Home Chennai Entertainment Chennai’s pet Project

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    Groomer, trainer, retailer, socialiser — a band of young animal lovers get to work

    From personalised name tags to spa treatments, pooches are getting all the attention they deserve. With a young group of trainers and entrepreneurs covering all requirements, it’s no longer a task to find dog psychologists, sitters and hoteliers in the city. Plus, how about someone who organises a jamboree for your housemates?

    Dr Saravanan is a vet-turned-retailer, who is also known for his majestic Royal Enfield and stylish ponytail. “Up until the late 90s the options of products were limited to leashes, collars, basic food and steel bowls,”  he explains. Saravanan was the first person in Chennai to introduce designer collars with rhinestones and pendants customised with details like name and phone number. He stocks cosmetics, dry shampoos and paw wipes, as well as cages for rodents and feed for reptiles. At Veera Pets Fashion World. Details: 26205773
    Shravan Krishnan,
    Pets 101 Hotel

    Shravan Krishnan

    Shravan Krishnan

    Luxe kennels, 5,000 square-feet of space, Skype facilities, bean bag beds and a large sandy play area may seem a tad extravagant for a dog, but not according to Shravan Krishnan, 23, manager and co-founder of Pets 101 Hotel on ECR. “When I had left my dog, Buddy (a Great Dane) at the shelter, he had come back to me skinny and full of ticks,” says Krishnan. After the incident he never went on vacation. He read up extensively on how hotels abroad function, and emulated those concepts to create a luxurious hotel for dogs.Started in January, the hotel has seen almost 700 dogs check in so far. Krishnan did not receive any training, or hire any professional consultant. ‘‘People should come in with no expectations, but see and learn things themselves. Their pets should be the ultimate priority,” he says. In addition to their boarding services, the handler grooms them every day, takes them on an hour long walk and over weekends, to the beach. The dogs are let loose during the day and are allowed to socialise with each other. At night, they are put into individual kennels to ensure some rest. “Very soon, I will be moving out to a different location, which is bigger and gives more space for dogs,” says Krishnan. Details: 9176878969

     

    Rohit Koliot,
    Petcialise

    Rohit-Koliot

    Rohit Koliot

    This dog lover set up informal meetings with his friends and their dogs when he realised most of our furry canine companions had little to no interaction with other dogs. Petcialise, launched two months ago, sees canine owners and their pets meeting at a common space and spending the day relaxing while they socialise with each other. “There is no forcing of any sort, how involved you want to be and how involved you want your pet to be depends on you,” he explains. Koliot, 32, has conducted two events in September and October. Both saw more than 20 animals. “While the first event only had dog owners, the second saw families that mingled and had a good time,” he says. He anticipates more meet ups in the future and his long term plan for Petcialise is to facilitate a database where pet owners can interact with each other outside of this outfit. “My aim is not to commersialise these meetings. I want to keep it low profile. The concentration should be on the animals,” he says. He charges `250 per family, which includes one dog and three members. Details: 9840104825

    Ranjith Kumar,
    Trainer

    Ranjith Kumar

    Ranjith Kumar

    Having done a lot of research on his own, Ranjith Kumar, 29, has devised a unique style of training dogs. In addition to basic training, he can assess the quality of your dog and thereby train him for either shows or as a watchdog. With over 347 shows nationally and internationally under his belt, he has trained and shown over 100 different breeds of dogs of which his favourites are the rottweiler, shih tzu, poodle, pitbull, whippet and miniature pinscher. Not only does he train them but he is requested by owners to show their dogs as well. He started grooming dogs professionally 10 years ago, but will be leaving to China next month to get himself certified as a groomer. Details: 9884725192
    Vaishnavi Prasad, Pet-Sitters India

    Vaishnavi

    Vaishnavi

    What started off as a Facebook post in April 2012 quickly became a group that is 500 members strong. Vaishnavi Prasad began by asking if people wanted her to sit their dogs as she lacked the time to look after a pet full time. “The idea behind this group is to bring together pet owners who are traveling and pet lovers that can foster dogs but can’t own them,” Prasad, 24, explains. On an average, there are three posts a day across India on the page. This service is free with owners leaving written instructions to the sitters on how to care for their pets. Depending on the place and convenience, pet owners select pet sitters. So far, over 100 pets have been on the receiving end of this service and while there have been a few behavioural issues, it has been a success. They are also planning to start a website with more information regarding pet sitters and other facilities. Details: facebook.com/groups/petsittersindia/
    Arunodaya Reddy, Pets 101, premium pet store, Besant Nagar

