Just when Kevin and Angie O'Brien think they've seen it all, something new surprises them. Like the order to move a pond's worth of koi fish around the world.
"A lot of times a fish can only go as long as they have air in their bags," said Kevin O'Brien, CEO of PetRelocation.com. "We've also shipped diabetic ferrets to Egypt, where we had to stop them three or four times just for insulin shots."
The O'Briens have organized moves for thousands of pets since 2003, including a "therapy turkey" and a "pleasure pig." Their YouTube channel shows the joyful reunions with owners who consider pets part of the family, not to be left behind.
Employees at PetRelocation.com's headquarters in Austin, Texas, don't leave their pets behind even when they come to work. Dogs have the run of the place. There's a gong that someone hits every time there's a new sale, and Kevin O'Brien has separated teams by geographical region to compete for prizes. It's all very Austin.
However, the company had a heartbreaking beginning. "It's not a story that we tell very often, but 16 years ago we went on vacation, and one of our dogs was shot and killed," said Angie O'Brien. The couple started thinking about creating a safe and loving doggie day care.
Not long after, Kevin needed to relocate to Austin to work for Hotjobs. The two packed up the truck and moved from California with a dog and cat. "About halfway, we were in Las Vegas, we decided we wanted to ship the cat back," he laughed. "It was so loud, and she was screaming." That's when they got the idea of a pet relocation business, something no one was doing in 2001.