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Business Monday: The dog days of the coronavirus

Jerry Blumberg, owner of Aspen Pet Pals, which his wife originally started, hangs out with a group of clients and friends.
Courtesy photo

In 2013, Aspen resident Jerry Blumberg eased away from a career in financial management and stockbroking to join his wife’s business of dog walking and pet sitting.

Neither industry has been unscathed by the global pandemic of 2020 and possibly beyond, something Blumberg would know.

“Things are very tough for everybody right now,” said Blumberg, owner of Aspen Pet Pals. “I can’t speak for the whole world, but even here in Aspen, things are tough. People are losing jobs, people are filing for employment.”

As well, people aren’t traveling nearly as much as they were pre-pandemic, which means the demand for dog sitting has dropped.

“Most of my clients are not second-home owners,” Blumberg said. “Most are working stiffs, but we’ve also had people who’ve had to cancel their trips to the Master’s and Hawaii.”

Blumberg said he still gets requests to walk dogs or kennel them from his home business. Some of his Aspen clients aren’t comfortable going outside during the pandemic, he said. Other dog owners are too busy working from home or at the office if they can.

“I pick them up in Aspen, door to door,” he said. “People have wipes and we do our stuff. We don’t hug and kiss. We don’t shake hands. We don’t have even have to do the elbow. I just put on my mask, and off we go.”

Blumberg accompanies canines on outdoor adventures to the Maroon Bells, the Difficult area, Hunter Creek Valley and Crown Park in El Jebel, for instance.

He also is a member of Pet Sitters International, an educational association for professional pet sitters and dog walkers.

“During this time of global uncertainty, professional pet sitters and dog walkers continue offering vital services in their local communities, providing pet owners with peace of mind that their pets are receiving the best care,” PSI President Beth Stultz-Hairston said on the organization’s website. “We encourage pet owners to continue supporting and using the services of their local professional pet sitters and dog walkers. People’s livelihoods — and pet owners’ continued access to reliable pet care — are depending on it.”

Jerry’s wife, Suzanne, started the business, while Jerry now is the face of it.

More information is at http://www.aspenpetpals.com or 970-618-4207.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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