MILLCREEK, Utah – A small business feeling the sting of the COVID-19 outbreak is finding a way to stay open, while helping those who combat the virus.
The Little Dogs Resort, a day care and boarding facility for small dogs, saw business dry up when people began staying at home and abandoning travel plans due to coronavirus.
To keep doors open and staff employed, the owner of the facility started the Special Heroes Program.
“What we are doing is a program designed to help first responders,” said Jennifer McMurrough, the president and owner of Little Dogs Resort.
The program offers extended hours and reduced rates for heath care workers and anyone making sacrifices in the name of public safety.
In the few days since the program began, several people have reached out to McMurrough to make donations to help those seeking care for a pet.
“People who have never used us are contacting us to say, I’m not a medical professional, but I want to sponsor one,” McMurrough said.
The program is having two effects.
It is allowing those who work long days of 12 or more hours to have the peace of mind knowing their beloved pets are safe.
“He gets to play with his friends, he doesn’t have to stay in the kennel all day,” said Lexi Purbaugh, a nurse who works in the Salt Lake valley.
By caring for dogs of health care workers , the business is also able to stay open, meaning staff members remain employed.
“When this thing started, the first thing that came to mind was how can I take care of my staff,” McMurrough said.
The program honors someone very close to McMurrough’s heart who recently passed away.
“My mother was a nurse. She got her Ph.D. at the University of Utah. She would want me to figure out a way to help our medical professionals, her medical family,” McMurrough said.
Every precaution is being taken to keep workers and clients safe. No contact drop-offs and pick-ups, along with the use of masks, gloves and smocks are methods being used to prevent the spread of germs.
This is another unique example of a business being creative, while also helping the community. In this case, both humans and pets are banding together to make it to the other side of this difficult time.
“I am optimistic and we are going to get through this,” McMurrough said.