Dog Walking During COVID-19

June 05, 2020


We love our walkers at Windy City Paws. We wanted to share the experience of one of our walkers, Michael B., regarding what it is like to dog walk during COVID-19. Read on to learn more about what a typical day in his life looks like during these times!

Dog walking over the last couple of months has been a constant learning experience with new challenges and changes thrown in weekly. Over time, though, something like a new routine has settled in which has made this time a lot easier for me. Before heading out for my day, I make sure I have all of my essentials (hand sanitizer, keys, spare poop bags) on me and make sure to have my face mask on and tight. To avoid the possibility of cross-contamination I avoid using gloves, but I always bring a few pairs of disposable gloves just in case I need them.

Since I don’t have a car and biking is difficult downtown I take the CTA, but this is actually not quite as daunting as it seems. The trains are practically empty during my commute, so distancing isn’t too difficult and I can avoid touching any surfaces on them. The buses have started accepting passengers through the back door and limiting the number of passengers allowed which keeps things safer. I do give myself more overall travel time than I usually would to get to and from my route though!

My route consists of all high-rise buildings, and at each one, their staff has done a wonderful job keeping things clean and limiting the number of people in the elevators (I often strive to make sure I’m riding the elevator solo whenever possible and pressing elevator buttons with my elbow)! All of my clients have done their very best to make things easy for me, leaving walk equipment out and even providing hand sanitizer for me to use! Before this pandemic, I was fairly cautious about not touching anything in client homes that aren’t necessary and hand-washing after walks (now before & after) but at this moment it’s super-important and I’m very lucky to have clients providing everything I need! On walks, though there’s definitely a range of how seriously people are taking socially distancing, the pups and I have been able to have comfortable, fun walks and seeing their sweet, happy faces every day makes every moment of this trying time worth it!

When I get back home from my route, I immediately change into my “inside” clothes, keeping any clothes and masks I wear outside separate so I can clean them, and then wash my hands. I’ve been spending my spare shelter in place time reading, catching up on my Netflix queue, keeping my hands moisturized from all this washing, and teaching myself some basic video editing. Though things are unpredictable and difficult right now, I’m so lucky to get to continue to help care for dogs!

We want to thank Michael for sharing his experience! We would also like to thank our clients who have been working with us to help keep their pets and walkers healthy and safe during this time!

Written for Windy City Paws by Michael B.