Newtongrange-based dog walker helps out amid virus outbreak

A local dog walking business is ramping up its efforts to deliver medicine and groceries free of charge to its elderly clients – especially those with underlying health conditions – as fears grow over the coronavirus outbreak.

Monday, 16th March 2020, 7:12 am
Gary Whittle, who runs a dog walking business, is delivering people’s medicine and groceries free of charge.

The owner of Newtongrange-based Pet Helpers, Gary Whittle, says his team walk dogs belonging to a few people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and have been delivering their essentials daily since the ‘beast from the east’ hit the nation two years ago.

But the company has announced on social media the extra steps they will be taking to combat the spread of coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases in Scotland continues to rise on a daily basis.

Among the measures is a pledge by staff to distance themselves by more than two metes from clients, as they pick up and collect pets and drop off essentials at their homes.

They are also looking at wearing face masks when entering people’s homes.

Mr Whittle said: “What made me think of doing this was when I heard additional figures come through about the number of cases almost doubling in one day, and it could double tomorrow and the next day.

“We don’t know how many people are carrying it and that’s the scary thing.

“Every one of my clients in Newtongrange has COPD, a terrible lung condition which means they are a massive risk for coronavirus.”

The 40-year-old believes their health problems are linked to Newtongrange being a former mining village.

He continued: “We will be getting all suited and booted.

“We will be wearing masks to make sure we are not breathing in to their households.

“We will also be keeping our distance and I will say to them ‘we will come and find their dogs in a different room.’ I would hate to go in to a house to pick up a dog and give them coronavirus.

“These services are a small gesture from us to try and make sure these clients are not having to go out as they are by far most at risk.”

The other steps mentioned in the company’s Facebook message include providing free prescription and medication deliveries, regardless of booking dog walks, and delivering essentials like milk and bread and other shopping if needed. These are services already offered by the business free of charge but Mr Whittle expects them to be ramping up their deliveries in the coming weeks.