And there’s a bonus for animal-lovers: Proceeds from the facility help fund Epic Blue Acres Siberian Husky Rescue.
While treats and food, activities and day care might be the biggest niches out there for the burgeoning pet industry, it doesn’t stop there.
Bada-Bing Pet Products of Orchard Park offers a range of pet products including pet dental solution and pet cologne. (Billed as “Strong enough for a man. But made for a chihuahua.”) Wild Eye Photos, a mobile pet photography studio based out of Hamburg, offers pet photo shoots, pet photo parties, private photo sessions and more. And Pet Heaven Funeral Home in Orchard Park offers services, viewing parlors, headstones, caskets and dedicated crematories for beloved critters who have passed away.
One of those unique businesses is Bark-and-Ride Pet Taxi, started in October by Jackie Blachowski, who retired in 2009 as Erie County deputy county clerk with the auto bureau.
“I wanted to retire and get into something that had dogs barking at me, not humans,” she said. Their plans had originally called for her and her husband to open a kennel or dog daycare, but when her husband passed away, that dream faded.
Blachowski still wanted to do something with animals, however. And one day, the idea hit.
“So many people I had met over the years working for the county, they had issues where they couldn’t get around very well,” she said. “I wondered if there was the same need for animals.”
After checking around, Blachowski purchased a van and had the inside retro-fitted specifically to transport up to five animals at a time, complete with crates and climate-control. Then she visited vets and groomers, dog daycares and kennels, and called senior centers and retirement homes.
“Now most of my business is based from referrals and a lot of my clients are those folks who just don’t drive for some reason,” she said. “So they call me.”