At 6.30am, the Pets Dhaba kitchen in Bangalore is abuzz. Four cooks are preparing custom-made meals for pets across the city. The menu is different every day of the week to keep things interesting for the pet, but the one thing that is constant is that no preservatives are used.
Shubha K. Menon began the venture more than a year ago with the aim of producing meals keeping the nutrition requirement of pets in mind. “Most of our clients don’t like the pet food that is available in the market because they might have preservatives and pets also bore of that easily,” says Menon. And cooking two-three meals a day at home is not an easy task.
That is where Menon’s Pet Dhaba comes in. They door-deliver the two-three meals of the day every morning. A vegetarian meal plan, for example, has cereals, vegetables, fruits, milk, paneer and two-three eggs, if required. Non-vegetarian meal plans include chicken or mutton and cereals, vegetables and fruits. On weekends, there are special snacks such as idli and chicken stew. “Dog food is mostly bland, so what makes it appealing for the pet is the smell since they have a very acute sense of smell,” says Menon.
The food is customized according to the requirement specified for each individual dog as per the owner. A big dog weighing between 32kg and 35kg requires a kilogram of food a day.
Non-vegetarian meals for a month can cost anything between Rs2,900 and Rs3,500 and a vegetarian meal ranges from Rs1,800-2,500.
When former journalist Priti Bajaj realized she had nowhere to turn to for ideas on how to entertain her pet or for reviews of the dog grooming salons in New Delhi, she decided to start her own quarterly magazine Buddy Life. Bajaj is the CEO and publisher of Buddy Life, which is now seven issues old and has a subscriber base of at least 10,000 across India.
Buddy Life covers grooming, health, fashion, psychology and other trend stories geared to canines in India. “Everything that was on offer was either too clinical or read like pet-care manuals,” says Bajaj, “and international magazines didn’t address India-specific concerns.”
“In an age when several couples choose pets over children and treat their dogs like a family member, merely health and training information doesn’t suffice,” Bajaj points out. “They want to know about the latest in grooming and entertaining and even listings on which hotels and resorts host pet picnics or allow pets in the pool,” she says. Buddy Life is priced at Rs150. Visit http://buddylifemagazine.com
If your living space is straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue, you wouldn’t want to spoil it all with a bulky gingham-upholstered sponge mattress at the centre of your living room. Stylish pet owners deserve stylish accoutrements for their pets. While pet clothes and accessories caught on early on, with brands like Hermes and even Indian designer J.J. Valaya designing for canines, furniture designers have also joined in now. American designer Mike Spears has avant-garde pet beds on offer. Choose from the Red Ryder, a red faux leather C-shaped canine couch and bed which is propped up by a metal support; the adorable Paisley Chase, a furry chase for the canine diva; or the iBed (for the geek owner) which mimics a Mac.
The latest from Spears is the Stagecoach, which is spacious enough for a big dog, several medium-sized dogs and four or five small dogs. Spears calls it the extreme dog bed, which doubles up as a daytime play toy, allowing for a dozen windows and doors to jump in and out of. It is priced at $28,500 (approx. Rs14 lakh).
If you’d rather have your own carpenter fix up a bespoke bed for your pet, try a popular Scandinavian design: the ellipse bed which features an elliptical form in bent ply and comes with a removable cushion. For good ergonomics, get orthopedic memory foam that contours perfectly with your pet. This is especially beneficial for older dogs. But ensure that your cushions are zippered, removable and machine-washable.
See Mike Spears’ designs at www.thedogdesigner.com. Spears ships to India.
It’s bad enough that they are cramped up in an apartment all their lives while they should be running free in fields, but that’s the life of a dog in a big city. Even in death, the metropolis has no space to accommodate the remains of your pet.
But some dignity in death is what non-governmental organization Pet Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) tried to give to the pets of Delhi when they set up the city’s first electric crematorium for animals in Chattarpur last year. “There are some burial grounds on the outskirts of the city, some unfortunate pets just end up in landfill sites and some are thrown into the Yamuna. Since space is a constraint, an electric crematorium was a necessity,” says veterinary surgeon R.T. Sharma, who started PAWS in 1998.
The crematorium, called PAWS to Heaven, is open every day from 6am-6pm. There is a prayer room for the families of pets, and a memories wall where people put up photographs. “Sometimes people return on the death anniversary of their pets and say a prayer in their memory,” says Sharma.
On an average, PAWS to Heaven does two-three cremations a day. No booking is required but it is good to call before going, since it’s on first-come, first-served basis. For pets weighing up to 20kg, the charges are Rs3,000, and for those weighing more than that, it costs Rs5,000.