To put it mildly, this does in fact stink.

To best support you and your dogs during the evolving COVID-19 situation, we are rolling out some proactive policy changes, services, and resources that we will continue to adapt and update to keep pace with community safety. Read on to see what's changing and watch this space for updates …

Why?

COVID-19 has been classified as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization and its impacts are already being felt in communities across the world including here in the United States. Best practice recommendations for individuals include strict social distancing and increased sanitation protocols to help flatten the curve and prevent local health systems from being overwhelmed. It's important to us to be good citizens, supportive community members, and to engage in harm reduction. We also know from experience that being proactive rather than reactive allows for the most effective approach with the least negative cost.

What?

We will be adapting our services and practices to keep pace with preserving public safety. We have updated these services as of 3.20.20 to reflect evidence of community spread here in Austin and the surrounding area:

Initial Individual Private Session Options

  • Remote Video Conferencing Consult - includes individual written training plan, $90/public, $75/fosters: This format will still allow us to see your dogs in action, coach you in real time, model skills and behaviors with our own dogs (you get to virtually meet Socks, Monkey, Rosie, and Artie!), and still allows us to see one another face to face.
  • Up to 30min Phone Troubleshooting - option with pre-written training plans only, $30: Purchasing a pre-written training plan but want to talk it through and see how it applies to your personal situation? This is a great troubleshooting option for simpler, single issue needs.

Private Follow-Up Options

  • Remote Video Conferencing Consult - $75/public, $60/fosters: This format will still allow us to see your dogs in action, coach you in real time, model skills and behaviors with our own dogs (you get to virtually meet Socks, Monkey, Rosie, and Artie!), and still allows us to see one another face to face.
  • Up to 30min Phone Troubleshooting - $30/public and fosters: This is available as a follow-up option as appropriate (we need to see you and your pup in action for some issues for follow-up coaching too) for those who have already had an initial remote video conferencing consult.

Pre-Written Training Plans

Available for fearful dogs, leash reactivity, guarding, jumpy/mouthy, separation anxiety (mild/moderate SA only - no graduated departure schedule), dog/dog integration, dog/cat integration - $45

Available for potty training, medical rest, newly adopted/fostered dog - FREE

Group Classes, Webinars, and Live Meet-Ups

  • Effective 3.20.20 we have temporarily suspended in-person group classes due to community spread of the COVID-19 virus in Austin and the surrounding area. We will be replacing in-person groups with digital group classes, webinars, and live meet-ups. Watch our social media and website for details!

In-Shelter Services

Shelter services will continue to support this vulnerable population during a situation that impacts them significantly. We urge anyone able to do so to bring home a foster to preserve quality of life for shelter animals and support the safety of those of us caring for them. As of 3.16.20, Austin Animal Center (Austin's city shelter) has closed to the public, volunteers included. We are still supporting a group of city shelter dogs transferred to a private boarding facility but would love to find fosters for these pups too!

How Can You Help?

This will be a tough time for small businesses, vulnerable populations, healthcare professionals, and many others. We will reserve our advice for our little corner of the world and what we expect to be most helpful.

Support Small Businesses Like Ours

  • First and foremost, take advantage of the new remote services businesses are rolling out as we adapt to the evolving situation! If and only if (we know many of our colleagues and so many across other industries will also be taking a heavy financial hit) you have the financial means, consider taking some above and beyond steps to support local small businesses like trainers, pet sitters, dog walkers, and pet boarding facilities. The vast majority of us do not get paid if we do not work and are responsible for our own health insurance/care costs out of pocket. If you wish to cancel an appointment, consider doing so without accepting a refund. If you can afford to overpay, consider booking an additional service you don't intend to use or asking about the option to add X amount to your service fee. You can also write supportive reviews on social media and apps like Yelp, interact with social media posts, and help spread the word!

Support Your Community's Vulnerable Homeless Pet Population

  • This is obviously true year round but we're in the midst of kitten and puppy season and animal shelters, particularly open intake animal shelters, are being hit particularly hard by the impacts of COVID-19. Our city shelter, Austin Animal Center, is currently closed to the public which means staff are stretched thin to provide ongoing care and move animals out of the shelter through adapted protocols. Please consider bringing home a foster animal if you are able in order to help bring the shelter population down and preserve quality of life for homeless companion animals and safety for the humans who care for them. Maybe you're having to work remotely now anyway - fostering lets you support our community from the comfort of home! You can also donate to Friends of Austin Animal Center who are providing supplies, training, and beyond to foster animals and their caretakers. (PS. Wonderful, amazing Dog Possible clients - some of you cannot foster due to the needs of the animals in your homes and that is 100% okay!)

Keep Your Own Dogs (and those fosters!) Happy & Enriched

Again, this is true all the time. But in the current moment, we feel lucky to have companion animals at home for comfort and mutual enrichment as social opportunities contract. You can still walk your dog! You can spend time outdoors at a safe distance from others (ask our #teamleashgremlin pups how!). And you sure as heck can engage in enrichment activities. Now is the time to delve into ideas and have some fun with your dog:

Resources

General COVID-19 Info

COVID-19 and Companion Animals

*There is no evidence dogs can transmit COVID-19 to humans or become ill from the virus.

Local Austin Resources