From spa appointments to themed parties, Sunday brunches to special gourmet treats, our pets sure are living the luxe life

We treat them like family. If we have luxury beds, they sink into their plush suede micro-velvet donut dog beds. Swarovski crystals are to them what diamond necklaces are to their owners. When you train for the marathon, they look forward to the pet-a-thon! From spa appointments and brunch with fellow pooches, to flaunting designer clothes and even bandanas, the way we now treat, spoil and splurge on our pets, love sure seems like a four-legged word!

It’s a dog’s life…wow!

According to Anna Mathew, a collegian, “Dogs, and in this case pets, are not just a man’s best friend. They’re treated like any other family member is. If Mary had a little lamb that followed her to school, I have a Persian cat that comes to drop me off to college every day with my driver!”

Illustrator Alicia Souza who has a colossal fan following on Facebook, given that she humours her audience a couple of times a day with her drawings, very often makes her dogs her muse. She says: “Since I work from home, I spend most of my time with them and so their presence holds strongest in my work. Many of my fans are animal-lovers, if not pet owners, and hence, can relate to the nonsensical mischief/ extreme love that my rascals showcase. There are those few who probably think I’m a bit obsessed, which I am!” Alicia designs custom products for Paws the Petstore and Heads up for Tails. Youngster Sanam Chugh Verma has taken her love for animals to the next level with the launch of Silver Spoon Pet Home a few months ago. Run by her and her sister-in-law Vaijayanti, Sanam says: “We have two dogs ourselves. Being frequent travellers, we always had to go through the heart-breaking process of leaving our doggies at a kennel. We were never happy and always worried about them. Just before one of our travels, I dropped them at a kennel. Vaijayanti asked me how the kennel was and I simply replied that it was okay but I’d have liked it to be …and the list went on. And that’s how Silver Spoon Pet Home came into being. It’s not a kennel, it’s a home.” Stating that it is fun to take care of dogs of all sizes, shapes, breeds and behaviours, Sanam adds, “it is definitely a huge responsibility.”

The welcome mat

One of the things pet owners detest is the ‘no pets’ policy at most venues. “I love the various flea markets in Bangalore simply because dogs are welcome. They even have stalls where we can buy stuff for our pets. From what I’ve observed, a lot of places have become mindful of the fact that pets and their parents are inseparable,” says Rajesh Menon, an engineer.

Nirmala Balakrishnan, owner of the popular restaurant Under the Mango Tree, introduced the ‘Breakfast with Pets’ concept at her establishment, which has turned out to be a phenomenal success. Owners come with their pets who get to socialise and indulge in an array of delights from steamed chicken dimsums and ragi balls to mince meat balls and biscuits.

Continuing on the gastronomic note, Priya Kulkarni and Shruti Saha have set up Bone Appetite, a Bangalore-based bakery for dogs that focuses on the well-being of our four-legged friends. Bone Appetite offers a variety of homemade cakes and bakes. Priya says: “We believe in feeding our dogs as well as we feed our families, which is why we make premium dog food and treats with wholesome, natural, and the finest of ingredients.” From cakes and cookies to muffins and their signature treats, it is heaven for the hound! If pooch patisseries are a hit, pet salons are quite the rage too. Qualified pet groomer Ashita Mathew’s Wags & Wiggles has innumerable grooming and rejuvenating spa treatments and therapies. “If we feel the need to take the day off, unwind at a spa, our pets that are so dear to us also deserve the same,” points out Mallika Shah, a consultant pet behaviourist.

And while you wait for your dog to finish with his/her spa service, waiting in the lobby is again about them! You can now find yourself company in the form of pet magazines. For example, WOOF! ‘The mag with a wag!’ is a renowned digital dog magazine that is packed with articles on canine behaviour, training, recipes, health, news, expert opinions, and more, all delivered in an entertaining and educational format.

From velvet collars and silk waistcoats to green tea deodorants and expensive conditioning shampoos, the market is flooded with products for pets, only emphasising that they are our favourite people! So while you probably put on your little black dress tonight and let your hair down, pooch party planners like Mumbai-based ‘Party Barky Hai’ are probably putting together a happening do for your canine companion!