Pet Cabs, a less-than-a-month-old company on Bell Road, RMV II Stage, that offers taxi services exclusively for pets (and strays) might also soon launch an ambulance service.It offers to drop, pick up or even convey one's pet to other cities, new owners or kennels regardless of whether the owner can accompany them - does every thing that a cab does for people and more.
On what inspired him to start a firm of this sort, entrepreneur Santosh Shekhar, who owns two other companies that train and counsel students and corporates, says, "My cousin owns a kennel near Manyata Tech Park that I've often visited. Over time the two of us began to notice that owners would bring their pets in expensive cars, sometimes a BMW even, and the upholstery would get spoilt. Some owners would get angry and even hit their dogs." That's when he noticed that there was a 'gap' in the service sector that could be filled up by a company that he has now started.
The three cabs that the firm owns are Omni cars with a partition between the front two seats and the rest of the car. All the upholstery behind is removed; there's a carrier to cater to smaller pets and a space for the owner if he/she chooses to sit with the pet.
So far, the set up has had mainly dogs for customers, save a flock of pigeons and a cat. Shekhar, however, clarifies that the services are not exclusively for canines. "We have no constraints of what kind of pets get into our cabs," he says.
Shekhar adds that he and his team have been getting an average of 10 calls per day, and that of these two to three usually come at night, asking for conveyance for a sick pet.
"We haven't come across any serious cases for which we would require trained personnel," he says, adding, "That's why we're now looking at starting an ambulance service."
Pet cabs is in talks with Bangalore Canine Club, which also seems interested in the idea. "Right now, we're at a no-profit-no-loss situation. We'll need support from organisations like the Club and even perhaps interns from the Government Veterinary Hospital/ College."
All the same, it seems that with the hospital too expressing interest, the project might flag off by the end of February or March.
"I think its a wonderful idea," says Ashwitha S Prabhu, who has had 10 white mice as pets for three years now. "Perhaps it isn't for mice but for bigger animals it will work." She plans to adopt a stray dog soon and feels that the ambulance will particularly help injured or sick strays.
Her friend Vidya S, whose family includes 12 cats, interjects, "There are so many times when stray dogs are hurt in accidents. When we call organisations that are supposed to help animals, they often don't respond in time. If there's an emergency service like this, it would fill the gap."
Yamuna N, a resident of Chamrajpet shares the same sentiments. Her family had a Saint Bernard that was sent to a kennel a few months ago. "We have only two wheelers at home, so whenever we had to take our dog to the vet, we had to use an auto," she says, adding that she would certainly have used the service had her dog been with her now. "But along with cars, they should also have bigger vehicles that can carry horses, cows and the like as people in Bangalore still have such animals at home."
Megha Purkayastha, an account services manager, approached Pet Cabs recently so that she could take her three-year-old Labrador to visit his pups, now at a kennel. "They are very professional, and if they start an ambulance service, it's bound to help."
She also stresses that the cab service is something that she will constantly avail. "I'm a dog-lover and I want to be able to take my dogs out at least during the weekends," says the resident of Electronic City, who also owns another Labrador. "I don't want them to have to sit in one corner at home all the time. They too should have fun."