Maybe, you don’t have time to drop your dog off at doggy day care before work.
Or, you don’t want to drive your dog to a veterinary clinic in snowy conditions.
Perhaps your dog is too big to transport by yourself to the groomer.
Those reasons and more are why Gerald Osgan and Alan Schokker decided to launch the Poocher Pet Shuttle.
Starting Nov. 4, the shuttle will pick up and drop off dogs across the Twin Ports area. It's aiming to attract customers who are busy, elderly or may need after-hours emergency transportation for injured dogs.
“I don’t know how to describe it, I just love dogs,” Osgan said. “So I figured this service would be perfect.”
The service will run in the Twin Ports area from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and will take after-hour calls to transport dogs if emergency veterinary care is needed, he said. The bus has a lift, which eases the transporting of injured animals.
Just like Uber, there are rider guidelines. He will transport only dogs that meet requirements set by day cares or veterinary clinics, which may include required vaccinations or health status. The service doesn’t offer scheduling services — that’s still left up to the pet owner.
Before transporting, Osgan said he would like to meet the dogs “to know what I’m dealing with.” He added that he will consider transporting cats if owners provided their own kennels.
He will drive dogs in a bus that contains 10 kennels that are mounted to the bus floor — and no human seats.
People needing to send their dogs to veterinary care, day care, groomer or the airport for a flight; elderly people who struggle transporting dogs; and people who don’t want to travel in harsh weather conditions will hopefully make up most of Poocher’s customer base, he said.
Osgan said he has invested about $12,000 into the business, which includes funding a colorful wrap for the bus. “I’m putting everything I have into this,” he said.
Osgan said he has always wanted to run his own business. He made a few previous attempts, but when he overheard someone saying they wish they had pet transportation, "it just clicked."
After this, he came up with the business name Poocher — a play on "pet" and "Uber" — and bought a bus, wrapped it and started advertising. He hasn't received any bookings yet, but is hopeful as Nov. 4 approaches.
Although he has set hours and is ready for the start date, he said he’s still winging it the first day because running a businesses comes with a learning curve.
“The scheduling is going to be very tricky, it’s going to be like running a taxi,” he said.
Eventually, he said he hopes to have his own app connected to mapping software so owners can track the bus’ whereabouts and schedule.
People can schedule appointments by calling 218-576-2939 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It's $20 for a one-way trip and $40 for a round-trip.