San Francisco Shelter In Place – Week 1 Update

It has been a week of sheltering in place for San Francisco (in case you are counting, that’s 7 weeks in dog years), and I have to say that things are both bleak and amazing. First the bleak: Pet Camp, like pet care facilities around the country and businesses everywhere, has taken the response to the coronavirus on the chin – or maybe more appropriately in the checking account. We went from 30 overnight care campers (it is our slow season) and 60 day campers to 8 overnight care campers and between 10 and 15 day campers in a matter of days. Sadly, like many small businesses, we had to make the painful decision to cut counselor hours dramatically. The great uncertainty as to the duration of the shelter in place order makes planning impossible and ideas that are viable to sustain a business for a 3 week slowdown are untenable for a 3 month slowdown.

At the same time, this experience has been amazing. We are proud to be providing pet care to pet parents already battling illness so that they can focus on their health as well as to those providing more traditional “essential services” to San Francisco. While the reduction in campers has necessitated a reduction in the number of counselors working, the Pet Camp managers have been here day after day providing amazing care and performing tasks they haven’t done in years (I’ve even been running play groups!). Finally, we are blessed to have amazing clients who apologize when they need to cancel a reservation because their vacation was cancelled, who have placed deposits for summer trips they don’t even have planned, and who have purchased day care punch cards weeks before necessary. We are collectively moved by the response our clients have shown to this crisis and to Pet Camp.

We also want to note that while we always knew we were essential to your pet’s care, the State Public Health Officer agrees too and has made “workers at animal care facilities that provide food, shelter, veterinary and/or routine care and other necessities of life for animals” essential workers during the shelter in place.

As we start week two of our shelter in place, we remain committed to being here to provide you with amazing pet care, whether that is for overnight care so that you can visit a family member in need or you need to get outside our 49 square miles for a while. We will also be here every day providing day care so that you can be one of the many providing essential services or need to have your dog burn off some energy so that you can actually “work” from home. Of course, the Pet Camp Express remains ready to provide pick up and drop off services so that you can stay home and care for your 2-legged loved ones. 

Thanks for supporting Pet Camp and all of San Francisco’s small businesses. Stay healthy!

Pet Camp has been providing award wining care for dogs and cats since 1997. If you are a San Francisco Bay Area pet parent in need of doggie day care, overnight care for your dog or cat, training, bathing or pet transportation please give us a call. New campers get 50% off their first 3 days
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Thanks for Asking – How COVID-19 Impacts Pet Care Facilities

The other day we got a cancellation of an overnight stay at Cat Safari. Frankly, these past weeks we’ve been getting plenty of cancellations of both overnight stays at both Cat Safari and the Main Campground as well as doggie day care reservations at the Main Campground. We completely understand why this is happening, that it has nothing to do with Pet Camp or the love we give the dogs and cats when they are with us, and that we are, for lack of a better term, collateral damage in the fight against Covid-19.

Of course, understanding something and being happy about something are two very different things. We are not happy about the stress Covid-19 is causing to San Francisco, the state of California, the nation and the world. We are not happy that while so far all the counselors are healthy, they are worried about their health (something the 20 and 30 something crowd should never have to worry about). Frankly, we’re not happy that we are worrying about balancing counselor hours with both occupancy and our ability to pay bills.

That said, we are happy that pet parents are asking about how we are doing. We know that, like us, all of you are worried about an amazing array of things right now. We know that it’s easy to get wrapped up in the cascade of bad news from Washington and from Wall Street. Wondering how we’re doing? Let us answer: Pet Camp has been through the dotcom bust, September 11th and the Great Recession. None of these experiences were fun and they all contributed to Mark’s gray hair (the dotcom bust) and now lack of hair (the Great Recession), but each time Pet Camp has weathered the storm and, in many ways, came out a better business.

We are fortunate to have amazing counselors who stay at Pet Camp far longer than the industry average; it could be the health care, the 401k plan, and the scholarship opportunities we offer, or it could be that they just love your pets. We are fortunate that we’ve already invested in state-of-the-art cleaning and disinfecting technology for your camper’s well-being, so while others are scrambling to purchase disinfectant wipes, we are using our Electrostatic Sprayers. We are fortunate to have 25,000 square feet of play space for your dog to enjoy at the Main Campground, fans that exchange the air every 4.5 minutes, and a glass retractable roof to bring in natural light (the best disinfectant of all), so while others are worrying about social distancing and ensuring health and safety, we’ve got that covered.

We could share a lot of information about how Covid-19 is spread, that your dog or cat can’t catch Covid-19 from you and that you can’t catch it from them – but we know that you’ve gotten all this information from everyone, from your veterinarian to the Hub Grub guy.

Although those of us responsible for balancing the books are not having a great time right now, the counselors are here providing amazing care for the pets. We are open for business and are committed to remaining an active member of the San Francisco small business community. If you have specific needs during this uncertain time, from adding pick up or drop off to wanting us to have a counselor come to your car when picking up or dropping off, just ask. We continue to invest in making Pet Camp the best pet care facility in San Francisco, for this too shall pass and we really appreciate you asking how we are doing.

