If you are like me, 2021 is a welcomed sight. As you all experienced, 2020 was full of challenges related to COVID-19. At Paw Print Genetics, some of us have been working from home since March and really miss being able to get together with our colleagues. The laboratory needed to go to different shifts to allow for social distancing, which really put a strain on our turn-around times. We have experienced delays in getting laboratory reagents that allow us to do our testing, as they are being used by other laboratories for COVID testing, and the US Postal Service has been struggling even before the holidays to deliver our kits and your samples in a timely manner.
Even with these challenges, I have kept track of what I like to call the COVID silver linings. First, in Washington State, veterinary services were deemed essential business so although many restaurants and gyms were forced to close, Paw Print Genetics (PPG) remained open. This meant that we were able to serve our customers and keep our staff employed. Even with social distancing and shift work, we were able to meet our published turnaround times for more than 90% of cases! In addition, having to have some people work from home taught us that we can have remote workers and remain efficient and effective in providing the most outstanding customer service in the industry. Many of our customers found that being at home meant that more people wanted puppies this year. That has kept our clients very busy and kept our laboratory busy as well. We saw many breeders come out of retirement to provide puppies and saw an increase in customers coming back to use us that we hadn’t helped for a couple of years. It has been so nice to hear from these customers again. Finally, we were able to focus on development and launched several new tests in April and several more in November.
All these silver linings have helped us stay focused and upbeat during our most challenging year ever. However, we recognize that this has been a very difficult year for many and hope that you are healthy and that your families have stayed safe during this pandemic. Our hearts go out to those that have experienced the loss of a loved one due to this terrible disease. We spent many hours talking with our customers, many of whom are isolated from family, to help them with their genetic testing or lend a friendly ear. We wish you the healthiest, happiest and most prosperous New Year, no matter how you measure that. Your successes are our successes as we help you continue to navigate breeding and genetic testing. We are so honored to be with you on this journey. Here’s to a better 2021 and being together again.
Happy New Year to all of you,
Lisa Shaffer, CEO