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  • 18 Dec 2014

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In Character with Nancy Wolske

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - No dog is too big or too rascally for Nancy Wolske to wrangle into the back of her pet taxi--so far. Sometimes, however, once the dogs are in the cab the adventure is just beginning.Nancy Wolske likes a good pun almost as much as a good pug. The founder and chief driver at Yeller Cab Pet Taxi, Wolske will pick up your dog and deposit him wherever he needs to go — to the vet, groomer or therapist. She’ll even deposit his deposits, if need be.

Portland Tribune: Pet taxi?

Nancy Wolske: I’m actually a pet courier company. I like to say we’re the furrier courier. I had the idea when I was in long-term care.

Tribune: But you look so healthy.

Wolske: I worked in long-term care. I had a dog named Schooner. He and I were an animal-assisted therapy team. We would work with people who had strokes, families in bereavement, and so forth. I would see pets that weren’t getting the care they needed. Fast forward to 2007. I was burned out and decided to leave my career in long-term care. A year later Schooner died. We unleashed the company in 2011.

Tribune: So you’re new, only two years old?

Wolske: But in dog years we’re much older. We’re 14.

Tribune: Tough fares?

Wolske: Great clients. They had one big dog and one small dog. They wanted transportation out to a kennel on Sauvie Island. I take them out there for their little camp, then I take them home. I do this several times. The last time, soon as I get to the bridge onto Sauvie Island I start smelling something. The dog is very excited, so I roll the windows down. The dog is spinning in circles and I’ve only got a quarter-mile to go so I continue. I pull in, and the big dog has defecated so badly and run through it, trampled it. He dirtied the deck, he dirtied his little

buddy.

Tribune: What did you do?

Wolske: I called the owner and said it’s really important your dog is relieved before it gets in the cab. He pooh-poohed my suggestion and has not used my services since.

Tribune: Another?

Wolske: A new client is getting ready to leave town. We set up a meet and greet.

Tribune: Is that meat or meet?

Wolske: This time it was with an “ee.”

Tribune: Just checking.

Wolske: I meet the dog, we walk together, the owners show me where she unleashes the dog where it is all fences.

The first day I take the dog to the place where she’s going to relieve. I take off the leash, and then she leaves. The place wasn’t completely enclosed but the owner didn’t tell me that.

I call my business partner and say I may need backup. We’re down at South Waterfront and I can’t find the dog. I text the owner, a physician. The owner says, “He likes a good goose chase.”

Here I am, 55, menopausal, new bifocals, its pouring down rain and I’m climbing over boulders. And I can’t see her. I holler her name, she goes into the water, and she is chasing geese. She keeps going toward the Ross Island Bridge. I holler at these guys who were trolling in the Willamette, and they go after the dog. They caught up to her, grabbed her by the collar, and she looked like a bizarre sidecar as they reeled her in.

I get her to the shore, put a leash on her. I text the owner, “I’ve got her.” And the owner texted back, “That must have been really stressful for you.”

Tribune: And what did you do?

Wolske: I checked my vitals.

Tribune: One more?

Wolske: How about a 180-pound wolfhound that’s stuck up on the second floor of a pet sitter’s home because it’s unable to stand. And I’m taking him to emergency veterinary care for a CAT scan.

Tribune: Can’t be true. You can’t give a dog a CAT scan.

Wolske: It’s not true. It was an MRI.