    Arunodaya Reddy

    Arunodaya Reddy

    When Harley, a two-year-old Golden Retriever had been diagnosed with hip dysplacia (a condition often found among pedigree dogs where the hip bone is out of its socket), his owner Arunodaya Reddy hunted for a vet to help him. He turned a deaf ear to constant pleas to put Harley down, and met Dr Ayyapan who performed a surgery to improve Harley’s quality of life. He could walk normally, as long as he does not tire himself out. “During Harley’s recovery, I learnt a lot about dog handling and it was my inquisitive nature that got me the right answers. Some people may not know how to ask their questions or may be ignorant,” shares Reddy, explaining how he  quit a job as an independent tax consultant in the US that pays $50 an hour, to start a pet store last October. After a year of research, Reddy was able to shortlist over 25 of the best brands, locate their dealers and source products, much to a pet owner’s delight. Their have designer collars for cats and dogs, with their name, and matching leashes to boot! Reddy’s services don’t stop there, with him offering training as he ties up with Sathish Kumar, fondly known as the desi dogwhisperer, together with  dog walking services and a grooming salon. His lofty plans include talking real estate developers into introducing dog friendly blocks into their township projects. “In an apartment complex, one part will be pet friendly. Owners will get a choice now. We are also planning to set up a day care centre or boarding area in these apartments, if the proposal gets accepted,” he says. Prices from Rs50 to Rs7,000. Details: 9841222223
    Aditya & Aishwarya Srikanth, Itspets.com

    Aishwarya

    Aishwarya

    Tech-savy pet owners do not have time to go to a store to pick out products for their companions. Or at least, this is what Aditya, 29, and Aishwarya Srikanth, 26, thought as they set up Chennai’s first online portal, itspets.com, with everything from premium dog food to customised bowls and beds that can be delivered to owners’ doorsteps. While shopping for the dogs, they couldn’t access good quality chews and toys and realised the market potential. Over a year however, the demand on the online store grew rapidly and has resulted in a stand alone outfit in April this year. They are also in the process of opening their second store, in Uttandi, with further plans to open 10 stores by March 2014.  Aishwarya says, “We will be starting a few specialised services as we open our stores. We have plans to cater to all facets of pet care. We are also opening up our events division and our community is growing stronger every month.” Products priced between Rs 200 and Rs 7,000. Details: 9884043849

     

    Sundar Ramaswamy,
    Kabbs’ Pet Spa and Boutique

    Sundar

    Sundar

    Sundar Ramaswamy quit his plush job at Microsoft to start Kabbs’ Pet Spa & Boutique at Alwarpet in 2010. Kabbs offers its services for both dogs and cats.  “I did most of my research online and read a lot on grooming and pet care. I also went to Singapore and got trained at the School of Pet Grooming. I was taught all aspects of grooming,” he says. Kabbs offers two types of grooming—basic and full grooming. The first concentrates on the common aspects of grooming which includes coat cut, nail cut, wash, etc. Full grooming includes customised coat cuts as per the instructions from the pet owner. They also have aromatic massages for which you can select from a wide range of blends. Kabbs is one of the few pet spas in the city to offer colouring and ironing. But according to Ramaswamy, 39,“Not many people are willing to experiment. Very few in Chennai opt for colouring. We have branded products and some materials cost up to `20,000.” The boutique has a wide range of products that includes collars, harnesses and toys. Hoping to match up to international standards, Ramaswamy went to China to source equipment and has products of international brands like Flexi and Kali. “One thing I’ve noticed is that people now want to keep their pets happy. They are willing to spend more for quality services,” says Ramaswamy, whose hopes to expand. “Since the demand for grooming has been on the rise, we are planning to open another outlet at Kalashetra Nagar.” Details: 43144939/9500016380

    — Kaviya Sanjeevi with inputs from Anjana Palepu

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