Paws Up if You Like This Doggie Cab Experience
Pet owners have been sending up ‘Thank You’ prayers since the city’s first cab service for furry clients opened shop recently. With two cabs and a third on the way, founder Kamal Banger tells us she hasn’t had a single dry day since she kicked off her cabbie company ‘Wagging Tails’ two weeks ago. “We usually get about three to five calls minimum every day, some that I have to decline because we aren’t equipped to handle this kind of demand,” says the ex-cabin crew member of Indian Airlines.
Incidentally, the idea was borne out of necessity, when a friend’s ailing pet needed an emergency ride to the hospital. Kamal’s friend Jayshree Ramesh who is also an animal activist and is helping out with the ventures explains, “She lives in Semmancheri, and by the time we reached and managed to take the dog to the vet, it had passed away.”
But the ladies who are also part of a larger animal welfare group called Hearty Paws, have managed turned the loss into something positive. They prioritise emergency calls, that could range from a rescue to a sudden requirement for surgery. Although Kamal adds, “Since we started, there have also been requests from owners who want to take their pet to the beach for a few hours or even those who want to re-locate, along with their pets, to another city.” And the fact that the service runs 24/7, with a separate charge for night travel — has given families (with pets and no transport) more of an incentive to dial in.
While she is too overwhelmed with calls to have considered an app-based service yet, Kamal does share that her ‘air conditioned’ rides have some novel features that set it apart from human rides:
The Driver Brief
The two drivers on duty are given a briefing on the personality of the dog or cat to be transported before each pick up. If a pet owner is faced with a particularly mischievous cat or dog, it is protocol for drivers to step in and help with the search! As a norm, they are instructed to maintain calm bass tones of voice (high pitches can aggravate an animal or cause excitement)
There have also been several advance requests for a few hours at the beach or even re-location to other cities like Bengaluru, Salem and Tiruchy. Based on the requirement and luggage load, either a Chevrolet Spark or Maruthi Eeco is sent for the pick up.
Hire a Doggie Escort
If you can’t accompany your canine on the trip or need assistance with a heavy or hyperactive pet, an attendant can be requested for an additional cost of `150 for a three-hour trip.
Fur Cleaning Services
As a mandate, a cab is vacuum-cleaned post every ride and fumigated at the end of each working day. Should a sick pet vomit in the car, as several of these rides are for the purpose of vet visits — this is also mopped up at no additional charge.
Housekeeping & Hydration
You will probably find more water bowls than water bottles in these cabs. Each vehicle is also stocked with a supply of newspaper, tissue and mats for a quick clean up of a water spill or drool if need be.
Each cab ride is priced at `200 for the first 4 km, and then `20 per km. Night charges go up to `30 per km. Bookings are requested at least two hours in advance. Call 9003055606 or 9841022214 for more details.
Since we started, there have also been requests from owners who want to take their pet to the beach for a few hours or even those who want to re-locate their homes, with pets in tow, to another city — Kamal Banger, founder, Wagging Tails