“We are dealing with someone’s pet child, not cats and dogs” March 2018 issue

Anupama Vinayak, Pet Travel Consultant & Proprietor, Furry Flyers

“We are dealing with someone’s pet child, not cats and dogs”

Anupama Vinayak is someone who has converted her passion into a flourishing business. Having personally faced several hassles while travelling with her dogs, made this pet parent start Furry Flyers – an international pet relocation company – in 2008. To understand more about her ‘logistics’ company, The Dollar Business caught up with Anupama Vinayak in Mumbai. Excerpts:

Interview by Neha Dewan | The Dollar Business


TDB: This is quite a novel business that you have got into. What made you take this up?

Anupama Vinayak (AV): Furry Flyers is India’s leading pet relocation company. The parent company of Furry Flyers is Pet Vacations – India’s first and only portal, offering holidays for pet owners, wherein, thanks to our tie up with over 500 hotels, resorts, service apartments and guest houses across India, one can enjoy a holiday with his/her pet, and keep the pet in the room!

We started Pet Vacations in 2006 and Furry Flyers in 2008. The idea of Pet Vacations came to mind because of my pet son Banjo (a Labrador Retriever). In 2004, we brought Banjo home. During that time, we were running a regular travel agency called Travel Square. But when we wanted to go on a holiday with Banjo, almost all resorts and hotels refused booking, including those resorts for whom we used to give bookings from Travel Square, saying pets are not allowed. We were deprived of holidays, our only sin being pet parents!

I needed to find a permanent solution to this. So, we contacted over 1,000 hotels across India, inquiring if they allow pets. After much persuasion, nearly 100 properties, across India, showed interest in allowing pets and their parents in their resorts and hotels. After a year of successful operations of Pet Vacations, we had a number of inquiries by pet parents, who wanted to travel abroad, because there was no agency to give proper information/assistance on pet relocation at that time. Considering a sea of opportunity, because of global trotting Indians, we launched Furry Flyers, an international pet relocation company.

TDB: Does your clientele consist more of Indian or non-Indians? Also tell us if you get more business from people trying to take their pets outside or those who are trying to get their pets into India?

AV: Our clients include Indians, NRIs, OCIs, PIOs, foreign nationals, diplomats/consulate staff, just about everyone who is moving abroad or coming into India. So, obviously, our pet imports (pets coming into India) and pet exports (pets exiting from India are almost in equal number.

TDB: What have been your biggest challenges in sustaining the business?

AV: The biggest challenge in our line of business is not about handling pets, but handling anxious pet parents! Transporting pets by air is as safe as humans travelling by air. However, overanxious pet parents have hundreds of questions about the safety of their pets in air. That apart, a major challenge that we encounter regularly is regarding government regulations in different countries, which are flex and keep changing. Being pet relocation experts, we have to be abreast with the latest animal import/export regulations.


"Each nation has its own rules and regulations on pet and animal movement"


TDB: Is there a difference in paperwork when it comes to relocating pets in India and elsewhere?

AV: Yes, each of the 200-odd recognised nations of the world have their own regulations/rules on pets/ animal movement. As I said, being an international pet relocation expert, I am constantly updating my information.

TDB: What is the size of the industry that you operate in? What has been your growth rate in last few years?

AV: Pet relocation is part of a larger relocation industry. Hence, it is very difficult to give figures on the scale of operations worldwide. However, it is safe to say the industry is growing at 20% per year.

TDB: Please share with us any interesting incident that you came across while relocating pets.

AV: Every pet relocation is interesting, as every pet dog or cat has its own character and its own way of coping with situations. So, every pet relocation is challenging, wherein we have to understand the temperament of the pet, as well as the pet owner and, accordingly, make the relocation as stress-free as possible. I remember one incident when we sent a huge Neapolitan Mastiff from Mumbai to Dubai, Dubai to Moscow and from there, on a 9,300 km train journey to Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian railway. This was definitely a big challenge in terms of logistics and planning.

TDB: What are your expansion plans? Are you planning to diversify and include other pets as well?

AV: We believe in being the best in the industry, because pet relocation is not just about doing business, it is a business of love and trust, since we are dealing with someone’s pet child and not a dog or a cat. Yes, we are also looking at expanding into other animals like horses, rabbits and birds. We plan to expand our office to Bangalore to handle more challenging projects. We are also planning to get into the relocation of wildlife.