Pet Care Pro Quarterly - Q2 2020

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Q2 2020


PET CARE PRO QUARTERLY ONLINE Find Pet Care Pro Quarterly information, issues, articles, and more at WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO AN ISSUE? Submission guidelines are online at HAVE EXCITING INDUSTRY NEWS? Submit press releases to WANT TO ADVERTISE? Please contact GET SOCIAL! Follow IBPSA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @petcareservices

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FROM THE PUBLISHER Finding Strength in Numbers. We are in this TOGETHER!


uring this challenging time of social distancing, business closures, and uncertainty about the immediate future, being part of the association is more vital than ever. It is important that we stay up on the latest government news, brainstorm ideas to pivot our businesses, and keep in touch with other pet care service providers. IBPSA has been working hard to make sure that you have access to information, ideas, and a way to communicate with your fellow members. I want you to know that we are continuing our commitment to support you, your staff, and the industry. During the first quarter of this year, we built a COVID-19 landing page on our website. A workspace in the member dashboard for COVID was developed which holds documents pertaining to small business owners and government loans. IBPSA presented webinars that not only discussed preparing your facility for eventual reopening, but covered other items such as PPP Loans, grooming services, and rebooting your business. With sponsorship from Kinn, Inc. we started virtual meet & greets around the nation. Some of you reached out to let us know that you were using this time to catch up on education for your employees. IBPSA responded by deeply discounting our certifications to decrease costs to you. For those of you who have moved up to Premium Membership you have increased the ROI on your membership by adding 120 pieces of education for all of your employees to participate in.

Some of you needed CEUs for your PACCC certification, so IBPSA completed a review of all our materials and renewed all of our training materials with PACCC so that completing your educational credits would be easier. As I write this letter, we are submitted additional webinars for CEUs to further increase the value of your membership. As we move through the second quarter of 2020, IBPSA will continue to provide pertinent webinars, resources, and education to help you not only survive this time but achieve business success. And even as we continue to monitor developments, IBPSA is looking forward to coming together with you in the Fall at our annual Conference and Trade Show in Orlando, Florida. Early bird registration is now open at our site. If any changes are needed, you’ll be the first to know. All of us here at IBPSA are here to support you as this is our core mission. We look forward to hearing from you with your stories, successes, and requests. Be well.

Thank you for your continued support of IBPSA

Carmen Rustenbeck Publisher, Pet Care Pro Quarterly Founder & CEO, IBPSA International Boarding & Pet Services Association


Kelly Cullum

Kelly is the former COO and Corporate Officer of Biotech/Diagnostic Medical Device Space. Working within the Veterinary diagnostic arena provided the springboard to opening her first facility in 2004 followed by a second facility in 2012.

Mike Hajduk

Mike is the immediate past president of Callahan Roach Business Solutions, the premier provider of flat rate pricing and marketing products in the HVAC, plumbing and swimming pool industries.

Alex McKinnon

Alex has 30+ years of increasing responsibility, with innovation senior leadership roles with Kinn, Gillette, Braun, Bell Sports, Sara Lee, Sylvan Learning Center, Hampton Products International and TopicalNet based in USA, Spain, Germany, and Scandinavia.

Jessica Finnegan

Jessica has more than 15 years in the pet service industry and has served as a hospital administrator for several hospitals in Maryland and New York. Jessica was the Director of Operations for one of the largest hybrid veterinary and boarding resorts in the US.

Daniel Talbott

Dan is working to deliver the next generation of analytics platform for occupational safety, risk management and loss control systems. Dan brings years of operational experience managing large IT operations, safety and cyber security for large companies around the world.

Ryan Ainsworth

Ryan has been a veterinarian for 12 years, purchasing his first clinic 6 years ago in Mesa, Arizona. He has since purchased two more. His most recent purchase was Bark Avenue, which has an Animal Hospital, Pet Resort, and a Pet Supply store.

Ron Sosa

Ron is currently responsible for the vision, growth, and economic stability of Bark Avenue Enterprises located in Mesa, Arizona. As the Director of Operations, he is involved in three veterinary hospitals, one pet resort, and one pet supply retail store. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR BOARD MEMBERS, VISIT


Forward-thinking pet care businesses had it easy a decade ago… If they chose to run an SEO campaign, the lack of competition when it came to Web Marketing made it easy to show up on Page One and get their phones ringing. 2020 presents a different story. An unprecedented amount of small businesses are running Search Engine Optimization campaigns, meaning you can’t just run an SEO campaign – you have to run an effective SEO campaign using the Web’s latest best practices.



Since SEO is an ongoing effort to boost your Website traffic and new customer calls, it doesn’t make sense to utilize a static strategy. If you’re a DIY-er, make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your site. This will provide you with metrics (like page views, traffic sources, which device people use to view your site) to measure your campaign. If you work with a Web Marketing provider, make sure they send you reporting that makes sense to you (it’s a big red flag if they won’t show you results of their work). One of the simplest measurement tools are keyword rankings. You (or your provider) should regularly perform searches on Google for combinations of your services followed by an area that you serve. If your company shows up as one of the first results when you search “dog boarding Potomac MD,” you are performing strongly. If you can’t find your company until the 4th page, you’ve got work to do. Now, as for how to improve those rankings...


You could argue that a well-balanced diet can have a good impact on your SEO campaign, but when we say EAT, we’re referring to your company’s Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness online. Search engines like to reward pet care Websites for having educational content. When customers are searching for service providers, they’re also looking for information about the service they need. Google intends to provide the best match possible when they fetch results for users. Make sure you’re optimizing your site to include informative content about your company and its offerings. This will work wonders for your SEO campaign in the long run, by establishing your company’s authority and expertise on the subject. Trustworthiness can be boosted by staying on top of your online reviews. Any small business can attest to this: customers will hold you accountable to their experience with your company online (whether they’re right or wrong). To show customers, and Google, that you run a reputable operation, be sure to respond to ALL of your reviews. If you get negative reviews, respond to let them know you want to make the situation right. Make sure to say thanks to the positive reviews, too!

Pro tip: Review generation is an excellent way to build your reputation fast. Make sure you have a system in place to reach out to satisfied customers to leave a review online.


