By Janet H. Cho
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When entrepreneur Yalanda Medina launched “Squad FiftyOne pet ambulance” in April 2016 it was the first pet triage and transport service in Ohio. She grew her business by word of mouth and now has three vehicles and five employees to respond to about 35 calls a week.
Squad FiftyOne founder Yalanda Medina will never forget the night she was driving back to Cleveland when she got the call from the pet sitter saying, “I think your dog is sick.”
She raced home, took one look at her normally feisty Yorkshire terrier, Bruiser, and rushed him to an emergency veterinarian at nearly 90 miles an hour.
Driving despite her tears, more scared of losing Bruiser than about getting pulled over, she knew that if the police were going to ticket her, they would have to chase her to the veterinarian first, because no way was she going to stop. Her second thought was “There’s got to be a better way to do this.”
“Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my dog, and really, it haunted me for years,” she said. She kept asking other pet parents: “If your dog got sick, what would you do? I heard I can’t tell you how many stories.” Medina was so indignant that there wasn’t a pet ambulance service that her husband suggested, “Well, if nobody’s doing it, why don’t you start one?”
When Medina launched Squad FiftyOne pet ambulance in April 2016 (she named it after a reference in her favorite childhood TV show Emergency!), it was the first pet triage and transport service in Ohio. She grew her business by word of mouth and now has three vehicles and five employees to respond to about 35 calls a week, mostly non-emergency, in Cuyahoga and surrounding counties.