A home away from home

Canine comfort

A home away from home

Pet owners planning vacations can now wave goodbye to those doggone days of booking kennels for their dog in advance and worrying when boarding is not available. A host of canine homestays are coming up in the city, which provide the same amenities as kennels, at reasonable prices. 

These homestays are acting as an alternative to existing kennels, and are increasingly being preferred over them due to the human touch that they bring. A lot of owners who have had bad experiences with kennels are more open to the idea of having a family look after their dogs.

Zohair Shafi, owner of a 3-year-old husky, recalls his awful experience with a kennel last year. “My dog didn’t eat properly because it was a new environment, and she’s easily frightened so she had a hard time with the other dogs there.”

Zohair’s dog is just one of many who face extreme separation anxiety when left in a new environment. The presence of other dogs in the kennel means that individual attention and care is often difficult to provide, something that is almost exclusively offered by dog homestays. Most homestays take in only one dog at a time, which ensures that the dog is not intimidated by other dogs and gets personal attention from its caretakers. Personal attention also translates into perks like regular updates on how your dog is doing.

Seshagiri Rao, a urosurgeon in the city, and owner of Ollie, a cheerful golden retriever, talks of his experience with a homestay. “Regular messages and pictures make a huge difference to my daughter Bhoomi. I’m not sure a kennel would send us pictures or put up with my enquiries on how the dog is doing.”

Love and care is a 2-way street, according to the owners of these homestays. Most of them are converting their passion and love for animals into a lucrative career.

Currently boarding a 1-year-old terrier, Tipsy, in her J P Nagar home, Sabitha Ravi is of the opinion that nothing can act as a substitute for some good warmth and affection.

“For the duration that the dog stays with us, it becomes a part of our family. It sleeps in our room, we take it out for walks and the children clean up after it. Everyone takes utmost care of it.”

She has a friendly 7-year-old golden retriever, Raphael, whose ever-wagging tail and boundless energy are bound to put any new dog at ease.

“He’s the perfect companion and partner-in-crime,” gushes a client who has used their services. The dog is given so much love and affection that when it leaves, the effect is felt deeply. “We miss every dog once it leaves because we get so attached,” Sabitha adds.

And money doesn’t have to be an issue here. Websites like waggle.in and even your local pet clinic can inform you of homestays with a varying price range. From leaving your dog for free to paying around Rs 1200 a day, dog owners are spoilt for choice. So what are you waiting for? Go take that vacation you’ve always wanted to, hassle-free.

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