Pet passion: Arthur Obyrne was motivated to start the service last year after learning animals are not allowed on public transport Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A British expat has launched a unique pet taxi service in Dubai to meet demand for commuting animals in the UAE.

Arthur Obyrne, a former commercial artist and financial software executive, who started the service in October told XPRESS, “Animals are banned from travelling on public transport here. Pet owners whose cats or dogs fall ill end up taking half a day or more off work to be able to visit a vet. A couple of my friends approached me asking if I could help take their pets to the vet or spa or day-care centre. That’s how the idea of the pet taxi came about.”


Word of mouth

He said some vets who thought it was great idea started referring pet owners to him and his services were soon in great demand. “I would have probably transported over a hundred dogs in the last few months. The most common trips are to and from vets, spas and day-care centres. There are also pet owners who land at the airport and are stuck with their pets as the regular taxis won’t take them.”

Obyrne said he collects and transports pets not only within Dubai but also across the emirates. He has a team of three volunteers who assist him. “We have two cars — a jeep and trail-blazer. All our drivers are UK expats who have had experience in a veterinary practice or in some other professional capacity working with animals.

“They are all from a culture where animals are treated as an important member of the family which gives our customers comfort in knowing that regardless of any eventuality, the animal’s safety and comfort will be given priority,” he said.

Most people who use the pet taxi service know about it from their vets or animal group posts on social media. “They either call me, send me an email or text message and I check the availability and get back to them. Sometimes, I may have to go out in the middle of the night if I have to take a pet to the vet, but that’s the nature of my job.”

Obyrne said he has transported several kinds of pets from cats and dogs to rabbits and bearded dragons.

The dogs have ranged from a miniature schnauzer to a full-grown Great Dane. “But our vehicles are fully equipped to handle them, complete with approved carriers and seat belts.”

He said the service costs Dh75 for half an hour. “A round trip to a spa or vet would cost Dh150.“


Cost: The service costs Dh75 for half an hour

The website for the service is www.pettaxisdubai.com