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Best of Loudoun 2022 - How We Got Here

It is such an honor to have been voted the winner of the 2022 Best of Loudoun dog walking and pet sitting category. I wanted to take an opportunity to share the story of Pawsitivity Pet Services; how we started, the lessons I've learned along the way, and how we've grown.

I moved to Leesburg from New York in June of 2018. I started dog walking and pet sitting through dog walking apps and slowly built up my business. In February of 2019, Pawsitivity Pet Services was born. Eventually, I found myself working 16 hours, 7 days a week and quickly realized I needed help. I hired my first employee in November of 2019.

Things were looking up with the additional help but that quickly changed in March of 2020 as COVID made its way to the United States; my only employee was laid off and Pawsitivity Pet Services closed its doors for two months. We resumed business in May of 2020 by providing services to essential workers. Two clients resumed services and while more clients would resume over time, our world had changed. Most of my clients were able to work home, allowing them to walk their dogs on their lunch break or in-between meetings. I had to come up with something new to continue to provide value to my clients.

In the beginning of 2021, I started a pack hike service. Groups of up to 4 dogs are taken to local parks to socialize in a controlled setting and to get their energy out on a hike. This service made me feel like there was hope. The service really took off and things were really starting to look up. As the Pawsitivity Pet Services family grew, I was able to hire seven, yes, SEVEN, new employees. I was able to train all new team members to instill the values of quality care and customer service. It could not have happened at a better time. In November of 2021, I was attacked by a clients' 200+ pound dog.

The attack happened so quickly. I was sweeping the floor when the dog started to growl at me. I've worked with this dog for nearly 3 years before this incident, so to say the attack was a surprise would be an understatement. He had bit my right leg, the right side of my back, and latched onto my right arm. I was able to separate us by backing into an indoor/outdoor kennel and closing the door. Unfortunately, in order to fully close the door, I had to remove my jacket, which had my phone and keys in its pocket. When I would poke my head up out of the kennel, the dog would start to growl; I was trapped. I was in the kennel for about an hour yelling for help when finally a neighbor heard me and was able to call for help. A series of doctors visits revealed that there was a portion of the dog's tooth stuck in my elbow and I needed surgery to remove it. After my surgery, I had to attend occupational therapy for three months. I was out of work for 2 months. To this day, I still do not have full motion of my fingers on my right hand.

Today, I am back to completing a few visits but mostly work behind the scenes. Pawsitivity Pet Services has nine amazing employees. I am so grateful to each of them, and all of our past team members, for their hard work. Dog walking and pet sitting has a wrap for being really easy, it is not. We deal with many different species and numerous personalities (both pet and human!). We've cleaned up more pet messes than we can count. We worry about our furry, scaly, and feathery off the clock. We cry when they cross the rainbow bridge; it never gets easier. Every hand that has ever touched Pawsitivity Pet Services has played a huge part in its success, and I am truly blessed to have worked with each individual.

I would like to give a shout out to not only our past and current employees, but to all the local businesses that help me on the back end. I do not have a business degree, everything I have accomplished I have learned by doing and asking questions. I cannot thank Eagle Rock Bookkeeping, Peden Accounting, and Erlich Law enough for their wisdom and patience. It really takes a village to do everything we do. Thank you for voting Pawsitivity Pet Services the winner of the Best of Loudoun 2022 dog walking and pet sitting category and we look forward to another great year of serving you.

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