Driving Spot Around Town

By Adam Pincus

David Lang is the owner of a pet transportation service and he does not stop moving. In his Long Island City office, he is taking calls on his cell phone or giving orders while scrutinizing the drivers’ schedules laid out in marker over a wall.
“I love it. It keeps you going. It is quick-paced,” he said.

Lang, 38, runs Pet Chauffeur Ltd., located at 36-03 13th St. in Long Island City, which has been helping animal owners transport their furry loved ones about the city and beyond for some seven years now.

His business, one of a handful in the city that offer transportation services for animals, sprang up because pet owners have found it difficult to hail a cab if the driver sees that a dog or other animal is going to be sitting in the back seat.

He got the idea for the service after delivering medicine and food from veterinarians to pet owners and getting requests from the vets to bring the animals back to the clients. He was also inspired by an uncle who made a small fortune in the pet food business in New Jersey.

He is looking to grow the business, but wants to be sure he is ready for the growth.

“I have vehicles that I am not satisfied with,” he said. “And in New York people give you one chance. I want to make sure I am ready for this.”

His business has expanded to a full-service pet supply service, from food and toys, which are available online, to boarding. He even organizes the shipping of dogs, cats, birds and reptiles. The first floor is packed with shelving for food that the company sells online.

“We are hoping to move out and hold it all in a bigger warehouse,” he said. The current building will then be converted to house more animals. “We are looking to make the whole building a kennel,” with space for 50 to 70 animals.

He now has a fleet of seven vans providing about 60 rides on a given day. On a recent day, most of the rides were in Manhattan, but he said they do frequent runs to the Queens airports.

“We go to Florida quite often. Also California, Virginia,” he said, adding that things get crazy during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The company has had a number of interesting passengers.

“We took chimpanzees. They were for a commercial. From JFK to a hotel in Manhattan,” he said.

Although many customers use his service to travel to the vet, other use it to make appointments at doggie spas or even doggie parties.

He said he provides some services that other carriers refuse, including transporting animals on stretchers.

The prices for the transportation service start at $27.50 for the first 40 blocks, but there are no extra charges for the owner. The standard charges rise as high as $165 for picking up a pet at Kennedy Airport.

They house as many as 20 dogs and other animals at their Queens location at any one time.

Behind the three-story house – where he lives with his wife Val, as well as a rottweiler, two cats and some fish – is a dog run with dog houses, toys fenced in with a wall of cartoon paintings of famous hounds such as Pluto and Spike from Tom and Jerry fame, and felines such as Garfield and the Cat in the Hat.

The prices for five days of boarding start at $140 for a small dog and rise to $250 for a 74-pound dog for the same time period. More information can be found on the Web site at www.petride.com.