Pets are now treated as family members. Beside the amount of affection and love, these animals get a very good amount of attention, including health and beauty care services.
Unfortunately, during confinement times, pets were deprived of these types of care. For this week’s edition, Milénio Stadium wanted to understand how these animals were affected by this period without welfare services and also how the professionals themselves – those taking care of these pets for a living – are dealing with this pandemic. Jessica Rodrigues, from The Pet S-Paw & Lounge, gave us a very interesting insight of their reality.
Milénio Stadium: Can you tell us about what your company does? What kind of services do you provide?
Jessica Rodrigues: We are an all-breed grooming salon, established in 2014. We have a wide range of different dog breeds. We also provide cat grooming for those that allow us to groom them. Services include bathing, brushing and clipping their hair to specific breed standards or simply what a client would prefer. We have a small retail section that includes different products which clients or staff have used and find helpful such as leashes, collars, dental hygiene, treats, toys and clothing to name a few.
MS: We know your services make the pet owners very happy, but other than that, what does your house represent to the animal?
JR: It also prevents and removes matted fur, which when severe can be quite uncomfortable, and helps remove surface contaminants and allergens which can contribute to skin conditions in some animals. Grooming does not only involve regular brushing, but also includes bathing, fur trimming and nail clipping which all contributes to routine care for a pet. Also, many pet owners find it difficult to groom their pets – we have the knowledge, skill and background in which we are able to handle and groom a pet when they may not allow their owners to do at home.
MS: A lot of animals were very used to your services and care – what did these strange and difficult times of pandemic and confinement mean to them?
JR: These times prevented from our pets to be groomed on their regular 6-8 week schedule. As a result, there were many who were overgrown, matted and in need of grooming way past their scheduled time. A big situation that arose was their nails not being able to be done. Many pet owners are unable to do nails on their own, it is a tremendous service that they rely on groomers for and one that we were unable to provide. All this leads to long nails, matted, dirty and overgrown coats which can become quite uncomfortable and at times cause skin issues for a pet.
MS: Knowing that a lot of families are dealing with a lot of difficulties due to the pandemic, do you fear your services will end up being considered dispensable? What consequences could this have for the pets?
JR: In all honesty this is something I am not concerned about. Grooming is not an easy task and if you ask any groomer I am sure they would agree. I have found that due to this pandemic, clients have found an appreciation for what groomers do and the skill behind what is needed to groom a pet. Most pet owners found a way to help their pet as much as possible during the closure, but were thrilled the minute we could reschedule their appointments upon our return. All businesses took a hit with this pandemic, this is true, but I do not think that our service is dispensable at all. I also believe there is an increase demand for our service since we were able to return.
MS: Our premier has announced that groomers are able to open again while maintaining necessary precautions – What’s the process now for the re-opening? Are there a lot of changes?
JR: Our reopening protocols are very specific and set in place in order to protect both our clients and staff. We have specific guidelines set in order to continue to provide the quality service we have always provided. All our dogs are dropped off in staggered times to keep foot traffic to a minimum to allow for social distancing. Staff member greets all clients at the door where we proceed to transfer from their leads to one of our own. We are able to clean and disinfect all our leads to keep from cross contamination. Staff wears masks and gloves for everyone’s protection as well. Payments are all done via wireless payment out of the salon as well. All the while we maintain necessary disinfection protocols within the salon. Disinfecting equipment, door handles, payment machine, tables, tubs, you name it and it’s getting cleaned and disinfected. We have always been very regular in keeping our Salon clean and disinfected, but now it is just ingrained in our daily routine. One big thing is a pet comes in and goes straight to the bath, that way we can get the coat clean right away before being touched by any of the equipment. All these precautions are necessary, but they do impact the speed on which we are able to work, a bit of a price we must pay for safety! This protocol will be set in place until we feel safe as a team to allow anyone into our salon.