Jason Harwell of Destin believes pet grooming and boarding should be considered an essential business.

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I am a little bit confused over this new statewide stay home order.

I work at a groom shop in Destin and we supply essential care to animals in the form of medicated baths, shaving of hot spots that can cause infections if left untreated, clip toenails, secrete anal glands, etc.

We have dogs that come into our shop in very poor condition, such as very matted to the point where they have to be completely shaved. For service in the pet care industry and in this community it is vital we coexist with local vets and confer with each other often.

In our facility we also offer boarding; with that comes military personnel who have to leave their animals behind for a period of time and then there are the doctors and nurses who drop their animals off with us before they go to work and pick them up on their way home.

We are an essential functioning branch of the community that needs to be recognized as an essential business. Not only can our contact with clients be limited to zero by offering a drop-off and pick-up kennel within the lobby, but we can take payment over the phone or in the form of a pre-written check or exact cash to be left on the counter.

We can limit how many entered the building at one time. In the animal world we are the eyes, ears and voice of the pets that come through our shops. Our hands go over every inch of their bodies and when we recognize an issue or problem we point that out to the owner so that they can seek veterinarian care.

We have saved countless of dogs lives and majority of our clients are elderly. We need to be recognized as essential businesses.

Jason Harwell, Destin