By Marianne Love, Correspondent
Going on vacation and don’t know where to board your pet?
Or perhaps you are moving to another country or another state and while transporting your pet is very important, you have other issues to deal with.
Moving a beloved animal can be emotional and confusing, especially when every country has its own set of rules and regulations.
The solution could be with Pet Express, a long-term domesticated and non-domesticated animal boarding company that supplies air and ground transportation, veterinarians, grooming and pet travel services on West Imperial Highway down the street from busy LAX.
Inside the 12,000-plus square-foot Pet Express Lounge operation are nearly 9,000 square feet of indoor accommodations and a 3,400-square-foot play area outdoors.
The lounge provides six luxury boarding suites where dogs get their own queen-size beds, a 40-inch television, pet-based videos streamed on the Internet from a variety of sources and an office desk where staff members spend time with the pet, in a win-win situation for both. A few cats can also take advantage of luxury suites set aside especially for felines.
The facility can accommodate up to 50 dogs and 24 cats, as well as temporary housing of some non-domesticated animals such as zoo animals.
Pet Express Lounge, owned and operated by Scott and Christine Williams, recently condensed three of their Los Angeles-area facilities into one to address their growing business.
Their service provides one less thing to worry about, according to the Williamses.
Customer service is top on the list of priorities, along with caring for the animals left in their hands.
“You can cross ‘pet transfer’ off your long list of things to do,” Scott Williams said. “Our main focus is the customer experience because the pets are always fine when they are in boarding kennels. It’s mainly the owner who is stressed — and we can calm their nerves with daily updates whether they are enjoying a cocktail in the Bahamas or skiing in Canada … so they can enjoy themselves a little bit more.”
Keith Flamank, who lives part-time in Long Beach and the other half of the year on Waiheke Island in New Zealand, can attest to the customer service and pet care given to his 4-year-old rat terrier, Tahi, whose name means “number one” in the Maori language.
Flamank and his partner, Steve Bernstein, did a lot of research when they began flying back and forth in the past few years. Travel to New Zealand and Australia can be tricky because both island nations are free of rabies and have travel requirements to keep it that way.
Bill seeks to reduce euthanasia in California animal shelters
Column: Danny Boy, the four-legged smile therapy doctor, will see you now
“The most important aspect of transporting your pet is working with a team who know all the ins and outs of transporting your pet,” Flamank said during a telephone interview from New Zealand on May 2. “Pet Express was able to answer every question. For example, they were able to explain why (our pet) wouldn’t be sedated, how he would remain hydrated, and what could we provide to ensure he knew he was safe. And they knew everything there is to know about the rabies (requirements.)”
Flamank handed over a few T-shirts the men had worn, and which traveled with Tahi in the crate so their scents kept him feeling safe and secure.
“When we drop Tahi off at Pet Express in Los Angeles to travel to New Zealand, he trots on in without a care and a look back,” he added. “That’s a huge comfort to us.”
Since launching in 1978, Pet Express has transported 100,000-plus animals worldwide.
The company has transported a southern white rhino and snakes for Altina Wildlife Park in Australia; actor Paul Hogan’s golden retriever, Paddy, to and from the U.S.; Tasmanian devils from Australia to the Albuquerque Zoo, and koalas from all over the globe as part of a breeding program involving the San Diego and Copenhagen zoos.
And yes, they had plenty of leg room.