It’s been a weird year for the world at large but for our pets, it’s kinda been a mixed bag. While scientists believe our canine and feline companions are just thrilled to have us all working at home and even winning through the lockdown because they’re getting more walks out it, the glitchy public transport means pet owners without cars have faced hurdles. Be it visits to the vet or taking their furry companion to a friend’s for some much-needed chill time with other humans, it’s been tough for those without vehicles.
Two animal activists in the south Indian city of Hyderabad recognised this issue, and came up with a pet cab service to address it.
“My brother and I came up with this unique idea of cabs for animals when we heard a lot of complaints from people about how cynical auto-rickshaw and cab drivers are when it comes to travelling with an animal,” says Panneeru Teja, who along with his brother Panneeru Prithvi is involved in animal rescue, run a pet store, and now, has launched the Scoobies Pet Service for pets and stray dogs. “Often, they just reject them saying they cannot take them. And if they do, they charge exorbitant rates that hardly make sense. Every time we’ve wanted to take a rescued animal to the vet, the auto rickshaw drivers have charged us extra money.”
The new cab service, though, is definitely a pricey option. Priced at Rs 750 ($10) for a distance up to 30 kilometres within the city, with Rs 13-15 per kilometre for outstation trips, these cabs are not sustainable for frequent travel. But it’s just good to have an additional option, especially because those needing to ferry stray or rescue dogs get a juicy discount. “Our cabs are friendly for dogs, who might be uncomfortable with being in cars, because we know how to handle them well,” says Teja. “Sometimes, they end up throwing up if travelling long-distance too. We often advise customers on what and when to feed their pets before travelling.” After each ride, the taxi is disinfected.
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