MANATEE COUNTY - As the sun rises, Cheryl Brady is already helping save lives. Brady owns the Vet Care Express Animal Ambulance.
It is an idea she first had in college, but put it aside for a less risky gig working for someone else.
"I was doing well and making a good living, but I didn't feel like I was serving the purpose I was put here for," said Brady.
Brady's purpose became clear when a friend called saying he had hit a dog. Cheryl was frustrated when she got there too late to help. That is when the old idea came back.
"I thought, 'Oh, my God.' I think that is what I am supposed to be doing. All of a sudden, light bulbs went off. I started crying the whole time," she said.
Two years ago, Brady quit her job, got a van and equipped it with up-to-date animal care instruments and went to work for herself.
"It had grown tremendously. We tripled both our business and our calls and our revenues during the first six months," she said.
She now travels throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties at all hours taking animals to emergency clinics, vets and animal services. To date she has transported more than 13,000 pets.
"I would love to expand it nationally to all cities, because I believe it should be the standard service of pet care," she said.
She hopes that dream comes true sooner than later and it just might.
Her company is in the running to win a $250,000 grant from Chase and Living Social. That money would buy another ambulance and allow her customer and coverage base to keep growing.
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