Best Doggy Ride - 2008
With vans whose yellow-and-blue exteriors were inspired by the human van service, Super Shmuttle drivers often get asked how much they charge for a ride to the airport. The answer varies, depending on whether the passenger wants to stop at the vet first. After walking dogs for 18 years, owner Judy Rudin had the idea to create the unique dog-transportation and daycare service after noticing many pet lovers have jobs that prevent them from driving their dogs to the park, or themselves to the pet store for supplies (Rudin's drivers will deliver your dog's favorite food, and even medicine from the vet, to your home.) The majority of her clients are in the entertainment industry and have their dogs picked up for a day of exercise and play with the pack. Super Shmuttle drivers escort about 15 dogs a day to the park or the beach and back again, letting the smaller ones sit in the front seat. Rudin outfitted the vans with industrial doors, rubber mats and a fan to keep passengers cool.
"The dogs love it," she says. "They all lie in the back and socialize on the way to the park. It's a van-tastic voyage."
Beyond the play dates, the vans will take your dog to the vet or deliver him or her to a groomer, so your pooch can return home not just feeling good but looking good, too.
With a home base in Toluca Lake, Super Shmuttle covers the San Fernando Valley, Burbank, Studio City, Silver Lake and Hollywood, and is expanding to Beverly Hills before the holidays. Next time you think you see a van full of dogs on their way to the airport, think again, because you probably did.—Gina Pollack