INMAN, S.C. (AP) — After running a veterinary and pet care business for nine years, Craig Lambert decided to branch out even further.

Lambert, owner of Creature Comforts Veterinary Resorts and Suites in Inman, recently decided to dive headfirst into another animal-related endeavor he named Paxi.

Paxi is a full-service pet pick up and delivery system for people who are too busy or unable to drive their pets to appointments, Lambert said. Pet owners must make a reservation, and Paxi will then pick up your animal and take them where they need to go, whether it be to or from the vet, groomer, day camp or a relative's home.

"The whole concept is it's a convenient service for people who are busy or can't get out," he said. "We want to help you get your animals to and from whatever venue you need to go to."

Lambert said providing the service to pet owners, in turn, helps boost business for those places they're visiting. He said the potential to get more veterinary care for more animals was a major reason why he started the business.

"We want to provide a service for other businesses in the area, as well, to help keep pets healthy and get them the type of services they need," he said. "For vets, only 10 to 15 percent of business is cats because they're sometimes hard to transport."

The pet taxi service was initially something Lambert said his son would do occasionally before school, and once he graduated he suggested they turn it into a full-fledged business.

George Troncoso, a Paxi driver, said pet owners shouldn't worry about the safety of their dog or cat. Animals riding with Paxi are always secured, either by a harness or in a cage, and the cages are cleaned after each transport.

The cost per ride is calculated by distance - one to seven miles is $20, eight to 15 miles is $30, and it goes up from there.

"We're willing to go anywhere," Lambert said. "We're willing to take you as far as you're willing to pay."

Lambert said he was looking for the right person to drive the vehicle and handle the animals when he met Troncoso about three weeks ago.

"George came in to (Creature Comforts) to see about boarding his dogs," he said. "We started talking, and he asked if we were hiring."

Troncoso, an Army veteran, said he decided when he retired from the military that he wanted to do something fun, and Paxi seemed like the perfect opportunity.

"I spent all this time in the military and doing these jobs I had to do," he said. "After I retired, I wanted to do something I loved. Picking up a dog and getting licks and kisses, that's living the dream."

For additional information or to make a reservation visit paxiservice.com.

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Information from: Herald-Journal, http://www.goupstate.com/