User experience has always been a hot topic in Web Marketing, and for good reason: it’s well-known that Google takes this into consideration when ranking sites online. If you want your SEO efforts to work for you, be sure to optimize for the following: • Page Speed: No one likes to wait, especially online. Make sure that all of the elements of your site (the design, photos, videos, etc.) are optimized to load quickly while still retaining quality. There are plenty of tools online that will tell you how long your site takes to load. • Mobile Friendly-ness: When someone needs a place to keep their pet for the weekend, or a trusted trainer, etc., it’s more likely nowadays that they’re grabbing their phone before they settle down to their desktop computers. More people are visiting Websites online and making a call ASAP, so make sure your Website is kind to mobile visitors. A mobile-friendly Website kills two birds with one stone: you’re pleasing your prospects and search engines!

Pro tip: You don’t need everything on your site to transfer into the mobile experience. Talk to your Website provider about the most important things you feel should be visible on the mobile view of your Website.


• SEO doesn’t need to be broad. Focus on local markets for your company first, and then branch out. Make sure your Google My Business listing is claimed, accurate, and consistently updated.

Pro tip: Falling behind on your GMB listing maintenance can – and will – result in the listing’s suspension or removal. • Link building is still a quality way to build on your SEO campaign. When links to your Website are posted on other reputable Websites, Google notices. Offer to write guest posts for local news sites or community blogs. Exchanging links with businesses in your area or industry contacts you have outside of your market can favorably affect your SEO efforts.

If you’re looking for help measuring your current SEO rankings, Market Hardware is happy to help IBPSA members. Just email asking for a free ranking report, and we’ll be happy to reach out!




s a pet care services business owner, one of the many things that you may be faced with in the future is a realization that at some point you may need to exit from the business. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as health problems, burn-out, age, etc. When this happens, the common belief is that the only viable options are to sell your business or turn it over to a family member. However, this case study explores another option that might be a better fit. We spent time interviewing ABC Pet Resort’s Owner Suzanne Locker and her General Manager, Jennifer Wolf-Pierson, to show you a different path. Late in 2015, Suzanne & her husband, Al, came to the conclusion that Suzanne wanted to step away from running ABC after almost 25 years of holding the General Manager/Owner position. Over time, she had developed a lack of enthusiasm toward the business she created and loved. In a nutshell, it had become “a never-ending job”, and the Lockers knew that it was time develop a plan for Suzanne to step back. The following are the steps they took for a positive and successful exit strategy.

1) Deciding Which Strategy

Suzanne opened ABC Pet Resort in 1991 and has carefully built an amazing culture built on excellence, caring, and service to others. The Lockers have four children and eight grandchildren; however, none of them were ever interested in the business which made the option of a family succession impossible. Through the last ten years, the Lockers have looked into selling ABC, but came to the same conclusion each time. It did not make sense for them financially to sell because of the capital gains tax liabilities they would incur, as well as the loss of the attractive income and benefits they currently enjoy from ABC. It made much more sense to take a different path going forward, which would enable Suzanne to continue to live a comfortable lifestyle while stepping away from the GM position. They decided they would hire a replacement for Suzanne and spend at least two years mentoring that person to take over all of Suzanne’s duties.

They also created a very clear profile for the new GM. Important qualities and requirements they were looking for in the interview process were: • A friendly, positive person who was like-minded, i.e., who would treat staff and clients as Suzanne did • Someone with understanding and previous experience in business, management, and team leadership • Experience overseeing a number of employees (10 or more) • A college degree in business management or accounting • Someone who would be coachable to learn about proper pet care Note: They concluded that having previous experience working in pet care was not a requirement – pet care is much easier to teach than business experience!

3) Hiring

After 7 months interviewing many applicants, they found and hired Jennifer to be the General Manager to help them achieve their plan and vision. She met all the requirements they were looking for, with years of experience working for a multi-location national retail corporation. Her experience included not only managing several locations, but also leading start-up operations for new stores and overseeing large staff. Many of the corporate management techniques Jennifer used were not in Suzanne’s areas of strengths, but became a huge asset and a great compliment to ABC’s core leadership and management. A key takeaway was that time and effort spent hiring is key to success.

2) Finding the Right Replacement

The Lockers created clear written expectations of the new GM’s role, which were spelled out in a detailed job description. There was heavy emphasis on business capabilities such as understanding a balance sheet, profit and loss statements and other accounting reports, and a knowledge of how to collect and analyze statistical data. PET CARE PRO QUARTERLY | Q2 2020 | IBPSA.COM/PETCAREPRO | 11


4) Training

From the beginning, Jennifer’s desk was set up adjacent to Suzanne’s in the same room. This enabled Jennifer to hear exactly how Suzanne communicates with staff and clients. It also provided a way for her to ensure the new GM was interacting with people in the same way. The two highest hurdles for their transition were making sure Jennifer gained the confidence and trust of the staff members and learned all the procedures and protocols that were in place. Jennifer was able to clear both hurdles by one action. She immersed herself completely in each of the service departments’ teams. Beginning in the lodging department, she scheduled her weekly hours working alongside the staff as a new lodging tech, learning the duties of each shift. She then did the same with the grooming, daycare, training, and office departments. By working with the entire staff, they saw her as a fun “equal” who they could trust. In the same spirit, the Lockers began early in the process to involve Jennifer in all aspects of leadership including taking her to experience pet industry conferences, Chamber of Commerce meetings and other community events, both in and out of town. Photographs of her with pet guests were also interjected into numerous advertising promotions online, so that Jennifer could become the new face of ABC.

5) Leadership

One of the key ways Jennifer was able to build up the team was by creating and ensuring Leadership Meetings are offered to all staff members who would agree to a weekly hour-long meeting together. The content of these meetings includes a wide variety of topics that teach how to grow their careers and reach whatever dreams they have in mind. The goal was to facilitate professional growth, whether that is with ABC, or on another path they choose. Topics include learning to budget, learning the principals of some of the leading business authors such as Michael Gerber’s (E-Myth Revisited), and discussing current operational procedures to hear their input about whether it’s a relevant policy, if it’s being conducted correctly by the staff, and then listen to their ideas for changing the procedures if necessary.

