PetRelocation: A Moving Company for Your Pets

Posted by Allie Layos
All images by Jeniece Pettitt via CNBC

There is no pet too big, small, or strange for PetRelocation.

According to CEO Kevin O'Brien, PetRelocation is all about helping connect pets with their owners--no matter what type of pet that may be. Even employees at the company headquarters in Austin, Texas don't leave their pets behind, often bringing them along to work.

The idea for this unique company began in 2001 when Kevin and his wife Angie needed to relocate to Austin for his job. They packed up the truck and started out from California with their dog and cat in tow, but the trip didn't go quite as planned.

"About halfway, we were in Las Vegas, we decided we wanted to ship the cat back," Kevin said in an interview with CNBC. "It was so loud, and she was screaming."

And so the idea of a pet relocation business was born. In 2003, after the success of their doggie daycare, the couple began focusing on the pet relocation project. In the beginning the company was just Angie, working out of their bedroom, and neither she nor Kevin knew anything about shipping animals around the world.


"I think in the beginning when you don't have anything to lose, you're not worried about business plans, you're just diving right in and just doing it," Angie said.

Still, there were a number of challenges along the way, including an ill-timed eviction notice that arrived just a few weeks before they were able to turn their financial woes around. Angie never told Kevin about the notice.

"I thought it's not going to help him if he knows," she said.

In the beginning the company was known as O'Brien Animal Transportation, but the name wasn't eliciting the response the O'Briens hoped, so they changed it to PetRelocation to give it "a more corporate feel," Kevin said.

"We started realizing that it was something the world needed, it was what we loved to do, it was what we were good at and people started to pay us for it."

Since its founding, PetRelocation has moved everything from zebras, naked mole rats and poisonous dart frogs, to a "therapy turkey" and a "pleasure pig." Its clients include Facebook, Pepsi, and Chevron, and a number of military service members. In 2005 the company even worked with T. Boone Pickens to relocate 1,000 displaced animals following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.


There have been a number of interesting and challenging moments along the way.

"A lot of times a fish can only go as long as they have air in their bags," Kevin said. "We've also shipped diabetic ferrets to Egypt, where we had to stop them three or four times just for insulin shots."

In the future the O'Briens plan to expand the business to create a self-service platform online that will connect customers with vendors, and if their past success is any indication, it should be a hit.

"I think it was dumb luck," Kevin said. "I don't think we ever started off to build a business. We wanted to do something for pets and for ourselves."

What do you think about this company? Let us know in the comments below!

All images by Jeniece Pettitt via CNBC.

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PetRelocation: A Moving Company for Your Pets