Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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Back to the office prompts people to pet their pets

Stan Laroche has been walking his dog for over a decade, but he’s never been so busy. Not long ago, he usually ended his day at 3pm. But earlier this week at 4:30pm, he had two more dogs to look for. They are new prospects and he will meet and greet the dog before deciding whether to accept them. The next day, he scheduled another new dog, and another on Friday.

“I got four new clients this week alone. Previously, it would have taken me three to four months, maybe even longer,” Brooklyn-based Lalo Shi said he was walking his dog in downtown Staines.

Compared to the 65% drop when the pandemic hit and people suddenly could walk their dogs by themselves, his business was around the clock.

“My biggest problem is that I need workers,” he said. “Everyone adopted in the midst of a pandemic, but now they’re going to the office again.”

All dog walkers La Roche know, the surge is full-blown. Because he also provides pet sitting, during which he accompanies the dogs in the owner’s apartment while they’re away, Laroche is rarely in his own apartment during this summer’s travel and wedding boom. “I haven’t been home for three weeks, it’s nonstop pet care,” he said.

In the first 14 months of the pandemic, more than 23 million U.S. households had a pet, according to the ASPCA, said Christa Cha, vice president of shelter services for the organization. Christa Chadwick described it as an “unprecedented interest”.

While some fashion trends have proven short-lived, pet consumption is unlikely to decrease. When they return to the office, many owners are actually doubling down on their animals and adding a second pet to their household to keep their first companion.

“People are making their pets pets,” said Dr. Cherice Roth, chief veterinary officer at pet telehealth startup Fuzzy. “It’s really common and it really increases the number of pets that must be seen.”

Pet allowance is one of the most popular employee requests

Meanwhile, pet benefits such as pet allowances, providing employees with a fixed monthly payment for animal day care or walking services, or the option to bring your pet to the workplace, are becoming Some of the perks that employees need most.

According to a June survey by pet insurance provider Nationwide, 49% of Gen Z respondents and 45% of Millennials Benefits related to pets will affect them staying with their current employer or leaving the company for one to do so. Across all age groups, the figure was 32%. There are even signs that employees are willing to forgo treats, vacation days and pay raises if it means they can bring their pets into the office.



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