This dog walking and boarding business was booming. Then the pandemic hit.

This dog walking and boarding business was booming. Then the pandemic hit.

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Erin Chappelear started Dogwalker in the summer of 2001, months before the 9/11 terror attacks.

The crisis forever impacted air travel. And nearly 20 years later, her mobile dog walking and boarding company is trying to navigate another crisis.

“When this started, it was right on the cusp of spring break and we had lots of reservations,” Chappelear said.

“People were traveling, kids were gonna be out of school and then everything ground to a halt."

The dramatic loss in revenue has also led to two-thirds of the company’s team on Oahu and Maui being laid off.

In addition to limited travel, they also must adjust to clients' discomfort with home visits.

“The personalized service that we do, going into people’s homes, really added this extra layer of complexity because our staff have lives outside of this job and so making sure that they are safe, making sure our clients are safe was really paramount,” Chappelear said.

Dogwalker has adapted to the circumstances by offering more mobile services such as grooming and supply shopping, so clients don’t have to leave their homes.

Despite crushing revenue and staffing losses, Chappelear plans to stay open and not shut down completely.

However, the business is preparing for a long dry spell.

“It’s gonna be a slow, gradual recovery,” said Thomas Engle, who works with Dogwalker on a part-time basis. “It’s not going to be all of a sudden, the floodgates of travel are open, so I think it’s gonna take a while and it’s gonna impact the business a while.”

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