Dogs Crossing: Surviving the COVID-19 pandemic

Santiago Silva Restrepo / May 15, 2020

Dogs Crossing has been operating for the past nine years. Rachelle Mellanby, owner and founder of the business, is a certified trainer with years of experience walking dogs and caring for animals.
(Dogs Crossing)

Dogs Crossing has remained open during the coronavirus outbreak despite other pet care services having closed down due to business struggles.

The dog walking and training business made several changes to its services in order to adapt to social distancing regulations and guarantee the safety of its customers and employees.

Rachelle Mellanby, Dogs Crossing’s owner and founder, said the nature of her business has made adapting possible.

“Our industry is very minimal contact with people when we’re out on the trails. And then also in the homes is very minimal interaction with people. You’re in your truck the whole time as well.” – Rachelle Mellanby, Dogs Crossing Owner

The B.C. government has listed animal care as an essential service in the province, allowing the company to keep operating as long as they can adapt to regulations.

According to Mellanby, increasing hygiene and practicing social distancing was one of their biggest priorities early on. Before the outbreak, she said they would normally go inside their customers’ homes to drop off the dogs and wash up their hands, which is no longer possible.

As a result, they have built their own washing stations inside the trucks to clean their hands after interaction with pets. These makeshift water stations are composed of a portable water container with hand soap taped around it and a towel to dry off their hands.

Dogs Crossing’s pick-up and training procedures have also changed. Mellanby said they have reduced personal contact with their customers by asking them to leave their pets leashed outside the door or backyard rather than picking them up inside.

As for training, she said they have virtual training through zoom, although results have been mixed. Customers prefer personal training, so they have also tried safe distance sessions in open spaces as an option.

Regardless, Mellanby said these changes have been necessary for everyone’s wellbeing.

“We’re actually having to ask the clients to do a bit more. But at least we’re just making it so that we’re touching less of their home and vice versa as well.” – Rachelle Mellanby, Dogs Crossing Owner