Thanks for reading.

Pet Camp has been providing award wining care for dogs and cats since 1997.  If you are a San Francisco Bay Area pet parent in need of doggie day care, overnight care for your dog or cat, training, bathing or pet transportation please give us a call.   New campers get 50% off their first 3 days
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Dear Abby: Time to Join the Modern Era of Quality Pet Care

The other week I was reading Dear Abby; ok, that’s not true, I’ve never read Dear Abby in my life. Really, my wife was reading it and told me that Dear Abby had said that asking a family member to put a dog in a “kennel” is “tantamount to telling them they must put their child in foster care for the duration of their visit with you.”

Here’s my response.

Dear Abby:

I’ve never been a foster parent or been in foster care, but I assume that the vast-vast majority of foster parents are good people who want to do right by children. While I don’t have much experience with the foster care system, I do have lots of experience in what you refer to as the “kennel” business.

modern-day pet care facilityPerhaps it is just that you’ve not been exposed to the modern-day pet care facility (you are “Dear Abby,” after all), but to imply anything negative about a dog spending a few hours playing with other dogs or perhaps engaged in some K9 Enrichment is both wrong and out-of-date. Long gone are the “kennels” of old (that you seem to be remembering) that warehoused dogs. Quality pet care facilities employ highly trained staff and invest millions in state-of-the-art infrastructure, all to ensure that the dogs under our care, whether for just a few hours or for several weeks, have a safe, healthy and enriching experience.

I would encourage you to learn more about the modern pet care industry, and perhaps about the foster care system, before offering any more advice that impinges on either of us.

Mark Klaiman
Pet Camp, San Francisco, California

Pet Camp has been providing award wining care for dogs and cats since 1997.  If you are a San Francisco Bay Area pet parent in need of doggie day care, overnight care for your dog or cat, training, bathing or pet transportation please give us a call.   New campers get 50% off their first 3 days.
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Coronavirus and CIRD-Complex: How To Protect Your Dog From Respiratory Diseases?

One cannot listen to the news, scan the newspaper, or look at social media without there being a mention of the Coronavirus.  While there are a host of interesting and scary things about the Coronavirus, one of the things that is fascinating is the similarities between stopping the spread of Coronavirus and stopping the spread of CIRD-Complex.

Similarities between Coronavirus and CIRD-Complex

Before going any further, let’s assume that, today, everyone knows what Coronavirus is, but what is CIRD-Complex?  CIRD-Complex stands for “Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease – Complex.” This is currently the preferred way to refer to canine cough since in most cases we really don’t know which out of a host of possible pathogens or viruses is causing a dog to cough.

So, what is the similarity and what makes both Coronavirus and CIRD-Complex so hard to stop from spreading? Both can be spread by people (or dogs) that are symptom free! It is for this reason that people returning to the United States from impacted areas are being quarantined for two weeks: just because they aren’t coughing (showing symptoms) does not mean that they are not infected and capable of spreading this disease. People seem to get both the need for the quarantine (even if they are not happy about it) AND that it is unbelievably hard to stop something from spreading when there are no symptoms.

What can we learn from the spread of the Coronavirus?

If people understand this about Coronavirus, why don’t they understand this about dogs and CIRD-Complex?  When a dog walks into a veterinary facility, a dog groomer, a doggie day care or anywhere else and is not showing any symptoms, how is the veterinarian, dog groomer of pet care professional to know whether or not the dog is really spreading a pathogen or virus to other dogs?  Sure, once a dog shows symptoms the veterinarian, dog groomer, or other pet care professional has knowledge that something is spreading they have an obligation to take action – but up until that point?

Just as with the Coronavirus, it is usually impossible to say exactly where a dog was exposed to the CIRD-complex.  Was it at the dog park? The veterinarian’s office waiting room? In the elevator of your high-rise apartment building that is used by other dogs even if there was no other dog in there with you (yup this stuff can live on the walls for up to 48 hours)?  Did the dog that is coughing 4 days after being with your dog give your dog CIRD-Complex or did your dog (which of course was not coughing at the time) infect the other dog (yes, your dog can be the carrier and infect another dog and that dog can start coughing BEFORE your dog starts to cough)?

Yikes, it’s complicated to track!

What to do if my dog gets CIRD-Complex?

Stopping the spread of an upper respiratory disease is hard enough, but stopping the spread of an asymptomatic upper respiratory disease is super hard! Thankfully most CIRD-Complex issues can be treated with medicine and rest.  Equally importantly, there are vaccines for two common causes of CIRD-Complex: bordetella and CIV (the “dog flu”). So please get your dog vaccinated, work with pet care professionals that require these vaccines, and if your dog gets CIRD-Complex, focus on preventing the spread (by keeping your dog home) and treatment rather than blaming your veterinarian, dog groomer, dog walker, doggie day care facility or neighbor for getting your dog sick.

Thanks for reading.

Pet Camp has been providing award winning overnight and day care to San Francisco’s dogs and cats for almost 25 years.  It you are a pet parent in need of overnight/boarding, doggie day care, cat care, bathing or transportation give us a call and let us know how we can be of assistance.
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