When The Snowpocalypse Comes!

Portland gets a bad rap for how it handles "inclement weather." Instead of salting roads and keeping an unnecessary fleet of snow plows in the city's coffers, Portland does what every school-aged child hopes for... it decrees a "snow day." Now, if you're from a place where salting and plowing roads is the norm, consider this a lesson in West Coast/Portland mentality.

I realize that some of you are screaming at your computer screen, "But I have a job!" Well, this is where Portland differs from everywhere else. Employers (most of them, anyway) get that you ALSO have a life. They understand that schools may be cancelled, and you may need to leave early or stay just home. They understand roads may be unsafe, and that you should use your best judgement, when determining if you should go to work. A lot of places even give you the option to work from home. Take advantage of that perk! Long story short: if you can... just stay home and enjoy the snow day(s).

But, let's say you can't. You work in a hospital. You're a firefighter or a paramedic. You are ESSENTIAL to the operation of your company, which has decided it MUST stay open on a blustery, snowy day. Or, worse... you work for Scrooge McDuck. In short, you have no other option but to go to work and... gasp... what do you do about the dog walking visit you scheduled for poor Fido?! Fear not! If you hired me to be your dog walker/pet sitter, these are my policies for handling scheduled services during inclement weather:

  1. I do NOT charge cancellation fees for services cancelled less than 24 hours in advance, due to inclement weather. I keep a pretty close eye on the weather. As soon as I learn about possible snow (which may or may not lead to city-wide closures), I notify scheduled clients about their availability. While I normally charge a $25 cancellation fee for services cancelled less than 24 hours in advance, or cost of the service cancelled (whichever is less), I do NOT charge cancellation fees when those services are cancelled due to inclement weather. Therefore, when I notify clients about scheduled services, I ask them to please let me know ASAP if they no longer need my services for the day. This helps me plan the remainder of my day accordingly. Which leads me to my next point...

  2. Pets requiring medication take priority. Once I've figured out which furry clients still need visits, I prioritize times based on those in need of medications. That is, I will do my utmost best to make sure that they are visited at their regularly scheduled time, to ensure they receive their required medications in a timely manner.

  3. Pets on "strict" potty schedules get next priority. That is, some clients have puppies or elderly dogs that really need to maintain a schedule to ensure they don't have any "accidents" inside their home. Caring for these special needs pets is my next priority. Please understand that I *still* ask for a bit of leeway (usually 30 minutes, in either direction) around the scheduled appointment time.

  4. For all other care services, I simply ask pet owners to understand that I may need to do a bit of schedule juggling in order to ensure every pet will be seen! My motto, like the U.S. Postal Service's unofficial motto, is pretty much the same:

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

So, if you can count yourself among the lucky ones who get to stay home and play/frolic in the fun 'n' fluffy snow... yay! Good on you! Go out and enjoy it... and take Fido too! If, however, you're strapping on the tire chains and gearing up to spend the next 8 hours in an office with bad overhead lighting—saying sad goodbyes to your furry friend—rest assured that s/he will be well cared for while you're gone. If you've scheduled a visit from me, I will be there to play snowball fetch with dear Fido in your absence. Hey... someone's gotta enjoy the snow!