New business makes pet ownership more accessible

Pet Uber is providing convenience for pet owners in St. John’s and Mount Pearl, but it’s also alleviating stress faced by those with mobility issues.

A man smiles at the camera, with the "cat" aisle of a pet store in the background
Terry Penton has four pets of his own: two cats and two dogs. Since launching his new business, he is frequenting pet stores more than ever. Abby Butler/Kicker

Abby Butler

It was two years ago that Terry Penton came up with his new business, Pet Uber – a service for residents to order their pet supplies and have them delivered.

The idea stayed inked on a rolled-up piece of paper for months.

During this time, Penton did the supply chain and logistics course at Eastern Academy. He had no luck finding work afterwards, which brought him back to that piece of paper.

He had done courier work for over 30 years at that point, so knowing he had experience, he decided to give it a try and see where he ended up.

“It was just before Christmas and I said to my wife, I think I’m going to do this now,” said Penton.

He says she supported the idea without hesitation.

Penton launched Pet Uber on Facebook on Jan. 30, and it now has almost 250 followers.

“It would allow more people, with or without disabilities, to just own pets. It’ll just make it easier.”

– Sophi Orr

He caters to the St. John’s and Mount Pearl regions, and he takes orders for any supplies up to 50 lbs. When he gets an order, he picks it up and delivers it, for a flat rate of just $10.

The convenience of such a service has gotten the attention of many people, including individuals with mobility issues.

A woman stands using a crutch with her left hand, holding a tortoiseshell cat in her right.
Sophie Orr has had pets since she was five years old. She says they are emotional support. Abby Butler/Kicker

Sophi Orr, 22, was born with epilepsy which prevents her from driving. She also has idiopathic neuropathy and requires walking aids, and a heart condition.

As a result, leaving the house is a demanding task.

Orr lives with her mom, and together they have four cats and a dog. 

“I have always had multiple pets,” said Orr. “I’ve never had less than two pets.”

She says this type of business could have immense value to pet owners with mobility issues.

“I think about how it’s a struggle to get stuff for my cats sometimes,” said Orr. “And I’m like, wow, that actually that would be really, really convenient.”

Penton says that convenience is a main goal for his business.

“There’s definitely a market there for it,” said Penton. “Because everybody has pets: dogs, cats, iguanas, whatever kind of exotic pet they have.”

With a number of snow days this year, Penton says he only shuts down if Metrobus takes its busses off the roads.

“To me, schools close down when you get a snowflake on the ground, right? So I mean, I’m not going to go by that,” he said, laughing. “But I’m using the main modes of transportation here in the city (to judge snow days).”

In a potentially stressful situation, Orr says such a service can make a difference for pet owners with mobility issues.

In one month, she will be living on her own for the first time along with her two cats.

“I can take care of my cats at home,” she said. “I’m not so disabled that I can’t have cats, but my disability can prevent me from getting those things that are required for them.”

She says Pet Uber fits into the social model of disability as it provides a service that eliminates barriers for pet owners with disabilities. It makes owning pets more accessible.

“It would allow more people, with or without disabilities, to just own pets,” said Orr. “It’ll just make it easier.”

Penton says the public response has been fantastic.

“It’s been good, actually. Really, really good. I got to say it’s , um, overwhelming,” he said through tears.

An emotional Penton says he just wants to help others.

“If you’re happy, at the end of the day, I’m fine with that. I don’t need any recognition for it.”

Abby Butler is a student journalist with a passion for photography. She thrives behind a camera and aims to tell her stories as much through photos as she does through words.

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