Editor’s note: The Virus Diaries is a series in which Mainers talk about how they are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Jenny Yasi owns an Airbnb in Freeport that caters to people seeking her dog-training services. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, she had to cancel guests who were scheduled for March and April, and she’s unsure whether she’ll have to cancel summer bookings. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

After Jenny Yasi became a certified professional dog trainer in 2004, she soon drew difficult dogs from around the country. When she moved to a Freeport farm in 2017 and opened an Airbnb that caters to dog owners, it was an instant hit. Soon it was booked year-round.

But Yasi has had to cancel bookings because of the coronavirus outbreak, and she worries about whether her burgeoning business will ever get back on track. She’s trying to file for unemployment, and she and her husband, Albert Presgraves, plan to refinance the farm, where they live with three dogs.

“My principal income over the past couple of years has been with people who ‘stay and train’ in my Airbnb and train their dogs with me,” Yasi said. “I (also) have an outside dog club. I’ve been trying to run it like the YMCA, where members can come and join classes, or just drop in and train independently.

“But like the YMCA, we’ve had to close for now and we’re uncertain when the curtain will be lifted. I canceled guests who were scheduled for March and April, and I’m not sure what will happen with the rest of our summer bookings.

“People are really stressed and scared. I decided I just need to be with everyone in shutdown mode. I think this is one of those moments, we need to be in solidarity. We have to stand together.


“We’ve been isolating ourselves for weeks now, but I’ve been living my best life – working in the garden, training my dogs and going for hikes in the woods. It wasn’t until (recently) that it hit me: This isn’t going to get any better any time soon. It feels like a vase fell off the shelf and broke and I’m still trying to figure out if I can glue it back together. My business had been going very well. Then this happened.

“Fortunately we are almost social security age, we’ve been trying to put off collecting that, but my husband does collect a small pension, that was about half our income last year. This year it will be our entire income, and I know we’re lucky.

“After Albert retired, we sailed to the Bahamas with two dogs, and stopped at schools to show kids what you learn from dog training. I showed them how you simply take a big problem, even an overwhelming problem, and you break it into small pieces, then solve one piece at a time. I told them that’s how we sailed 2,000 miles, one day at a time. That’s what we’re all going through now.”

Do you have a story to share about how you are affected by the coronavirus outbreak? Email us at virus@pressherald.com

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