TO PROTECT their furry babies from the trauma of firecrackers, ‘pet parents’ in the city are making a beeline for the already packed dog-boarding shelters and resorts in the city. In fact, the pet resorts this year are seeing a full occupancy and pre-bookings at least two months in advance during the festival season.
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What used to be a stressful time for pets in the city is now turning to one of the best weeks in the calendar year, thanks to the emergence of resorts with facilities like swimming pools, exercise areas, play gyms and even Skype facilities with ‘pet parents’.
Rijuta Gautam, a city resident, who has dropped off her pet ‘children’, Mishti and Lambert, at a pet boarding facility in Bhugaon recalled the horror of last Diwali. “Last year, she started by herding the entire family into the bathroom. It kept getting worse when the noise of firecrackers increased and she started shivering, drooling, pacing about the house. The dog trainer figured out she was going through a panic attack and the nervousness was bothering me. This entire year, we worked with her to adjust to low-level sounds of firecracker and yet she displayed anxiety signs, so we decided to remove her from the stimulus. Now, they are having their vacation and I am having mine,” said the NIBM Road resident.
At canine behaviorist, Meera Thosar’s facility, Happy Tails, near Chandni Chowk, where Gautam has dropped off her pet babies, the occupancy is full. Thosar said she, in fact, has a waiting list of 20 clients. “People want to choose resorts with facilities that the pets can enjoy, like a vacation resort. While we do have a lot of activities which canines enjoy and we don’t really have a firecracker issue as we are in a non-residential hilly area, we do keep cardboard boxes here for sensitive dogs. If they get scared, they go hide in them and feel safe,” said Thosar whose facility could cost anything between Rs 550 and Rs 1,100 per day, depending on food and breed of the dog.
In fact, pet resorts have been facing pre-bookings and sold-out season during Diwali and therefore, now they have started insisting on pre-bookings and non-refundable deposit to counter cancellations.
Harish Raghani, whose facility Doggy’s Den Pet Resort in Kharadi is charging Rs 400 per day, saw advance bookings a month ago with a waiting list of 15 pets. “If during orientation, we realise the pet has the tendency to get nervous, we advise homeopathic medicines at least a month prior to Diwali,” he said.
And then there are the Diwali parties for pets. While at Raghani’s facility, the festival of lights will be brought in with a special homemade cake with chicken as its main ingredient and pet-friendly games, another pet resort, The Peppy Paws on Saswad Road has arranged all-day swim sessions and ‘socials’ for ‘pet parents’ who want to celebrate a noise-free Diwali with pets without putting them up at the resorts.
As far as boarding goes, her one-acre resort with facilities like air conditioned single rooms, different play areas and Skype with pet owners, is already booked. “In fact it gets booked weeks in advance, by now people have started realising the value of pet resorts,” said owner Priya Poduval.