2020 has been a year full of unusual and unpredictable changes to the way we live and work. Our communities have seen businesses temporarily close and then some, more permanently.
As we all look towards this year ending and into the new year and the new opportunities it represents, we want to take the time to look at the businesses we have met before here at The Warwickshire Review and see what they’re up to now….introducing our brand new weekly feature, Throwback Thursday!
Last year, we were fortunate enough to write about Pooch Patrol and hear more about this small business from its owner, Jonathan Chapman. This warm-hearted animal lover has been providing pet services to the Warwickshire area for over two years. And whilst 2020 has proven to be a tough year for his business, his passion and the kindness and loyalty of his customers has given him the strength to push on through.
Since hearing from Jonathan last year and featuring him in our Saturday Business Spotlight, his company has been on an incredible journey. With his astonishing offering of services and passion for all his furry friends, it doesn’t surprise us that Pooch Patrol became so popular he was turning business away.
With his connection to the Dog’s Trust in Kenilworth still going strong, he made the decision to take on staff. Working alongside a lovely couple, Jonathan was able to offer more dog owner’s around Warwickshire access to his services. Unfortunately, as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all of us, Pooch Patrol had to temporarily close during the first lockdown and Jonathan has told us of the difficulties he has faced since.
Government support has been sporadic and sparse for most communities throughout this pandemic
and the economic market has been in complete upheaval. Jonathan has told us how 2020 has
treated him and like many of us self-employed folks, it has not been too kind. In order to qualify for
government support as a self-employed person, you must have been trading for a minimum of three
years, leaving many individuals out of the equation entirely. As a result, like many business owners,
Jonathan found he was unable to access any Covid-19 related grants provided by the government.
Jonathan was forced to temporarily close but as lockdown measures eased, many pet owners
continued working from home or were furloughed and restricted in their activities. As a result, Pooch Patrol faced a big dip in business when they reopened. Jonathan has expressed how heartbroken he felt to lose out on seeing some of the furry friends he has been working with since starting Pooch Patrol back in August of 2018. “One thing they don’t teach you in dog training school is how close and attached you become to each dog you look after”.
Being self-employed isn’t without many positives too. Jonathan describes the pleasures he feels
being his own boss and the joy he feels having a collaborative relationship with pet owners to ensure
their animal’s health, happiness and wellbeing. This business owner is driven by his love for animals.
He describes each dog sitting session as an hour hanging out with one of his best friends. So, losing
some of these regular walks and check ins has been difficult for Jonathan. Whilst things have been slow, it hasn’t necessarily been quiet for this local entrepreneur. He has been working on his diploma whilst also developing his pet advice services. This includes a blog ‘Ramblings Of A Dog Walker‘ which he has been running for a while and a new YouTube channel, Pooch Patrol TV!
Whilst things remain uncertain for public health, Jonathan has decided that his courses will have to be adapted to online in order to provide customers with the option to complete their training via video link.
We really don’t want to harp on about Covid-19 all the time, but as it seems to be the centre of everything at the moment, it is important for us to discuss the measures Pooch Patrol have in place to ensure your safety and your pet’s safety. Ensuring he follows social distancing measures and Covid-secure guidelines for working, Jonathan continues to offer walks for your dogs and works with each pet owner to ensure they can all remain safe. Customers are asked to put on any collars or harnesses beforehand and Jonathan also offers the option of using his own leads to ensure social distancing measures are followed to the highest standard.
If you are looking to enrich your dog’s life or perhaps you know someone who could use guidance with their own pet ownership, Jonathan is offering Christmas vouchers for his services starting at £10. These will make great stocking filler gifts for your nearest and dearest pet owners.
2020 has been a year full of valuable lessons and many hurdles which have meant we have often had to lean on one another. Jonathan wants to thank his loyal customers for their support and encouragement during such difficult times. Their loyalty and friendship have given him the strength to continue trying to grow Pooch Patrol. We look forward to seeing Pooch Academy welcoming its first lucky students into the new year.