A Lincolnshire-based firm transports puppies, kittens, birds of prey and other animals across England, Scotland and Wales and The Lincolnite spoke to the owner about his rather unique job.
Pet To Vet was established back in 2010 after business owner Ian Mackenzie, 54, had spent 30 years in the food industry.
Ian, who has lived in Lincolnshire for the last 15 years, was stuck in Denmark with a customer doing a factory audit when one of his own pets back home became ill.
He had difficulty sorting a vet for his cat and on his flight home was thinking about how others must have the same problem, prompting him to launch his own business.
Pet To Vet is a DEFRA-approved pet transporter based in Cranwell and Holbeach, covering anywhere from Cornwall up to Scotland.
It can see as many as over 30 animals a week. Only one person’s pet is on board at any one time, with no multi drops or mixed loads.
The main three animal groups the firm deals with are puppies, kittens and birds of prey, as it works with a range of rescue organisations, as well as the charity StreetVet.
The company’s work has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as normally Pet To Vet does a lot of vet referrals and transits, including if an animal from an owner or kennels/cattery needs transported for critical care or specialist surgery.
Although many vets are shut for routine treatments and a lot of the firm’s rescue work has had to temporarily stop, there has been no rest for Ian and his busy team of six other staff, who are all trained in animal first aid.
If somebody is housebound and their pet is seriously ill or has died, or if the owner dies and the animal needs to be taken into specialised care, Pet To Vet is on hand to assist.
This year, for example, they took some parrots to Lincolnshire Wildlife Park after the owner had sadly passed away.
The Lincolnshire business also takes pets to airports and ports, or pick them up if they have been quarantined, as well as working with police, social services, the courts and the RSPCA. This could include if an animal needs to be removed from an abusive owner.
Another area of the work that has increased massively during lockdown is transporting pets between a breeder and the new owners.
However, Ian has urged people to think carefully before taking on new pets during lockdown as situations will change when people go back to work.
The family-owned business has a proud history of animal transportation that goes back over 100 years.
Ian’s great great uncle Mark was a licensed carter, who transported poultry and small animals by horse and cart around Devon and Cornwall in the early 1800s.
This passion has passed on through generations of the family, who have all been involved in transport directly or indirectly ever since.
Ian, who owns fish and a little Russian cat called Bluebell, told The Lincolnite: “I love my job. It is very unique. In a lot of cases they can’t get their own pets to the vet so we make a difference and it is hugely rewarding.
“We put a lot of passion and care into it and treat every pet like our own, whether it is a quick half an hour trip to the vet or six hours up to Scotland.”
Pet To Vet shares work with Hertfordshire-based Pawsome Transport UK. In 2018, Pet To Vet formed a consortium under the Pawsome Transport UK brand to help give clients the best deal possible across England, Scotland and Wales.
Although they often deal with puppies, kittens and birds, the service is available for a wide range of other animals, with gerbils, snakes, chinchillas and even a peacock using the pet taxis. They team were even once called out to help relocate Bertie the escaped white peacock who became a bit of a media star in Sussex.
Any domestic pet that will fit in the vehicle is eligible for the service – see more information here or call Pet To Vet on 07472816444. Prices vary depending on what the job is, but can range from a £30 trip to the vet and back in Lincoln, to up to £600 in Scotland.