6) Succession planning

The ABC succession plan has also been integrated into their staff structure. First, they make sure that managers are limited to direct reporting from 3 to 5 people, which keeps the managers from being overwhelmed and allows them to continually check the quality of everyone they

are responsible for. Creating positions, like assistant managers or supervisors helps even out the overseeing responsibility of each manager. They also believe in financial rewards for advancement as a staff member moves from a high proficiency level in one department, into another department to learn and grow in proficiency there. Performance-based bonuses are also available to allow team members to increase their pay by doing a number of extra tasks throughout the two-week pay period. Unintended benefits of this strategy! Hiring a new GM put fresh eyes on how ABC operated and gave Suzanne time to work “on the business instead of in the business”. She is proud to share some of the accomplishments that have been met since Jennifer was hired and they’ve implemented her creative new ideas.



• Increase in sales revenue:

average per ticket has in-

creased 12% • Substantial increase in add-on percentages - from 42% to an average of 68% • Individual-play has increased 50% • Team members have a clearly-understood career path • Improved consistency of quality pet care Although the goal was for the new GM to keep ABC running successfully and with the same spirit, the Lockers never expected to see such compelling, and happy, results like those above.

In summary...

The Lockers designed a great plan over 4 years ago. By sticking to that plan, hiring the perfect GM, and building on their culture, ABC has become that much stronger, larger, and more profitable. The systemization of procedures Jennifer has implemented, including the succession plan for their team members and the bonus structures for key positions have all made an incredible difference.

In the meantime, Suzanne has been able to continue enjoying the journey, earn a good ongoing income stream, spend less time working and more on living. Jennifer’s great work has contributed significantly to the increase in the financial value of ABC. What the Lockers started with their long-term strategy doesn't just benefit ABC's owners, staff, clients, and pet guests. Their focus on creating a better culture is a sustainable business differentiator, which also creates a positive influence within the pet care services industry. Due in part to their family-like culture, both Suzanne and Jennifer were selected to be the leaders of IBPSA's Ambassador program which welcomes and shows new industry players a way forward when they most need the help. They have also been key influencers with industry vendors helping to ensure that better products and services come to market. In summary, they have been role models showing that better plans and execution not only improve the outcome, but also the journey for them and so many others.


My cell phone rang at approximately 2:00 am Monday, October 9, 2017.


It rang only once and I was instantly awake. I could see from the caller ID that it was one of my best friends, Emma, but the phone rang only once. Then my home phone rang and the caller ID showed it was also Emma. “I’m up”. “There’s a fire and we have to evacuate..” she began. “Meet me at the shop. I’m on my way” I said. I had no sooner hung up the phone when Nixle alerts started coming to my cell phone fast and furious – evacuate Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, areas in Lake County etc. This was so not going to be good.

by Kelly Boesel Blue Ribbon Pets in Ukiah, California

I woke my 16 year old daughter, who was used to this from my time in search and rescue when we would be called out in the middle of the night and she would be hustled off to grandma’s or a friend’s house while I responded to the call. “Ericka, get up. There’s a fire and I’m meeting Tia Emma at the shop because she’s been ordered to evacuate. I don’t know exactly what’s going on but be ready to leave”. On my way to the office, I started texting my current staff as well as friends, family and past staff members who I knew could be counted on in an emergency to help. I started a post on our business Facebook page stating we were open for evacuees along with our phone number and my cell phone number. Within 15 minutes I had everyone at work, along with my niece, my daughter and the neighbors who had also received Nixle alerts. Shortly after, we received a call from the local Humane Society. They were in the expected path of the fire and needed to evacuate. My daughter, niece and two staff members left with all available vehicles. While they were gone, I started printing out our emergency boarding forms and gave Jeni, our neighbor, instructions on answering the phone and what to tell people. When they returned, they brought with them 55 cats and half dozen dogs. I texted a friend who works at the local county animal shelter to find out what evacuation services they were providing so we could update our Facebook page. They were still formulating their plans so we did not yet have any more information to share. Unfortunately, government agencies are not always speedy in situations like this but when they get the authorization to launch their emergency services plan, everything happens all at once.


Pretty soon we started getting calls for assistance. We took everyone that came in regardless of the time of day, client status, vaccine status, ownership status (several strays were brought in that people had grabbed off the street as they were fleeing the flames), ability to pay, etc. Our daily counts showed almost 70 cats for the first three days and then an average of 25 cats every day for the next week. We sent 4 dogs home the second day as they were too aggressive for us to safely handle in an emergency. The owners took them to the county animal shelter for boarding. The county had contacted all of their rescue partners and had transferred all adoptable pets to shelters south of us and out of the fire zone. Strays, injured, and owned pets were housed at the animal shelter free of charge for 30 days. The local evacuation centers allowed people to bring their well-behaved pets with them and a large animal evacuation center was set up at the fairgrounds in town. Other people took their pets with them to friends and family members houses. Many animals, tragically, were left behind when the owners had no time to do anything but run for their lives. We had as many as 75 dogs staying with us, as well as a horse, donkey, flock of chickens, and some goats. For the next week we had an average of 65 dogs a day in the kennel. We were only permitted for 40!. There were many shared pens, stacks of crates in the cattery, office, and kennel. We cancelled all grooming appointments for the week and put everyone for the following week on standby.

their cows and horses out and watched them burn, but I could take care of their dogs and cats. So that’s what we did. We put a call out for volunteers. Since we only had to worry about services during daylight hours, everyone was assigned shifts and duties. Experienced employees (past and present) were used as shift leaders – they did the early morning and late evening cleaning and feeding and all other assignments were passed through them. I did all the communications and made a list of job assignments. Volunteers logged in and out and were assigned tasks. We had several clip boards: incoming messages, messages for me, messages about the pets (food and water intake, play status, stools etc), supplies needed, volunteers in and out, volunteers doing tasks off site, etc. We posted frequent updates on our Facebook page and answering machine. We updated on the activities of the pets in our care, the

How did we manage this disaster?

