Matthew Saylor, a former EMT, has just started an ambulance service for pets called PetMedic. He’s available from 6 p.m.-8 a.m. on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends. If you need him, call (775) 827-9123. Find out more at www.petmedic.us.
What exactly is PetMedic?
PetMedic is an animal ambulance service. It’s intended for domestic canines and felines, though we can take bigger animals. We just did one for a large exotic cat out at Animal Ark that needed to be transported for surgery—we actually didn’t do it, but there’s a need for that we’re wanting to help take care of. There’s currently no animal ambulatory service here. There’s some in California— Burbank, Los Angeles, the Bay Area—New York and Raleigh, N. C.—those were the only ones I could find online.
So you really are rare.
Yeah, so I went over and trained with the owner of A.M.E.R.S Animal Ambulance in Antioch. I opened up on Monday [Sept. 1]. We’re just providing transport, stabilization, first aid, that sort of thing. We’re also doing deceased pet removal. The closest crematorium—there’s one small one in Carson City but no one here, as I understand, so they actually ship them over to Sacramento. They’re [usually] going in to the landfill. … I don’t think people know that here. So we’re taking them—there’s a local crematorium, Koefran, they have an office on Wells. So we’re going to be taking them over there, depending on the owners’ wishes, or they can ship the ashes back with the urn directly. So it’s just me, I’m a one-man band. I’m an EMT by trade, I used to work for REMSA and just have a soft spot for animals. I thought it was something to do on nights and weekends, and hopefully it will be successful.
So you’re just available nights and weekends?
I have a day job. I work for West Hills Hospital—a psychiatric hospital, and the Jason Foundation. And then at 6 in the evening until 8 the following day, I’m a pet medic.
When do you sleep?
The phone hasn’t been ringing yet, so I’m doing OK.
How does working in a pet ambulance differ from your job as an EMT?
There are 800 veterinarians in Nevada and only 300 vet techs. I’m not a vet tech, so all I can do is stabilization and vet transport. I can do simple things like if they’re already on an IV, we can continue that. I am animal-CPR-certified, as well as first aid, but I’m not an animal vet tech. California is different, they not only have vet techs but have a three-year vet nursing program.
What made you see the need for this?
People laugh when I tell them. It came to me in a dream. I dreamt my dog fell into a barrel of mud, and I panicked and realized I didn’t know animal physiology and what to do. When I woke up, I googled “animal ambulances,” and that’s when I found out. Then my dog, she got run over and killed a week ago—it really impassioned me to continue this. They’re family members. You or I, if something happened to them, we’d take them in a car and get to a vet, but a lot of people can’t do that, so I wanted to provide this service.
What are your rates like?
$99 for emergency response and $49 an hour. Critical care transports to facilities, like to vets, are $79 or for deceased pet removal, and it’s $49 an hour. If it’s more than a 10 mile radius, I’ll do 50 cents a mile. I serve Reno, Sparks, Fernley, Carson City and Washoe County.