In the news
''Paw''sitive Changes?
DNA Mumbai - 31 May, 2014

The joys of having a pet entail a great deal of responsibility–from monitoring their diet and taking them to the veterinarian to giving them your undivided attention and often dismissing the idea of a family vacation unless the pet can be provided for. So much so, that frequently one has to relinquish the former if the latter outweighs it. Goregaon-resident Priya John points out, “My kids want a pet; I too love the idea. Then I wonder where will we keep the pet when we go on a family vacation and that is when I put my foot down.” If you are battling similar choices, take heart, there is a solution for such crisis–pet sitters.

The concept at  large
Many animal lovers in the city are now making a profession out of their love for animals. They are willing to take care of others’ pets. Similar to a babysitter, a pet sitter offers his/her services to take care of ones’ pet. Quite prevalent in the West, pet sitting is slowly making inroads into India, especially in Tier 1 cities.
There are pet sitting companies that connect pet owners with pet sitters, such as Waggle (www.waggle.in), a site that allows pet owners to find a home away from home for their pets, and a facebook page called Pet-Sitters India. Shyamal Thakker, an Andheri-based pet sitter, has been pet sitting for over two years now. He charges Rs 350 per day for cats and Rs 700 per day for dogs. Thakker says, “I have a space where I let the pets move around freely. It started with my passion for animals. Initially, I was working with NGOs that take care of strays, but later I decided to work on my own. Apart from providing lodging for pets, I also provide them with three meals a day and groom them once a week.” Andheri-resident Justin Thomas, an IT professional, who has flexible timings at work, is keen to pet sit. However, according to him, most pet owners prefer their pets to be in their own space. “Though I have received calls and messages to pet sit, managing time despite having flexible timings is an issue. I have mentioned my timings on the Pet-Sitters India forum and if those match with people who want me to pet sit, I am open to it.”

Ready for pet sitters?
While there are those who are eager to pet sit, the concept is yet to find many takers. Not many families in the city are comfortable with the idea of their pets being looked after by strangers. Samira Abraham, co-founder of Waggle India, Bangalore (which also caters to Mumbai residents), says, “We started Waggle because our dog is our baby. The house is first the dog’s and then ours and leaving them in kennels is not a healthy option. As far as Mumbai is concerned, though there are a couple of pet sitters, I think the concept is yet to catch up in Mumbai.”
To know what city pet owners think about pet sitting, we spoke to Bushra S Khan, pet parent to two cats. She says, “After having thoroughly checked a pet sitter’s credentials and having at least two to three people vouch for the person’s services, I just might think about sending my pets to a sitter. However, having a sitter home is unthinkable. I do not think I can entrust my pet and home to a stranger—it is just a mental block.” Andheri-resident Bishnupriya Sen, pet parent of Poshto, a two-year-old Labrador, says, “While it is a good development, as a pet parent I feel apprehensive of trusting a stranger to look after my dog. If the sitter is recommended by my vet or another pet parent, I will probably find it easier to trust the him/her. Also, it is absolutely mandatory that my dog ‘approves’ of the sitter. I suggest prior meetings with the pet sitter so that the pet is comfortable with the person.” So, in spite of pet sitters being keen to help out pet owners, the latter seem to be a long way from letting go of their apprehensions and trusting pet sitters.

 
India startup aims to be craiglist for dog owners
Srinivas Kulkarni - 31 Jul, 2013

Pet owners often rely on boarding homes to take care of their beloved furry ones when they travel. If they have to take that vacation or go out of town for a few days, in India, many pet owners are left with few options--even if they can't be sure these will provide the love and care their pets should continue to receive.

This is where a Bangalore-based startup comes into picture.

My golden retriever and I
Anjuly Mathai - 9 May, 2013

When I enter Samira Abraham's apartment in Bangalore, she is chasing a dog around the dining table. Plastic balls, wooden bones and stuffed toys with chewed appendages are strewn around the room. Five minutes later, the dog climbs onto the sofa, panting. "She thinks that if she climbs on the sofa, no one can do anything to her," says Samira. 

The culprit is nine-month-old Zoe. Samira and her husband got the dog when she was six weeks old. There were three other golden retrievers, but Zoe was the naughtiest. "She came and checked us out. Then she went to a corner of the room and was playing with herself. She was playing hard to get. We fell for her ploy and instantly fell in love with her," says Samira. 

Find Dog Hosts on Waggle.in and Travel in Peace, Without Worrying about your Canine Buddy!
Vaishali Sharma - 30 Jul, 2013

Dogs have not only offered us love and affection but have also worked side-by-side with humans for centuries. They not only help their owners to relax, but also take their attention away from all the problems and worries. Dogs decrease the feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing companionship to all generations. It’s also been proved that children who grow up with dogs have higher self-esteem and are less susceptible to allergies. With unconditional love, they give us a sense of empowerment that makes us feel better about ourselves.

Pet Guests
Srinath Rao - 4 Aug, 2013

Dog owners in the city who are planning a vacation will no more have to leave their pets with not-so-eager relatives or at kennels. While dog owners are away vacationing, Waggle, a service now being expanded to Mumbai, will ensure that pets stay with a host of their choice.

Find a safe home for your pet when you are away, through Waggle.in
Preethi Chamikutty - 25 Jul, 2013

I do love animals, but never had one of my own. One of the reasons we never had pets was the thought of leaving them alone – when we go to work the whole day, or on long trips during vacations. Today there are options of shelters and boardings, but sometimes even those are not enough for your love...