A family-owned doggy daycare has been helping front-line workers in a unique way since the pandemic started back in March.
Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa has been deemed an essential service as a doggy daycare since COVID-19 and therefore has been and continues to stay open to the public.
However, their number of clients and dogs coming to the daycare decreased drastically as many people started working from home and some losing their jobs.
"We saw a major drop in business," says Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of Happy Tails.
Bennett did see one group of people that still needed their dogs to be watched.
"We had to make some tough decisions because we have a huge amount of clientele that are front-line workers including police, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses."
Even though their business slowed drastically, Bennett decided to remain open for front-line workers.
"Those are the people that work 12-hour shifts and they can't leave their dogs home for 12 hours because they'll destroy their house," he says.
Happy Tails is a family-owned and run business with Shawn and Nadine Bennett as co-owners, alongside their daughter Celeste. Their son also works at the daycare part-time on the weekends.
"We were losing money in the first couple months of the pandemic but we just felt that we had to stay open for these people because where else would they put their dogs."
Another part of the business is boarding cats and dogs. With major restrictions on travel since March, that portion of the Bennett's business has also been almost non-existent.
"Thankfully my family stepped up and several of us worked for free, but that's part of a family business. We were very grateful to be able to provide that service."
When other clients heard about the daycare staying open, they also helped out.
"Here's the heartwarming part of that. We had clients that were laid off from work or working from home, and they actually donated daycare days to front-line workers. They said, 'these people are working their tails off, can we help?'"
Since then, things have picked up and the daycare is seeing more dogs now as more people are entering the workforce again, away from their homes.
"We have such great clients," says Bennett.