Pet owners know all too well the difficulty that comes with needing a ride to the vet or airport but being unable to find one, since most taxis and ride-sharing services do not accept animals. However, a new start-up in Dubai hopes to make things a bit easier.
Chauf-fur, the UAE’s first licensed pet taxi service, has been launched by three friends: Nader Moursi, Omar Aboushady and Wael Hassan. The idea behind the service came after they discovered for themselves just how difficult it can be to get around with pets, especially without a driver’s licence or car. Between the trio, they have two dogs and a cat.
“Having been active members of the pet community for many years now, we were often highlighted to a common issue amongst owners when it came to transporting their pets. We ourselves have been in the same position, so we worked on creating a solution that adds value to the pet community,” said Moursi.
“The three of us worked on creating a company that puts the needs of pets first and ensures they are transported safely. Whether there is an emergency in the middle of the night, or [pet] parents have commitments whereby they can’t make their pet appointments, the market at the time was lacking a safe and convenient alternative.”
The service is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day and can be booked over the phone or through WhatsApp, with charges starting at Dh80. Short rides aren’t the only thing that’s included in Chauf-fur’s services, as the pet taxi can also transport pets from one emirate to another, which can be particularly helpful to animal rescuers, who can also make use of special discounted rates.
Hassan says it was really important for Chauf-fur to get a proper licence from the Dubai government to operate because it ensures complete transparency for customers.
“We are held accountable for our actions, which ultimately makes our services safer for the pets. For us, it’s simple, we wouldn’t send our children to school in just anyone’s car, we would only use a safe and licensed school bus. The same applies to our pets. For our customers, there is a level of reassurance when booking our services that unlicensed companies simply cannot provide,” he says.
As the UAE becomes more pet-friendly, with more businesses and events catering to animals, Moursi says that the company's mission is to reduce the barriers in travelling with pets, while finding a safe and affordable solution.
“We love being part of the pet community in Dubai, and are thrilled to see Dubai become a more pet-inclusive city. There are now numerous restaurants where you can enjoy a meal with your best mate and our customers often tell us how thankful they are that they don’t have to worry about driving or parking. They can simply book our services, enjoy their day out and know their pets are getting home safely," says Aboushady.
Chauf-fur has been operational since November with a soft launch, before having its official launch in February at the Dubai Pet Festival. They have received plenty of positive feedback from customers who have used the service, although they joke the hardest critics to please are the pets themselves.
“While we are interested in feedback from pet parents, we are most harshly judged by the fur-babies we carry. Seeing our regular clients happily enter the van, sit in their preferred area (and often have a nap!) is the best feedback we can receive,” says Moursi.
For those who haven't yet used the service, the three promise that Chauf-fur will go the extra mile to make pets feel comforted and safe along the journey. They use trusted and trained pet handlers who take care of all the leg (or paw) work.
The cars and vans are equipped with a variety of different sized harnesses, pet seatbelts and crates to make sure pets are secure for the journey. The founders also point out that vans are fully sanitised after each ride, using hospital-grade, pet safe disinfectants and that riders must adhere to strict hygiene guidelines at all times.
"We do whatever it takes to ensure your fur-baby is comfortable throughout their journey," says Aboushady. "Our handlers are trained to reassure anxious pets, ensure their safety and security and keep the pet-parent updated with live tracking and picture or video updates throughout the journey."
To book, call or WhatsApp 055 992 7669. More information is at chauf-fur.com