Even 2020 Can’t Dampen Their Spirits!

, , , , , , | Right | October 14, 2020

In spring 2019, I started a small business working with dogs: walking, training and sitting. I absolutely fell in love with my first regular walking client — the dog, not the owners!– and while I rarely spoke to the owners, it was always friendly and pleasant when I did. As they booked me early, they get a low price.

Roll on March 2020. I have a number of dog sitting jobs booked for April and am starting with new walking clients that month. It looks like I’ll finally be able to afford to get a vehicle and properly turn it into a sustainable business… until I realise the extent of the global health crisis. And then our government calls for lockdown.

I stop working with all my clients immediately and don’t get to start with my new ones, and all of my dog sitting jobs through the summer are cancelled — some immediately, others as it’s clear this is going to take a while.

That first client I mentioned? As soon as I contacted them, pointing out the lockdown, they were more than understanding; they actually offered to continue paying me, despite the husband taking unpaid leave to stay at home and look after their kids. I was, of course, extremely grateful, but I also made it clear that my husband and I would survive financially.

A couple of weeks later, they contacted me. The wife had been furloughed — put on indefinite, unpaid leave. They were so apologetic that they could no longer afford to keep paying me… for something I wasn’t doing anyway!

I didn’t care about the money. I still don’t. I just remain so very, very touched that, even as their own income had dropped, they wanted to keep paying me as long as they could.

I’ve recently received the news that the wife is going back to work soon, and not only am I delighted that I’ll get to see my favourite dog again, but that I know I can continue to work with such great people. I don’t know when I’ll get back to the position I was looking at early in the year, but keeping that one particular client is such a bright spot in a difficult time.

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