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In fact, veterinarians occasionally find that they need to call a taxi service, O’Dell said.
“We get calls from vets who need animals moved from one clinic to another,” he said. “A dog will need surgery, but they don’t do surgery at that clinic. So they call us to drive it.”
Dog taxis have become old hat to Jeff Woon, a trainer at the Canine Coach in Minneapolis. His training style fits well with their services. He spends a couple of hours working with the dog alone before being joined by the owner. As a result, many owners send the dog by itself to the start of the session.
Some of the requests that the taxis get are special ones. Lucky Dog Pet Care got one from a client who was coming home from a business trip and was so pumped up about seeing his dog that he wanted it to be picked up at the kennel and driven out to the airport to greet him.
Digger Dog Walking got a call asking to have a dog taken to a church, where it was serving as the ring-bearer in a wedding ceremony. Peleske delivered the dog, the dog delivered the ring and then Peleske rounded up the pooch and took it home again.
There are other forms of specialization. In addition to the standard pet taxi, Peleske offers a step-up service he calls a pet limo. “It’s the pampered-pooch treatment,” he said. The dog can bring along a favorite blanket or even its bed to ride in. The service also includes a text message sent to the owner every half-hour with updates on how the dog is doing at its appointment. “It’s not just drop off and go,” he said. For these clients, “everything is about their dog.”
Pet taxi prices start at $20 for a one-way trip and are available seven days a week, holidays included. A day’s notice is preferred, although they will make exceptions for emergencies. And while most of their fares are dogs, they do transport cats.
The drivers also won’t complain if the passenger is a tad messy, especially if they can’t help it.
“You can’t mind the shedding,” Peleske said. “I vacuum a lot.”
Jeff Strickler • 612-673-7392