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Tampa dog walkers credit loyal customers for keeping business afloat during pandemic

Posted at 2:42 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 17:08:01-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Amanda George and Lalka Morales never thought how grateful they'd be to be picking up after dogs.

The business George and Morales have been building since 2013, SoHo Hound, lost about 90% of its clients in a matter of days when the pandemic started.

"We literally came to a screeching halt business-wise. It was very scary," said George.

Their team went from walking an average of 75 dogs a day down to about five.

"We had to call all 15 staff, tell them, 'hey we don't have work for you,' which is absolutely devastating as business owners," said George.

However, these dog walkers didn't quit. They pulled themselves up by the leash and carried on, just the two of them.

"It just felt like starting the business from scratch again, and it's really difficult to do that seven and a half years later," said Morales.

They learned that those pet owners who kept calling weren't just loyal customers — they were family.

"Clients were booking us when they didn't need us. They were working from home, just to keep our business afloat," said George.

"Without their help, their love, their support, we wouldn't have gotten through this," said Morales.

SoHo Hound has since rebounded to re-hire ten employees. Those clients who kept paying for daily walks when times were the toughest, George and Morales had a special thank you.

"So we had art pieces made for each of our clients that stood by us," said Morales. "Every single dog or cat that our clients had, and we framed it and gave it to them."

They now have hopes of soon expanding their business into St. Pete, something that seemed impossible back in March.

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