GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- They run, play, and bark, while their owners work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The K9 Kabana in Garner is staying open to serve essential employees.
"We have quite a few clients that are in the medical field, first responders," said owner James Mirgoli. "They're doing a huge favor for everybody, doing us a huge service and the least we can do is take a little bit off their plate. They're working long, long hours."
The K9 Kabana is taking special precautions to limit contact with owners such as offering curbside pickups and dropoffs. There's also The K9 Kabana Koach, which picks up and drops off pups from their homes.
Mirgoli said they use hospital-grade disinfectant and practice social distancing.
"We have one employee per 10 dogs so we space out dramatically," Mirgoli said. "We have a 10,000 square foot facility, three-quarters of an acre outside, fenced-in, so plenty of space for everybody to get plenty of distance."
Stephanie Turner, of Raleigh, works as a healthcare provider in a hospital setting. She works long hours and uses The K9 Kabana's transportation service for her dog, Fob. She said Fob gets stimulating play and socialization for many hours throughout the day.
"Fob is a happy camper, and that allows me to stay focused on providing excellent patient care while at work," Turner said in an email.
But with many people working from home during the COVID-19 crisis, Mirgoli said business is down.
"We're seeing about a third of our customers but knock on wood, very grateful for even that number showing up," said Mirgoli, who added that "parents" entrust them with their care and they treat the dogs as "kids."
"They are our kids, four-legged, but they're our kids," Mirgoli said.