With advance planning. We used the Incident Command System as our governing structure. We had a quick form that everyone bringing in a pet completed and signed. We didn’t worry about vaccines because there was no way to get that information. We got names, addresses, contact information and veterinary information. We got the basics and made it our job to make a little bit of their life easier so they could focus on what they had to do next. “We will take care of your pets. Don’t worry about anything except your own personal needs. We will take care of your pets. You take care of you.” Once people realized their pets were safe, they could then work at taking care of themselves. Until that happened, they were absolutely and utterly incapable of rational thought. Everyone was given a week to adjust to the trauma before we expected a call back, just to check in. I couldn’t help them with their missing family members. I couldn’t help them as they watched their home destroyed by flames. I couldn’t help them when they couldn’t get PET CARE PRO QUARTERLY | Q2 2020 | IBPSA.COM/PETCAREPRO | 15


fire’s progress, emergency alerts, press releases & updates from official agencies. Since the schools were closed, we also had a dozen youth volunteers from local 4H and FFA groups that were experienced animal handlers. We put them to work walking each dog 4 times a day in addition to the twice daily time out from their pens for cleaning. Fortunately, we have 11 play yards and a large front area. The yards were being used from 6:00 am until 9:00 pm. Keely, a staff member’s mom, came every day and washed dishes for hours upon end. My sister-in-law, Julie, brought food for the volunteers that could be quickly made and eaten such as sandwich fixings, instant soups, granola bars, yogurts and flavored waters. Three families picked up our dirty laundry, washed, dried and delivered it back to us. Rotating shifts of volunteers kept the yards clean, trash emptied, waters in the kennels, play yards clean and full, and made sure the cats were also fussed over. We made a list of supplies needed, not only for the unexpected kennel guests but also for those people in need of emergency supplies for their pets. Those lists were posted on Facebook. Our food supply company, Phillips Pet, made extra deliveries and brought food at a free and discounted rate to give to people who had lost everything

in the fires. We got blankets from the Red Cross, a huge case of leashes, harnesses and collars from Lupine Pet, cat litter from the local feed store, cat boxes, toys and beds from King Wholesale and more from generous community members. Whatever we needed, we posted it on Facebook and it was there.

So, how did we do this financially?

Luckily, I knew that most insurance companies will include emergency grooming and boarding for pets evacuated under a covered loss. We told every client to contact their insurance agent immediately to start a claim and to include emergency boarding services in that claim. We also told them that we would like to get paid but if that was not possible then that was fine, we would still care for their pets. No person would be turned away as long as we had space. It might be a financial hardship for us but when they had lost everything, our loss was peanuts. In the end, we had $11,000 worth of boarding services unpaid after two weeks and only $4000 of it remained unpaid after a year. Will I ever ask those people for money? No. They were uninsured or underinsured. They lost everything – some even lost family members in the fire. I was thankful that we could help them cope with the devastation even a little by keeping their pets safe.



broken HVAC, power outages, client slips and falls or has a heart attack in your front lobby. Plan for anything that could happen and you are already off to a good start. The 2017 fires showed us what we were lacking but also what the community is capable of. I look forward to continuing to learn and improve in the future.

So what can we do now?

First, we realize we still have a long way to go. We need to have a plan and a backup plan and assume the worst. Fires, earthquakes and regional flooding are real risks for our area of the country. We need to have enough supplies and equipment for our families, pets and businesses and to assume there will not be any help coming in the case of a major disaster. I have written down emergency plans and instructions but I am always adding to them. I realized my staff needs to be able to do everything I do, especially when I am not there. We started emergency response scenarios. Make a list of everything that can go wrong – major and minor. Prioritize them and then make sure you are prepared to manage the incident. Learn about the Incident Command System. It works for everything and can be your planning friend. Develop some scenarios and have your staff help draft a response: outbreak of an upper respiratory infection, fire in the kennel, tornados, hurricanes, flooding, earthquake, wildland fire, failure of a dam or levee, deranged client, broken gas line, broken water line, dog dies while being groomed or shortly after, dog attacks a person or another dog in a training class, dog with bloat, cat not urinating, dog fight, cat escapes,

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he Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put a major strain on every aspect of daily life around the world, including the United States. As spread of the disease shows no sign of slowing down, there is a steadily increasing concern in the United States regarding the health and wellness of not only our citizens, but the economy as well. In response, the United States Congress has been negotiating a historic stimulus package to address the havoc caused by the pandemic. It appears Congress’ hard work has paid off, as they just passed a $2 trillion package to provide a jolt to the economy reeling from the deadly virus. All Americans would do well to understand the package’s provisions, as it will offer direct relief to businesses and individuals alike. WHAT IS IN THE STIMULUS PACKAGE? The $2 trillion stimulus package, negotiated by

Republican and Democratic leaders, is the largest economic stimulus measure in modern history. The bill is a $2 trillion combination of tax provisions and other stimulus measures, including emergency business lending. The measure promises to provide help for struggling American families and businesses, as well as health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. Significant Provisions Affecting Businesses

The tax package itself is broad, with tax payment relief and significant business tax incentives. Here is a list of the most significant provisions affecting businesses: • $367 billion will be made available in loans for small businesses and $150 billion for state and local governments. The loans will be forgiven so long as businesses pledge not to lay off their workers. • Small businesses forced to suspend operations or that have seen gross receipts fall by 50% from the previous



year will be eligible for a tax credit worth up to 50% of wages paid during the crisis, so long as they keep their workers employed throughout. • The Treasury Department will distribute $500 billion in loans to struggling industries (e.g., passenger airlines and businesses critical to maintaining national security). Additionally, an oversight board and inspector general will be created to oversee loans to large companies. • Health care providers will receive $100 billion in grants to help fight the coronavirus and make up for revenue lost by delaying elective surgeries and other procedures. • $200 million will be carved out for the Federal Communications Commission to provide health care providers with connected devices to facilitate telemedicine services, with the goal of freeing up hospital beds. Another $25 million will go to a grant program that helps rural communities purchase broadband equipment for telemedicine. • The Commodity Credit Corporation, an institution that USDA uses to stabilize the farm economy, would see its spending authority increased to $14 billion. The package also sets up a $9.5 billion emergency fund for producers, including fresh fruit and vegetable growers, dairy farmers and cattle ranchers, along with local food systems like farmers markets. • Colleges and universities, as well as school districts, will receive more than $30 billion. • State and local governments will receive $150 billion, with $8 billion set aside for local governments. • The package will provide the U.S. Postal Service with a $10 billion Treasury loan to stave off insolvency. Retailers, restaurateurs and hotels will be able to immediately deduct from their taxes what they spend on property improvements. • Employers can defer the 6.2% tax they pay on wages used to fund Social Security. Significant Provisions Affecting Individuals

The major piece of the individual tax changes will offer rebate checks based on a new tax credit of $1,200 per filing adult and $500 for each qualifying child. Additionally, unemployed individuals will receive an unprecedented expansion of benefits and payments. Here is a list of the most significant provisions affecting individuals, many of which will be discussed in detail later in this piece: • Single Americans will receive $1,200, married couples will get $2,400 and parents will receive $500 for each child.

