous and thoughtful.