Pet Set Go
There’s some good news. Your pets don’t have to be confined to kennels as you decide to the holiday. New age pet boarding homes are ushering in a new era in pet care. While some are online platforms that present various options, others are homestays with a personal touch. This welcome change has been driven by conscientious pet owners that are willing to go the extra mile for the well-being of their pets.
Touted as an Airbnb for dogs, Waggle allows pet owners to find other pet owners who keep their pets while they are on vacation. “No one keeps their dog caged at home. For a long time, I could not travel because of my dog. This led me to consider starting a platform for dogs. With Waggle, I could leave my dog with a trusted pet owner. The only other option that people have is to leash their dogs and put them in a cage. Caging dogs in kennels is a pure money-making enterprise. They are exposed to infections like kennel coughs and other issues that happen when a large number of dogs are huddled together,” says Arjun Mathai, Founder of Waggle.
Critterati in Gurgaon is a facility that caters to those who want the best service for their pets. Speaking of her facility, Jaanwi Chawla, COO of Critterati said, “I decided to start a clean and hygienic hotel for dogs. Our facility is a six-floor building dedicated to dogs. We have a party zone and a swimming pool as well. We have different kinds of boarding rooms and offer bunking facilities as well. In all, there are 26 rooms. There are a play zone and a TV lounge where dogs can relax.”
One of the things that most new age pet boarding facilities maintain is a dedication to pet comfort and an emphasis on not treating the pet like a number. “Meow Baari is a cat boarding facility which started back in 2015. I had significant experience in rescue and fostering of animals. My establishment was set up through word of mouth. I used social channels to spread the word about the venture. Most of the pet owners knew me and were familiar with my work. This is what helped me get started,” says Koel Chatterji, Owner of Meow Baari.
The biggest worry for a pet owner is the hygiene of the facility where they leave their pets. There is a risk of infection and disease in case proper screening is not carried out. “We follow quite a few protocols in order to keep things professional. We do a check and conduct a couple of trial sessions before we take a dog in. We do a vet checkup and behaviour check so that we are aware of the dog’s health and personality. If the dog has issues or we believe it won’t be a good fit, we work on those issues before taking them in,” adds Jaanwi.
Regarding the screening process, Arjun adds, “We are basically a platform to connect like-minded pet lovers. We insist that people do their own due diligence. We encourage users to upload a profile of the dog with any or all preexisting conditions. More information makes it easier. Sometimes we get late-night calls about some issues and we resolve them in the best way we can. Some of our expert hosts are very well informed and they can resolve issues very effectively on their own.”
“We encourage pet owners to visit the establishment before leaving their pets. The cats should be dewormed and vaccinated. We also need to ensure that the cat is comfortable as some have abandonment issues. We provide a very homely environment for all our pets. We do not believe in caging and prefer that the cats stay free to roam around the property. We prefer that the cats stay neutered. Unsprayed male cats and others are kept in a separate area because they tend to get territorial,” says Koel.
The massive change from the kennels to today’s pet boarding facilities is the high-quality service that is provided to the pets. “We offer a high degree of customisation for our furry guests. We can provide whatever the dog eats at home in whatever frequency it prefers. We give our dogs two treats after meals. We also keep in mind the special needs that the animal may have,” says Jaanwi. “At the boarding facility, the schedules for all the cats remains the same. It is not possible for us to cater individually to the needs of each cat. We provide a combination of water and dry food. However, if some cat prefers home-cooked food, then we increase the proportion of that in the diet,” adds Koel. Today’s pet owners have a plethora of options to choose from. For them, it is gratifying to know that while they are enjoying their vacation, their pet is having a gala time at home.