• Unemployed individuals, including freelancers and furloughed employees, will get an extra $600 per week for up to four months, on top of state unemployment benefits. • The package also calls for a new pandemic unemployment assistance program, which will provide jobless benefits to those who are unemployed, partially unemployed or unable to work because of COVID-19 and don’t qualify for traditional benefits. • The Department of Education will suspend payments for student loan borrowers without penalty through September 30. • There will be housing protections against foreclosures on mortgages and evictions for renters. Anyone facing a financial hardship from the coronavirus will receive a forbearance on federally backed mortgage loans of up to 60 days. Those with federally backed mortgage loans who have tenants are not allowed to evict tenants solely for failure to pay rent for a 120-day period. As you can see, the package will have a far-reaching impact as it drives money toward workers, small businesses and industries that have been impacted by the economic downturn due to the pandemic. OVERVIEW OF MAJOR BILL PROVISIONS Now that you’re aware of the major implications for both businesses and individuals, let’s take a more in- depth look at the most important provisions. Loans and Tax Credit Available to Small Businesses

Keeping businesses afloat and workers under the wing of their employers is critical for ensuring the economy can quickly restart after the pandemic subsides. To this end, the stimulus package creates a $367 billion federally guaranteed loan program for small businesses that employ 500 or fewer people who must pledge not to lay off their workers. The loans will be available during an emergency period ending June 30, and would be forgiven if the business uses the loan funds for approved purposes and maintains the average size of its full-time workforce, based on when it received the loan. Additionally, small businesses forced to suspend operations or that have seen gross receipts fall by 50% from the previous year, will be eligible for a tax credit worth up to 50% of wages paid during the crisis, so long as they keep their workers employed through the crisis. Wages remain eligible until business is no longer suspended or gross receipts for a quarter reach 80% of the prior year. The credit could be applied to all wages for employers with fewer than 100 employees, while the benefit is capped at $10,000 in wages per employee for larger employers.



Expansion of Unemployment Benefits

The stimulus package includes a significant expansion of unemployment benefits that will extend unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and include a four-month enhancement of benefits (for reference, many states already provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, and thus participants in such states would be eligible for a total of 39 weeks when adding the 13 weeks of federal relief). The enhanced benefits will provide an additional $600 per week on top of what state unemployment programs pay. Note that many individuals who typically do not qualify for unemployment insurance will qualify under the package, including independent contractors and self-employed individuals. In sum, those who are unemployed, partially unemployed or who cannot work for a wide variety of coronavirus-related reasons will be more likely to receive benefits. Individual Checks to Taxpayers

As noted earlier, the package will provide direct payments

to taxpayers based on the adjusted gross income found on their 2019 federal tax return. All U.S. residents with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) will get a $1,200 ($2,400 for couples) payment. Families will receive an additional $500 per child, as a way to create a safety net for those whose jobs and businesses are affected by the pandemic. However, the payments will start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes greater than $75,000. Those with incomes higher than $99,000 will not qualify for payments under the stimulus package. It is unclear how long it will take the IRS to process every payment. The Trump administration has indicated that Americans could be seeing direct payments as soon as the middle of April. HOW CAN I TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE STIMULUS? Now that you’re acquainted with the impact of the stimulus package, let’s discuss how you might take advantage of these benefits:



How can I obtain a small business loan from the government? The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering loans for qualifying small businesses. These are low-interest (3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits) loans with terms potentially as long as 30 years. You can apply for an SBA loan through its website. Be prepared to provide the following information: • Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T), completed and signed by each principal or owner • Recent federal income tax returns • Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413) • Schedule of Liabilities listing all fixed debts (SBA Form 2202) You may also need to provide profit and loss statements, recent tax returns and balance sheets. After you apply, the SBA will review your credit before conducting its own inspection to verify your losses. The SBA says its goal is to arrive at a decision on any disaster loans within two to three weeks. If it determines you are eligible, it will send you a loan closing document for your signature.

How can employees collect unemployment assistance? If your business is closed because of COVID-19 and your employees cannot work from home, or your employees are unable to work due to the disease or need to take care of someone who has it, they can likely collect unemployment. As each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, employees should be told to visit their state’s unemployment insurance website, which will provide the relevant details regarding their individual programs. The information employees will need includes their Social Security number and driver’s license or state ID. CONCLUSION If there’s anything that is certain, it is that the full economic impact of this unprecedented pandemic is yet to be understood. Despite the unpredictability, Congress’ historic economic stimulus package is a sight for sore eyes for struggling businesses and individuals alike. As the pandemic develops and the stimulus package is rolled out, look for more relevant guidance from Lone Star PEO, Inc in the near future, and continue to stay abreast of the latest state and federal developments.


Pet Care Profile


What do you do in the pet care industry?

Tell us about your current pets.

I am the COO of IBPSA. COO is really a generic term, as I do a little bit of everything. I am in charge of the magazine, staff, safety and emergency planning, and on a regular basis we review IBPSA programs and what we can do better.

We have two little toy poodles, Donnie and Daisy. I got them from a member facility nine years ago. Their dad was the #9 poodle in the country, at that point. I had to sign paperwork that I would not show or breed these dogs. In my family, my wife has a top five. It goes God, country, dogs, her car, and the grandkids. So, I am not even in her top five.

How did you get involved in IBPSA? In 2011, I became the first outside of the industry board member of IBPSA. After eight years on the board, the COO left the organization. Being a non-profit organization, we are required to have two people sign checks. I was the senior board member at the time, so I was the one who came on as the Interim COO. The board then asked me to stay on as COO on a permanent basis. What has been your most memorable moment working for IBPSA? Probably my most memorable moment working for IBPSA is when we decided to add 110 educational programs to the organization, the year before last. Because we are an education-based association and member-based association, it was important to me that we have all the information available to our members that is required to run their facilities. My most proud moment was when we rolled out those programs, such as Human Resources, Insurance, Safety, Recruiting and everything else that we continue to offer.

