Marketplace: Who lets the dogs out?
Jenn Jones began a new business this month with a simple premise: everyone deserves a potty break.
Jones was born and raised in Park City and has always owned a dog. Most of her friends own dogs. She calls herself an active participant in the local dog community.
That’s why she was surprised a few months ago when she spent hours fruitlessly trying to find someone to check on her dog mid-day.
Our furry friends usually use the bathroom every four to six hours. Our workdays are at least eight hours. They learn to adjust, but it’s no less comfortable for them than it would be for us, and it gets harder the older they get, Jones said.
There are dozens of dog walkers in the Park City area and a few dog watchers. But her pet didn’t need either; she just needed someone to open a door for her around lunch time.
"I walk her when I get home so I don’t want her to be tired," she said.
In other communities, such a need would be solved with a doggy door. Because not every Park City neighborhood has or allows fences and shock collars are unpopular and unreliable, not many homes have them here. Jones said friends who did got rid of them.
She was also aware that animals frequently get prescribed medications to be given during the day. As a Realtor, her schedule is a little flexible so friends were always asking her to make house calls.
Convinced the service was needed and not being provided by existing companies, Jones began a new business in July called Potty Breaks.
She stops by client homes as often as they wish and lets the animals out to stretch and do their business. She can change water in bowls, give medication and generally check on the well-being of the dogs.
The visits can be scheduled within a two-hour window and Potty Breaks charges a flat rate for each visit.
With every stop she leaves a report card proving she was there and explaining the mood of the dog so owners can be aware of any unusual behavior or problems.
The more research Jones did in preparation for going into business the more convinced she became the service was more than a luxury.
Older dogs have trouble holding their bladder and the more strain it requires to hold it the higher the risk of incontinence, she said. When well-trained dogs have accidents, it leads to severe stress and anxiety because they know better she said.
It’s also a hard habit to develop for puppies. The consistency of being let out every four to six hours to go helps train proper behavior, Jones explained.
Potty Breaks makes house calls throughout the Park City area from Summit Park to Silver Creek. Client relationships begin with a consultation to ensure all three parties are comfortable with one another, she said.
Scott Thomson said he travels often and works long hours with his career. He worries about his dog Jake and trusts Jones because they used to work in an office together.
"I have a good sense of how she works and how responsible she is. What made her different from everybody else is she’s so proactive in what she does. She has a sense of responsibility. That’s so important with my dog," he said.
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