While we’re all locked at home, busy combatting heightened feelings of uncertainty, loneliness and anxiety – we find ourselves needing a gentle reminder that this is only temporary, and despite the grimness of the current situation, there’s still so much in the world to be inspired by.
Staying positive during this period of massive routine change can be “ruff.” To help, we’d like to share an uplifting story from our valued partner and customer – Tromsø Wilderness Centre (Tromsø Villmarkssenter) on how the Norwegian dog sledding operator is effectively responding during the pandemic. It gave us the fuzzies – and we think it will for you too!
Furry Friends to Fight Off Quarantine Loneliness
Like many businesses, Tromsø Villmarkssenter, one of the world’s largest dog sledding operators, had to put operations to a grinding halt in compliance with Norwegian government regulations.
During the regular season, their pack of huskies were accustomed to driving anywhere between 8-10 dog sled tours a day cared for by their team of 80. The introduction of lockdown in March meant business closure for the team, and doggy downtime for Tromsø ’s huskies coming off a long, hard season of sledding.
Bringing Paw-sitivity to the Tromsø Community
The Quarantine Buddy idea first came to Torkil Hansen when he received a request from family and friends to “borrow” some of Tromsø’s pups. The Tromsø team were not able to provide the dogs the exercise and “entertainment” at the level they were used to receiving from guests.
Torkil and the Tromsø team also recognized that being homebound causes stress and anxiety for so many in the community, and identified an opportunity to pair their friendly, fun loving dogs with members of their community seeking companionship in times of isolation. It was a win-win situation for the pups, and for the local community!
The Quarantine Buddy Program provides Tromsø residents an opportunity to temporarily house a furry friend at a time when most are struggling with coping with feelings of uncertainty and anxiousness – a significant strain on mental health.
The team selects the appropriate dog, providing detailed instructions and the necessary equipment for taking care of your quarantine friend.
Home for the Huskies
Since the launch of the program in early April, there has been resounding support from both the local and global community. Tromsø ’s Quarantine Buddy video gained over 38K views across social channels. To date, Tromsø Wilderness Centre has successfully paired 160 dogs with loving homes and are currently processing the high volume of requests that have come in this month.
The pups have also been enjoying their well-deserved “time off.” Since most of the dogs are accustomed to being in the great outdoors – being indoors has been a real treat. Once inside, they spend most of their time lying around the softest, warmest spots they can find. The pups also enjoy being outdoors. Apart from playing in the snow, the Tromsø pups are also great ‘outboard motors,’ tugging their quarantine companions along as they go ski touring (the sledding experience and muscle memory really comes in handy!)
“The response was overwhelmingly positive. I have had so much fun in both answering questions and trying to work as a matchmaker. At times, I felt like I was working for OKCupid! We are truly grateful for all the support we received – especially since we know that the support of our local community will be the most important thing for us until the travel ban is lifted,” says Torkil Hansen, Tromsø Wilderness
“We’ve seen communities worldwide tackle this humanitarian challenge head on and repurpose their business in support of their local community. For over 30 years, the Tromsø Wilderness Centre has brought joy and delivered amazing experiences to guests from all over the world – and it’s amazing to see how they’ve continued with this mission, but this time with the local Tromsø community in an innovative way,” adds Kory Fawcett, CEO Zaui Software
We’re excited to share more updates with you as the story develops. Uplifting community stories help us stay positive and find the silver lining in times of turbulence and uncertainty. It’s the creative spirit that keeps both our community and industry strong, resilient and connected.
We invite you to send in your story on how your brand is managing to stay positive, while supporting your community during these challenging times
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