What would be the overall purpose of IBPSA, in your opinion? Our hope is that by being an IBPSA Member, it raises the bar for expectations in your facility. In other words, when people are out shopping for a boarding facility and they see the IBPSA sticker in your window, they know the owners and employees in the facility have gone through the industry standard programs, such as Canine and Feline. Maybe they have received their Risk and Safety Certification Award by following the outlined IBPSA guidelines. They will see that it is not just a regular boarding facility, but an IBPSA boarding facility and they will see it as an important value to consider. Additionally, at our annual conference, real-life experiences are brought to our members from innovators inside and outside of the industry for the sole purpose to help our members and their businesses succeed, in all circumstances.


What What vision vision do do you you have have for for the the future future of of your your business? business?


Questions to Questions ask as you to enter ask as you discussionsenter discussions with potential with potential partners. partners.

01 01 Is it the right culture

Dr. Steve Wolchinsky Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital - Laurel, MD Dr. Steve Wolchinsky NVA 2017 Rockypartner Gorge since Animal Hospital - Laurel, MD NVA partner since 2017

02 02 Are there flexible

03 03 How comprehensive




Is the right culture fit it for your team? fit for your team?

Are flexible dealthere structures? deal structures?

How comprehensive are the support services? are the support services?

As you begin considering your options As begin considering options for you selling your pet resort your business, for selling your pet resort business, it’s important to find a partner aligned it’s to firespectf nd a partner aligned withimportant your values, ul of the with your values, respectf ul of the individuality of what you’ve built, and individuality of what you’ve built,while and equipped to grow your business, equipped to grow your business, while your team and culture remain intact. your team and culture remain intact. Ask around to find out which buyers Ask to reputati find outon which buyersfor havearound the best for caring have the the bestpeople reputati on for pets and who lovecaring them.for pets and the people who love them.

Because selling your pet resort is such Because selling your you’ll pet resort a personal decision, wantistosuch aunderstand personal decision, you’ll wantons to are what types of opti understand what types of opti ons are available, and to what level they can available, and to what level they can tailor the terms to meet your needs. tailor the terms to meet your needs. ASK IF THE BUYER CAN: ASK IF THE BUYER CAN: • Make 100% cash offers with no • Make 100% offers with no finance conticash ngency finance contingency • Offer Joint Venture partnerships • Off Joint Venture partnerships for er growth and flexibility for growth and flexibility • Buy the real estate outright or • Buy realyou estate outright or leasethe from lease from you

As you contemplate transitioning As you contemplate your business, you’ll transiti want tooning your business, you’ll to know every aspect is want covered. know every aspect is covered. Seek out a partner with a Seek out ateam partner with a in dedicated seasoned dedicated team seasoned marketing (including digitalin marketi ng (including advertising and socialdigital media adverti sing anddevelopment social media strategy), web strategy), web development and hosting, client satisfaction and hosti ng, client satisfacti surveys, IT, HR, accounti ng, on surveys, IT, HR, ng, more. taxes, legal, callaccounti centers and taxes, legal, call centers and more.

Let’s talk. Connect with us at 888.767.7755 and or visit us at Let’s talk. Connect with us at 888.767.7755 and or visit us at NVA has over 800 partnerships in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Our passionate, NVA has over in the US,leaders Canada, Australia and unique New Zealand. Our passionate, visionary local800 petpartnerships resort and hospital embody NVA’s entrepreneurial spirit. visionary local pet resort and hospital leaders embody NVA’s unique entrepreneurial spirit.

As a divorce attorney, I have experienced couples fight over everything from the kids to the washer and dryer. One legal battle that is increasing in its frequency and intensity is who gets ownership of the pets. Most laws are not modernized to reflect society’s changing mindset that pets are integral members of the family. While in a few jurisdictions there are new laws in the pipeline which would look slightly like the custody and visitation laws we have for children, the general rule is that the law considers pets to be personal property, mere chattel like the washer and dryer.

When there is a dispute regarding the family pets, family law judges generally assign ownership of the pets to the person whose name is on the adoption papers or other official documents. However, in all cases the judge will look to the facts of the specific case to determine who gets ownership. Judges will consider evidence such as, which owner is currently in a better position to care for the pets, who was responsible (i.e. regular veterinarian appointments) for the pets when the couple was together, and any credible evidence of abuse or mistreatment. If couples can come to an agreement regarding the pets,



which occurs in most cases, the agreement would be enforceable. At the end of the divorce case, whether it’s by agreement or it’s contested, the judge will sign an Order (typically called a “Divorce Decree”) which will assign ownership of the pets to one or both spouses and potentially impose conditions on the ownership. So, what do you do when two fighting spouses or ex-spouses are each demanding that you give them a pet that is in your care? Facilities need to be prepared to navigate these legal waters and have clear policies and procedures to address potential issues. The goal is to have clarity. One idea would be to provide a section in your intake forms where the client gives the facility permission to release the pets to only certain authorized individuals. Some clients may assume a spouse or family member would have that right, so you would want to be clear that spouses and family members would need to be listed as authorized individuals. If a facility decided to implement such a policy in its forms, that facility needs to put safeguards in place to ensure the pets are only

released to an authorized person. As with all policies and procedures, they are only valuable if you follow them and can be detrimental if ignored or followed inconsistently. If you are presented with any court paperwork that is signed by a judge (i.e. an order, decree, or judgment) that addresses ownership of the pets, the legal document should give clarity. As a general matter, you should always follow directives from a Court. The difficulty comes in determining whether the legal document addresses the specific dispute. If there are any questions, sound legal advice from a trusted attorney is critical in making a decision. If a facility has not already had to resolve an issue between separated spouses, it is only a matter of time. Develop a plan now, so you are not caught off guard. ***Andrew Gore is an attorney based in Richardson, Texas. This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.


