We recently launched our Pet Parents section so as to talk to not only human parents but also some of the great Super Pet Parents which we think are our real heroes. Now that we have two pets in our house, I know that raising a dog is also a kind of parenting where you have to be strict as well as cool at the same time.
Read our first Super PetParent Akshaya’s story to know the details.
So #SuperPetParent tell us your story…how did you get your baby/babies?
– I had my very first pet at the age of 6, in the year 1994. His name was Pluffy and he was a Pomeranian. He was from a litter from my father’s factory neighbour and he just didn’t let go of my dad. However, he passed away within two weeks because of wrong medication and vaccination by the vet. I was heartbroken beyond words. And since then my parents were also against having another pet.
Then fast forward to 2008, my sister and I convinced my parents for another pet. I was 20 and my sister was 14. So my parents were open to it if we agreed upon taking the responsibility. At that time the Vodafone ads had hit the TV screens and we loved the pug. We read up about the breed, the health issues and care they need, etc. And then on 1st June 2008 our first baby boy- Tobler came home.
“It’s been a learning experience since then. Pets need proper care by Vets, diet, walking, exercises and discipline. All of it needed time and willingness to learn and that is when you get the title of a Pet Parent.”
Around the same time, we had bought a farmhouse at Bordi and wished to have dogs there. Since the pets, there would be looked after by the caretakers, after a lot of research we settled on Caravan hounds – an indigenous Indian breed. That way we didn’t have to worry about them adjusting to the weather and their health too much.
So in March 2009, we had our second boy- Tazo, a magnificent caravan hound. He was 2.5 months old.And in April 2008 we brought home Tazie, a female companion for Tazo. She was 4 months old.
Tazo Tazie and Tobler got along really well. In June 2009, we left Tazo Tazie at the Bordi farm and they adjusted well there. We have a private vet from Dahanu who visits them as and when required, as well as the local government vet for help. They’re a healthy and low maintenance breed and we love visiting them as often as possible.
However after they went to Bordi, Tobler would miss them a lot and started feeling lonely and depressed. So in July 2009, we brought home Toofie- our female pug.
Since then I have been associated with NGOs for animal welfare and have realised the harmful practices of puppy mills. I have fostered abandoned and rescued dogs and helped them with their adoption.
Tell us something about getting your own pet.
It’s because of this that in 2016 I fostered a senior 8-year-old pug- Majanu who was rescued in a horrible condition. His mate passed away while they were locked up in a balcony. His weight was just 7kgs. The rescuer really put her heart and soul to bring him back to health, and then in Nov 2016, we fostered him. However, due to his age, we didn’t get any suitable calls for adoption. He got along well with my pugs and since he is a senior dog, we had to put in very little efforts with him. Just food and walks and he would take care of himself. Since my husband and I are working, we couldn’t ever adopt a puppy as they need to be given time till they get a little older. If I had to adopt, my mom would be involved since I’d have to leave the dog at her place. A puppy would mean a lot of work for her which wouldn’t be fair. But with Majanu that wasn’t the case.So finally on my second wedding anniversary on 3rd Dec 2016, my husband and I decided to adopt Majanu. And we renamed him Tango <
How were the initial days with the pet?
– With Tobler, it was difficult since he was our first pet. Puppies need a lot of care. They need to be fed multiple times. They need to be toilet trained. All of it had a huge learning curve. But it got easier with the advent of each new puppy. By the time my husband and I adopted Tango, we had experienced different personalities and breeds of dogs thanks to fostering. So with Tango is was fairly easy. He had separation anxiety as he was locked in a balcony for several days. So with practice and lots of love we started to leave him home for 10-15 mins alone. Initially, he would cry a lot. But slowly as he got used to us he settled down. Now I can easily leave him home for a couple of hours and he is perfectly secure and happy. If I’m going out for a longer time, I leave him with my mother.
How did you train your pet?
– Tobler Toofie both peed and pood on a foot mat. So we slowly moved it to the bathroom and that’s how they got used to using the bathroom. Whenever we take them down we scoop the poop and never litter the place.
