Pet Taxis Improve Travel Options for Busy OwnersPublished December 12, 2012
Courtesy of Yeller Cab
If you’ve ever struggled to get a Labrador Retriever into a car, you’ll know that the efforts can sometimes look like a comedy routine.
Fortunately, entrepreneurs in cities across the country are also aware of the difficulties many pet owners face, and are creating pet taxi companies. Below are just a few of those companies in the industry working to improve the travel options for pets and their people.
1. Yeller Cab Pet Taxi, Portland, OR
The idea of setting up a pet taxi company came to Nancy Wolske when her dog, Schooner, had a metastasized lung cancer that ruptured.
“In the process of transporting him it came to me that I was too emotional to be driving,” she explains.
The bulk of her business now deals with urgent calls—taking pets to the vet or the emergency clinic.
“It really means a lot to me when someone is panicking in the middle of the night and doesn’t know who to call and we show up and help them. People trust us with a very important part of their family,” she says.
She loves her work, and loves animals.
“Sometimes people don’t understand what we do and think it’s an excess expenditure. I couldn’t argue more. If you are taking on the responsibility of a pet, they deserve to be taken care of."
2. Pet Taxi New York, NYC
Pet Taxi New York serves all five boroughs of the city, which most pet taxi companies don’t. On top of that, owner Freddy Poveda doesn’t charge extra to leave Manhattan. To make things even easier for customers, all trips are at a flat rate.
Poveda takes pride in his job and his company. “I try to give good customer service and always be on time—people book me when they’re going to the airport or the vet so they can’t be late.”
Business is steady, he says. The taxi company operates every day and uses two backup workers when it’s busy.
And thankfully Poveda’s not had many problems with his business. The worst was when a dog urinated in his taxi and it took a month to remove the smell. But he cleans and vacuums the cab daily anyway. “I don’t only transport dogs but also the owners so I want to make sure the car is clean and doesn’t smell.”
3. LA Pet Taxi, Los Angeles, CA
After 12 years in the pet taxi business, Susan George, owner of LA Pet Taxi, has learned to detach herself a little.
“The first year in business every time I picked up a deceased animal I’d cry with the customer,” she says.
Picking up deceased pets is still a part of her business, along with taking pets to the vet, to the airport, and shipping pets when their owners travel or relocate.
And she’s dealt with all kinds of animals—dogs, cats, birds, parakeets, iguanas, and entire motherless litters of kittens. She’s even transported pot-bellied pigs, she says, and picked up a bald eagle from the side of the freeway.
Despite the downside of dying or sick animals, George loves her job because she loves animals, “and I love helping people and hearing them say ‘thanks so much; I couldn’t have done it without you.’”
5. Houston Pet Taxi, Texas
Alan Weiner set up Houston Pet Taxi to make life more convenient for pet owners.
Most business is taking dogs to and from boarding facilities, since their owners “are so busy trying to get out of town and it takes one really important thing off their to-do list,” he says.
He also handles emergency calls and his taxi is equipped with a stretcher and first aid gear. He transports pets to the animal clinics, or sometimes owners need help moving large pets once they’ve passed away.
“Often owners just don’t know how to handle their dog if he’s in a lot of pain or post surgical,” says Weiner, adding that he’s learned those skills over the years.
It may be animals that Weiner transports but he treats them like humans. His 15-passenger van is stripped of its seats and outfitted with wire crates. “I have a human vehicle because it has air conditioning that goes all the way back, which is important in Houston,” he says.
6. Lucky Dog Pet Care, Minneapolis, MN
Lucky Dog provides a professional service for people who love their pets. Mostly this company transports pets to the vet and the groomer.
Customers are people who don’t have a car or who are short on time. Mostly, general manager Mike O'Dell, drives the animals to and from their appointments at the vet and the groomer, but sometimes the owners come along in the taxi, too, he says.
He occasionally gets an odd request, like an owner who recently asked that her pet be waiting for her at the airport when she returned from a business trip. O’Dell picked up her dog, took him to the airport, then brought the two of them back again.
The best thing about the job? “Meeting and bonding with some incredible dogs", he says. "And I really enjoy meeting the people as much as their pets as they’re mostly really good people.”
Have you or would you ever use a pet taxi service? Tell us in a comment.