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Located in Frisco, TX Since 2007, McKee’s Pet Place has provided a playful and safe environment for their guests, and peace of mind to their families. Whether you’re entrusting your pet to them for the afternoon or for a week, they’ll care for your fur baby as if he’s part of their own family. The experienced staff adores all animals and they know they have the best job there is. In fact, when we toured their facility, each employee had on a shirt that said, “Don’t be upset if they don’t want to go home.” We were given a tour of their amazing and spacious facility, which recently received the IBPSA Certification for Risk Management & Safety. We sat down with Kelly Eglen and Christina Bell to find out more about McKee’s Pet Place. What is the main demographic of the people that make up your customers? We would definitely say families, who have small kids and need a place to drop off their pets, especially when the weekends get busy. There is a new trend of more younger people that live in apartments and need care for their dogs, but the majority of our customer base are families that we serve. Do you have a membership for a random drop-off ? We do have a punch card system for our Doggy Daycare. It is $238 for 10 days, and we throw one in for free. There is no physical punch card, so we keep track of their punches on their member profile in our system. We know all of these dogs and clients, so they can literally walk in, walk out, and we take it from there. We see them walking back in and we have their pet ready. They get just get them and go. What is the “special sauce” that sets you apart from the competition? Our special sauce is the connection we have with the people and their pets. We have been here so long and we know our PET CARE PRO QUARTERLY | Q2 2020 | IBPSA.COM/PETCAREPRO | 27




clients and their parents by name, and temperment.

reservations fill up quickly.

Any funny stories?

What is the percentage of big dogs to small dogs?

There have been plenty of dogs that do not want to leave when their parents arrive. Several dogs have played tug of war while trying to get them to leave the facility. Some of the dogs are so excited when they get here that they will enter the facility and run straight for their designated daycare area.

The big dogs definitely dominate the numbers, although the small dog numbers are improving after building a new small dog day care room. It is around 70% big dog. Our 1-acre field really draws in the big dogs and is something our competitors do not have.

How is your employee retention? Being in the pet industry, we do hire a lot of kids. Those kids don’t necessarily end up leaving on bad terms, but move on to bigger and better things, and we are proud and supportive of them. We do have our core employees that have been here for 2+ years. If you were starting over from scratch, what is something you would want to do differently? This place runs great! A separate yard for smaller groups that are not in daycare would be helpful, so that when those two groups get combined it doesn’t have the possibility of unwanted behaviors. We also do a majority of big dogs in this facility and the majority of our kennels are for small dogs, so those big dog

How has your facility benefitted since being certified through the IBPSA Risk & Safety Program? We feel more confident and it has helped us come up with the plans that maybe we hadn’t thought of in the past. We are having safety meetings, where we are able to communicating with each other about new ideas to make the building safer for us, the pets, and our clients. It has helped us open our eyes to some things we had no idea needed attention. It has broadened our horizons on the view of the building, and just seeing the things that we need to change so that it is up to par. Thank you for the tour of your great fcility and the time you spent with us on that day. Best of luck and continued success to you now and in the future!


Can the Changing Demographics of Pet Parents Affect Your Pet Resort Business? Understanding how to provide superior customer service is key to growing your pet resort in 2020 and beyond. by Andrew Verdesca, for Pet Resort Marketing PET CARE PRO QUARTERLY | Q2 2020 | IBPSA.COM/PETCAREPRO | ##



s the old song goes, “the times they are a changin’.” If you’re an experienced pet resort owner or general manager, then you know that understanding generational differences and expectations among your customers is key to providing them with great customer service. What works for one customer might not work for another. The process of informing them about your services, processing their reservations, and engaging them requires care, and it can be a bit daunting to the untrained service provider. Any misstep along the way with one customer, for example, can lead to low customer satisfaction and retention; worse yet, if that customer is technically savvy, their experience can lead to a negative online review of your service. What started in Britain in 1824 with the first-ever animal shelter has become a pet services industry that the American Pet Products Association estimates has grown annually by 6% and anticipates an estimated $6.31 billion in revenue in the United States for 2019.1 This trend, combined with people’s shifting perspectives about dogs, has evolved today into a proliferation of premium pet resorts. What used to be an industry built by owners who focused primarily on taking good care of the cats and dogs they boarded is quickly shifting toward pet resorts that also must provide exceptional customer service to pet parents. Sounds easy to do until you discover that “exceptional customer service” means different things to different people. Different Strokes for Different Folks

Ask a Baby Boomer and a Millennial to describe a high-quality customer service experience and you’ll likely receive two very different answers. For one thing, many Baby Boomers have traditionally communicated with others more face-to-face than otherwise; Millennials, more digitally. As a result, the basis for a Baby Boomer’s definition of a valuable customer experience may likely be more relationship-oriented and include a variety of behaviors ranging from an opening smile to a closing

handshake to everything in between. A Millennial, on the other hand, might very well decide how valuable their customer experience with you is based on how quickly the business transaction happens, how easily it can be done without interacting with anyone else, and the overall quality of that transactional experience (the less human interaction, the better). Digital Strokes for Digital Folks

Although word-of-mouth advertising is undoubtedly effective, an increasing number of pet parents today are finding pet resorts by searching online, selecting online ads, and visiting websites. In some cases, these customers are even preferring to initiate their pet resort reservation requests online, often right from their cell phones. Indeed, your pet resort should be set up to accommodate these kinds of (“digitally savvy”) customers as well; if it isn’t, you’re probably lowering your chances of acquiring new customers significantly. To ensure that you provide above-average customer service to digitally savvy pet parents, mostly comprised of Gen-X and Millennials, make sure the path between their online search for a quality pet resort and your resort is as short as possible! Since most of these customers will start their search on Google, make sure your business profile on Google is up to date with the correct name of your resort, phone number, and address. Also make sure to include a brief but compelling description of your service(s) on Google so pet parents who discover you there will actually call you. Like Google, your website should reflect your pet resort’s main services (i.e. boarding, grooming, daycare, training) and provide the shortest path possible between the pet parent’s primary reason for visiting the website and contacting you. This means enabling your website visitors to navigate your website very easily and quickly in order to find the service they need, learn why your capabilities are most beneficial to them and their pet, and how to contact you most quickly.



