Pool parties, monthly get-togethers, spa appointments and custom-made accessories… It’s not a dog’s life after all

Sunny has a date to primp for, Goldie has a spa appointment and Danny is late for his suit fitting because his groomer took a while to do up his dirt-filled nails. All three of them are gearing up for a beach party. They have a busy weekend ahead and so do their pals who are living up their fancy lifestyles and not chasing after their own shadows or digging up bones.  And you thought only humans go to the salon, shopping and parties?

There’s a lot happening with individuals and organisations coming up with events and get-togethers for pooches. . Petcialize, started last September by Rohit Koliyot, facilitates a place for dogs and owners to meet. “There aren’t parks for dogs in the city and they tend to get timid or aggressive. So we organise meet-ups once a month, on Sundays, at different venues,” he says. Each event has something different lined up. The one in December had a game of Secret Santa with gifts for the pets and owners while another time saw the four-legged creatures indulge in paw art and create birthday cards… “The community of pet lovers has grown. We limit each event to 20-25 people. The tough part is turning down people,” adds Rohit. Since dogs of all shapes and sizes land up to have a fun time, a behavioural specialist is also present, almost like a bouncer, to check on badly behaved dogs.

Hotel for Dogs that opened its doors a couple of months ago also organises conventions. Given the rising mercury levels, a pool party is the hot favourite. Cuddly pets splash about in the pool, there are also a few lazy ones that prefer to hang around and occasionally woof in support of the more athletic ones. “It’s a great form of exercise and helps obese dogs lose weight,” says Shravan Krishnan who runs the facility with Adishwar T.A. The fully air-conditioned hotel can accommodate 28 dogs at a time and has a Skype facility that’s much in demand. “When the owners are travelling they like to get online everyday and see their pets or just hear them bark. Sometimes the owners are more excited than their pets,” adds Shravan. Hotel for Dogs plans to launch a pick up and drop facility and open a café for pets and their owners soon. Each item on the menu will be named after a breed. And there will also be pooch favourites such as sausages and biscuits.

There’s the annual Great Indian Dog Show organised by the Blue Cross of India and then there are private parties that pet parents plan with friends. So what happens before that? Yes, the parents dress up their pets. Lassie sits with hair curlers on while her “mommy” drapes a custom-made outfit around her. Bono wears a Michael Jackson wig and a bandana while the demure Elsa gets an aromatherapy massage before getting into her polka-dotted skirt and shoes.

Sundar Ramaswamy of Kabbs Pet Spa and Boutique says, “Pets come to us for a grooming session before parties. Some prefer bows, some get hats or a mohawk…We also have a range of organic shampoos and products.” He adds that fitnessis an important aspect, something pet parents are aware of. Kabbs organises exercise classes for pets and owners.

Sakshi Dawa, marketing representative of Heads Up For Tails says, “We receive plenty of custom orders for pet products. Clothes, accessories, diners, beds there are regular demands for these. Sometimes we receive orders for sherwanis or turbans for pets and the price is anything between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 6,000.” Given the demand this Delhi-based brand is now available online and ships orders across the country.

There are owners who spend Rs. 20,000 a month on their pets’ needs. The pet industry clearly is booming and be it their food, toys, grooming or well being, pet owners are more than happy to pay a premium for their best friend.