Coronavirus: Pet transport company finds new purpose during COVID-19 pandemic

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, a company centered on emergency transportation for pets takes on new purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With pet owners under strict stay-at-home orders, more are relying 360 Pet Cab.

The company serves pets and their owners across the Bay Area with emergency and non-emergency transportation.

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On Friday, ABC7 News was introduced to 13-year-old Dante. The old pup made it through ear canal removal surgery in early March.

"He couldn't walk, he was collapsing, and he had this very, very, very bad case of vertigo," Lauren Righini said.

The 105-pound, K-9 bred German Shepard is almost fully recovered. However, the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be challenging for his pet owners.

Because of COVID-19, usual aftercare has changed.

"Even the follow-up care. They're just now starting to see a few patients, but nobody is letting humans go in," Righini told ABC7 News. "Your animal has to go without you."

Righini is one of Dante's owners. She's recovering from a torn tendon in her right rotator cuff. Since she's injured, she can't lift Dante.

For help with transportation, Righini turned to 360 Pet Cab.

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Launched in 2019, the medical transportation company for pets has found new purpose during the pandemic.

"A lot of my clients do have pre-existing conditions, whether it be asthma, or their cancer is in remission," 360 Pet Cab founder and CEO, Jeanne Salem explained. "Things like that, where they just don't want to take any chances at all."

Salem said concern has led to more calls.

"They can't leave their houses. So, a lot of veterinary hospitals are offering curbside," she said. "But people just don't want to leave at all, and we just want our customers to feel safe and know they can count on us."

Salem said the company serves between 60-70 pet owners across the Bay Area.

Since the pandemic took over, she's noticed pet food and prescription delivery alone has taken off.

To maintain safety, her staff of six has also adopted a no-contact protocol when connecting with pet owners.

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"Luckily, we had masks already, and eye gear to cover our faces," she said. "And we had to purchase some gowns."

Salem said between each transport, the crew gives each vehicle a deep clean.

"We really had to look at what protocols we needed to take to keep our employees and contractors safe, and pets and their owners too," she added.

Righini said Dante's surgery wouldn't have been possible without the help of 360 Pet Cab. First class treatment for some very special family members.

"He has supplied so much hope and so much help, being a part of our family," Righini said about Dante. "He literally is a family member!"

360 Pet Cab works with several veterinary hospitals and clinics across the Bay Area.

Salem mentioned Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos and Sage Veterinary Centers in Redwood City, specifically.

Their partnership allows her to pick up prescriptions for clients, and make those deliveries the same day.

Salem has established a wide network to help navigate today's "normal."

Her staff of six includes registered vet technicians, lead paramedic and trainer, an animal welfare and transporter specialist, and drivers are all certified for Pet CPR, Pet First Aid, and Pet Safety.

To learn more about 360 Pet Cab, click here.

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