A home away from home.

A home away from home.

Last year, Vidhi Malla decided to open a pet boarding and grooming centre in Noida after she became sceptical of such services in the city. “My mother couldn’t go anywhere for 11 years because we had a dog at home and needed someone to take care of him. The pet boarding services we went to were in such a bad state that we had no other option but to ensure that someone stayed back home to look after Leo,” recollects Malla who started PawTales in May 2015.

She realised that having “no option” was not an ideal situation for pet owners, especially when there is an emergency at home. “You can defer your holiday plans, but not an emergency,” she tells Metrolife.

“I wanted to create a place where I could leave my dog in safe hands,” she adds.
Malla, who has been a pet rescuer for over a decade and has also worked with dog shelters, has used all her expertise to create a homely space for dogs where they can engage with each other. She operates from a single storey house which has a garden and two caretakers.

Studies have shown that owning pets, especially dogs, can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain. And not to forget the unconditional and selfless love they shower on their parents. However, the biggest worry for any pet owner is when they have to scout for the ‘right’ home, while they are away for assignments or holidays.

“Finding a good place for pets can be a nightmare,” says Samarjit Das, chief strategist, Buzz Tribe. “We are a working couple and we travel often. And after having a couple of bad experiences in the past, we have finally found a reliable place where we can keep our dog,” says Das who is the proud dad of an eight-year-old Labrador, Zohan.

Elaborating on the issues he had with previous pet boarding, he says, “They would keep so many dogs that Zohan would get fleas and ticks. So, the first this we had to do was give him anti-tick bath. But where we keep him now is a clean place, they keep fewer dogs and the people who handle them are reliable,” he says.

According to Das, the best way to determine whether the caretakers are well-trained and dog-friendly, as claimed by the boarding, is by taking your pet for a grooming session to that centre and observe the way they handle dogs. “If they can manage your pet well, they will take care of him,” he points out.

Several dog boarding centres have mushroomed across the city in the last decade, and a testament of how big the industry is comes from Euromonitor International’s, a market research firm, statistics that the domestic product market of pets in India is expected to grow at a rate of 10-15 percent in coming few years.

This accelerated growth has also paved way for premium pet care centres that offer facilities like AC, swimming pools and separate playing zones. One of them is Gurgaon-based Kennel-1, which is spread over an area of 3.5 acres and believes in giving canines the space they miss in metropolis.

“Dogs usually are accustomed to larger spaces where they can play. But in today’s time it is not possible because majority of owners live in flats. So, we believe in giving them the space where they can play and have fun,” says Shailendra Uniyal, founder, Kennel 1.

In a given time, they house around 10-12 dogs and each one of them successfully finds different corners to play, sleep or just mingle around with other canines. After all, when the cat’s away, the mice will play.

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