This summer, as more people returned to work and resumed travel, demand for pet care increased, though a lack of workers posed challenges to keep up with the demand.
Many people also took in new pets during the pandemic and shutdown, adding to the need for pet care during the day. Local facilities that cater to both dogs and cats have been affected.
Godspeed Animal Care and St. Francis Pet Resort & Rehabilitation Center in Williamsburg has seen a rise in the need for daily pet care. In July, Dr. Pamela N. Dumont, a veterinarian with Godspeed Animal Care, sent a letter to clients addressing the difficulties the pandemic has had on providing services over the past 18 months.
“It has been challenging for all parties concerned,” Dumont said. “The need for veterinary care has expanded exponentially, both locally and nationally. With increased numbers of pets, the closing of hospitals due to staffing difficulties, and because of the many hours needed to wait at emergency centers, the demand for care has skyrocketed.”
As a result of its staffing issues, Godspeed Animal Care and St. Francis Pet Resort & Rehabilitation Center altered services, closing playcare on weekends and reducing playcare hours during the week.
“We understand that playcare is essential for many animals and we will be trying to divide these available spaces equitably,” Dumont said. “We are actively trying to increase team numbers to accommodate the need for these services, but until that is accomplished, we cannot maintain the standard of care for our boarders and playcare animals by spreading our staff that thin.”
The need for cat care during the day has also shot up. The Meow Manor in Newport News, which specializes in cat boarding, saw a 347 percent increase in June 2021 compared to June 2020. In July 2020, The Meow Manor had zero cats, while in July 2021, the facility had 20. The facility had to hire additional staff to meet its needs.
“Plan ahead,” owner Angela Lang said. “Facilities are booking up quickly.”
Those looking for animal day care are also asked to be patient as businesses deal with increased demand.
“Let’s continue together to strive for grace and calm as we endure this difficult season, appreciating and respecting each other as we continue to love and care for your pets,” Dumont said.