Source: Adapted From: West Midland Family Center (

Patrons Preferring the Personal Touch

Despite the large presence of digital capabilities available to consumers today, some pet parents prefer conducting business in a more traditional way. These types of customers typically interact more with people than with computers, transacting business with less automation even if the overall process might be slower. As a pet resort owner or General Manager, it is important that you teach your staff how to identify these patrons, engage them, and accommodate them accordingly. Generally, customers who prefer a more personal engagement are comprised mostly of baby boomers, particularly “empty nesters.” Though they might have grandchildren, they live elsewhere so the only others in these customers’ households are their pets. These customers tend to communicate best with their voice and body language. They often shy away from using modern methods of communication because they haven’t learned how to use those devices as proficiently as the telephone. Upon recognizing such a customer, the savvy pet resort owner, general manager or staff member will know how to engage this customer for maximum benefit. Perhaps the first step in providing exceptional customer service to traditional customers is to seek them out, make eye contact with them, and smile. Usually they are approachable and like to be approached. They like to feel included, not left alone. They tend to require basic needs of food, shelter, and safety so having beverages or treats available for them or their pets might go a long way toward making them feel even more “at home” while in your pet resort. It’s very important to greet these customers with a friendly welcome, treat them like honored guests, provide them with immediate service, and thank them afterwards. As stated in the Guidelines for Guest Services at Walt Disney World, Disney University has spent a good deal of time defining this process as “courtesy in action” and exploring how courtesy contributes to a positive guest experience.4

Pet Resort Customer Service in 2020 and Beyond

For pet resort owners and general managers to achieve growth in 2020 and beyond, it is critical to understand the differences among pet parent behaviors. Customers who value relationships tend to value long-term service and support and demonstrate loyalty more. Customers who don’t share those same values might very well switch to another pet resort if they have a single negative experience at your pet resort despite their having a history of positive experiences there. “In the last couple of years, we’ve noticed a significant increase in business among Millennials,” said Tania Isenstein, owner of Camp Canine, a premium pet resort in Manhattan. “We’ve adjusted our reception area processes accordingly. We are working to streamline our check-in process to make the process run very quickly and easily online as well as in our resort.” But addressing Millennials’ preferences is only half of the equation. “At the same time, we’re teaching our Front Desk staff to adapt to different customers by learning when to interact with some of them, and when to focus more on the efficiency of the check-in and check-out process for others,” she said. Chances are, with the continued growth in pet ownership and the industry, competition among pet resorts will continue to grow including different customer service models. To offset any future competitive threats to your pet resort, and to maintain your position as the pet lifestyle expert of your community, be prepared to adapt to the ever-changing needs of pet parents and adopt new technologies in order to exceed your customers’ expectations (and experiences) with premium customer service. 1Source: Pet Industry Market Size 2019 ( 2Source: The APPA Generational Report, Volume 2: Findings, Julie Springer (pida.memberclicks. net/assets/PILC19handouts/PILC_Generation%20Pres_1-29-19%20Springer.pdf) 3Source: 2017 U.S. Pet Spending by Generation – The Boomers Bounce Back( us-pet-spending-by-generation-the-boomers-bounce-back/) 4 Source: Disney Guidelines from Disney University (


“80% less time doing dishes means better employee retention, more revenue and bigger profits!” Laina Schonefeld Barkaritaville Pet Resort, Inc.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO Lauren and Jennifer of Barkaritaville, San Antonio Texas share their experience with Kinn Kleanbowl. ©2020 Kinn, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Patented.


Alden’s Kennels Blog February, 2020 Mitigating Risk, Maximizing Pet Safety

AVOIDING DISASTER IS IN THE DETAILS At any given time, Alden’s Kennels provides temporary housing for 32 dogs in individual climate-controlled kennel bays and seven cats in its luxury cattery. Beyond overnight accommodations, Alden’s 12-acre campus offers:

• 6,000 square foot training hall • State-of-the-art alarm system • Security gates, cameras and monitors throughout the facility

It’s just this attention to detail that drove Alden and Janet to implement a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. “We’ve dedicated our lives to the breeding, training and general care of cats and dogs. We had to make sure any pets staying with us are as safe as possible at all times. It helps that we live on the campus so we’re here to care for them 24/7. But still, we had to have a Plan B,” explains Janet Domrase. To establish the disaster recovery plan, they took a three-step approach: 1. Collaborating with local police and fire The first step in their disaster recovery planning process was to establish strong relationships and open communication lines with local fire and police. They also outfitted the gates to Alden’s Kennels with a phone number to call in case of emergency. Further, the fire department has keys to all areas of the kennels so they can open/access any impacted areas quickly and efficiently. The fire department also has the emergency number for Alden’s Kennels back-up location. They’ve also worked with the fire department and animal control to ensure they’re prepared to help with pet identification if necessary.

2. Identifying a Partner Kennel Should Alden’s Kennels become uninhabitable for an extended period of time, they’ve made arrangements with a partner kennel to take in the affected dogs and cats. “This was the lynch pin in our plan,” noted Domrase. “If there is a flood or fire at the kennel, we’re confident our dogs can exit their kennel bays through their individual dog run doors. This gets them outside at least while we search them all for relocation.” 3. Establishing a Clear Process Finally, Alden’s Kennels rounded out their disaster recovery plan by establishing a clear process for contacting all the individuals critical to the plan’s implementation. From local fire and rescue to the kennels IT support staff and the clients’ whose pets are boarding at Alden’s Kennels at any given time – there is a step-by-step process for contacting each group to provide timely updates. “We’ve worked hard to develop a thoughtful, proactive disaster recovery plan,” says Alden. “It’s one more way we can bring comfort to our four-legged visitors and reassure their owners.” PLANNING WITH A PURPOSE Establishing a clear disaster recovery plan is critical for any animal boarding facility or kennel. These plans help ensure a clear process should an emergency develop, and help mitigate any damage from such emergencies. At IBPSA we encourage every kennel owner to follow the lead set by Alden’s Kennels in McHenry, Illinois. To learn more about their specific plan or to connect with Alden and Janet Domrase, visit them at, or the IBPSA at

You can submit your blog post for publication in next quarter’s Pet Care Pro by sending it to: PET CARE PRO QUARTERLY | Q2 2020 | IBPSA.COM/PETCAREPRO | 34















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