With Tazo Tazie too we did the same. But at the farm, they are left free in the compound. When we visit they sit inside the house but never pee or poop inside. They always go out for releasing themselves and then come back in.
Tango, on the other hand, would never use the bathroom and would always have to be taken down. In the monsoons, it would become difficult. So we took a floor mat down and wiped his pee with it and left it in our bathroom. In a day or two he peed in the bathroom, and slowly every morning after he woke up we would take him to the bathroom and then wait with him till he peed. Now he freely uses the bathroom to pee. Also poops in rare cases. But earlier he would hold it back, we’re glad he doesn’t do that anymore. We do take him for his walks twice a day. But when it rains he gets skin infections if it’s wet down. So in those days, he uses the bathroom.
Likewise, for staying at home we slowly put him in the habit as mentioned above.
When did you think was the bond between you and your pet formed?
From the first day they came home <3 It is like love at first sight. They are highly sentient beings and reciprocate with the same emotions as we send out to them.
Dod you take any help from Youtube or other social media to understand your pet?
– We generally prefer talking to the vet of other professionals for the help we require. I don’t rely heavily on social media when it comes to their care. It is for this reason that I’ve done a course on telepathic animal communication. Now most things I understand actually asking and talking to them and then it serves as a guideline when I seek help from vets and other professionals. But speaking to them has really been the most wonderful thing and I’ve seen a vast difference in the relationship we share now as compared to before I learnt animal communication.
What is your opinion on Breeding dogs for money…
4 of my dogs were bought from breeders so I am guilty of it myself. But after being a pet parent for 10 years now I can proudly say that my perception of dogs and dog breeds has changed drastically.
It’s only natural that first-time pet parents wouldn’t want to adopt an indie puppy. I knew I didn’t want to back in 2008. And most people want to get puppies home because of the cute factor, not realising the responsibility that comes along with it. That’s why we have so many abandoned breed dogs.
However, a good start to creating awareness is to promote ethical breeders. There are several people who take good care of the mom and pups. The mating isn’t forced and the mother is taken well care of. Many families breed their pets in a loving environment and sell the home litters. This is something a new pet parent must look into. They must inquire about the mother of the pup and see how she is kept. Not only for the sake of the welfare of animals, but also because a pup from bad breeders will eventually have genetic issues and a lot of health problems.
Adopting is definitely the best option, but even if that’s not possible, rather than forcing it on people we can at least make them aware of ethical breeding practices. I’m sure once people have their first pet, the whole idea of a specific breed just evaporates and we’re open to even adopting Indies.
In our case adopting an indie wasn’t an option due to space issues and the fact that my mom needed to be a part of the whole thing. But our next adoption would be an indie adult dog or cat 🙂
Many people are scared of dogs..what do you think can we do to educate people about dogs and create many more pet parents.
– I see a lot of parents scaring their kids with the stray dogs saying if you don’t listen they’ll come and bite you. This needs to stop. Creating awareness amongst Children is the best way to making our society animal-friendly.
Dogs are the most trusting animals around us. There are many NGOs who do awareness programmes in schools, colleges, and corporates to create awareness about stray animals and how we can live in harmony.
You don’t need to have a dog home to be a pet parent. We can begin with just feeding a dog in our locality, then move on to fostering, and then maybe having one home if everything falls into place.
Not only dogs, even stray cats can be adopting and fed without being brought home. That can make many people around pet parents as well.
Just basic respect for them would be a good start 🙂
Who do you think is an ideal #PetParent and why?
– Anyone who understands and respects the fact that animals are sentient beings and treats them so is an ideal pet parent.
You don’t need to spoil them with treats and fancy spa visits. Just basic love and care is enough. Many people who come and feed strays have no pets at home. They too are perfect pet parents for all those on the roads who have a good meal because of them.
Parenting has no right or wrong. Just as it is with human babies, every pet and their parents have a unique bond that’s inexplicable in words. In fact I share a different relationship with each of my 5 home pets and several others on the street. And I hope that I’m a good parent to all of them.