My pet parenting mistakes

There are a lot of different beliefs about how to raise a dog. Just like every human, no dog is the same. And while there is no right way to raise a dog, there are certainly some bad practises out there. Raising a dog is a lot like raising a child. Just like how you want your child to be healthy, happy and mannered, the same way what you do greatly affects your dog’s wellbeing as well. Let me share my personal experience about the mistakes I made while raising my dogs:

  • Scolding them:

Casper was my first dog. I had no experience or knowledge about raising a dog back then.  And as we all know, puppies are very adorable; but at the same time naughty and destructive. Whenever Casper would destroy something or wouldn’t listen to me, I would scold him sometimes. This was an absolute ridiculous behaviour from my side. Being illiterate in dog behaviour, I was dumb as well to listen to others who would suggest me stupid ideas on how to make a dog methodologically mannered. The right way was to train him early, and even though if he misbehaved post training, I should have been patient with him.

  • Keeping their food bowl full:

Casper was a picky eater. After he recovered from Tick Fever, he became all the more choosy about his food. I would leave his food bowl filled for hours thinking that whenever he would be hungry, he will eat it. But that doesn’t work for dogs. The best way was to mix wet food with dry food and feed him. And leave it in front of him maximum for 30 minutes. Eventually, Casper started eating his meals like a normal pup and I never faced any other issues regarding his eating habits.

  • Feeding them low grade treats and food:

Often times we have to consider our income in many things. Casper was always on a good brand food. However, I had to switch Junior’s food for sometime to a cheaper kibble as I was going through a hard time in life. But that turned out to me more expansive. How? Junior fell majorly ill. I had to spend a lot of money on his tests, medicines, check-ups, etc. Fortunately, Junior was in good hands and the vet never let him slip into a critical stage. Let me tell you, the vet always scolded me and asked me to switch Junior’s food to a better and know company. But my hands were tight, and I thought, that “kibble is a kibble, be it any company”. I was so wrong.  The same applies for treats and bones. Always use a good quality product for your dogs.

  • Not giving them time:

I was an animal activist for some years. Besides that, I was even working. The only time I had for my dogs was their walk time. Casper passed away at an early age. And till this day I regret not giving him more time. It is said, “Make sure your cup if full before you pour into others cups”. My own dog was feeling lonely and I was busy saving others. I quit the animal activist work, started spending a lot of time with Junior, and now I take care of only those stray cats and dogs where I can reach without compromising on Junior’s time.

  • Neglecting symptoms:

Casper always vomited once a month. Each time I would think different reasons like the weather is bad, or he must have eaten some crap, etc. Had I got him checked earlier, maybe, just maybe I could have saved him. Please do not ignore even the slightest sign which appears to be different than their normal behaviour.

These were the major mistakes I made. As you must have realised, most of them were with Casper, because by the time I got Junior, I had gained good knowledge about raising a dog. Don’t take me wrong, though I have made mistakes in raising Casper, but I have loved him immensely as well. He had a very lavish and happy upbringing. He was the most mannered and loving dog. And now, I make sure I don’t repeat my mistakes with Junior, spend a lot of time with him, give him enough exercise, feed him the best food, and love him a lot.

Whether you are a new pet parent or already a pet parent to many dogs in the past and present, mistakes are inevitable. But pet parenting mistakes are worth reviewing and avoiding whenever possible. Socialise them, exercise them, feed them good food (don’t over feed), don’t leave them alone for long hours, get their check-ups done regularly, train them, NEVER punish, scold or beat them, keep them clean, don’t neglect their personal hygiene, and most of all – LOVE THEM.

Stay PAW-sitive!

It is said “The greatest Sacrifice is when you sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of someone else” – but does that someone else have to be a human? And is living a life for someone else’s happiness necessarily be termed as a “Sacrifice”?

 I am always talking about how much of a difference dogs make into our lives and how dogs have changed our lives for the better. But today, I want to talk about giving credit to us “dog parents or pet parents” about everything that we have done for our dogs. We are often neglected in appreciation and today I want to appreciate every dog parent for all their efforts, hard work, and, sacrifices they have made to give their dogs a better life.

Being a dog mom myself, I know it has never been easy. But our dedication makes it look so effortless, that often people forget the time and energy we have put into raising our dogs to be healthy and loving. Bringing a dog home means a responsibility for another 15 years. Few realize this responsibility and it is imperative to commend all of those who didn’t bring dogs as a Christmas gift and next Christmas the same dog is in the shelter. Or returned the dog for lame reasons like relocating or having a baby or allergy or getting married.

I had read about an article where a woman suddenly suffered from allergies. Upon examination, the doctor informed her that it was because of her dog and to get cured, she had to get rid of the dog. The lady turned around and told her husband, “it’s time to get rid of the doctor and find a new one. The dog is not going anywhere.” Similarly, I used to follow an Instagram account of an Asian woman and her dog. The dog suddenly fell ill and passed away young. She had got an autopsy done and the results shocked her. She discovered that the dog was misdiagnosed and was treated for an illness he never had. She was restless for days. In a tragic turn, she committed suicide. She left a suicide note saying she failed her dog’s trust and she was responsible for his death, so she is going to him. Tragic! I had cried for days after her husband had posted all this on her Instagram account.

There are so many other compromises and sacrifices we do for our dogs, though we do it out of love and soon it becomes our lifestyle. Things as little as not eating chocolates in front of our dogs just because it is harmful for them and they would be tempted to eat. After having a late night out, we still wake up early in the morning to walk our dogs. We cancel plans just because they collide with our dog’s meal or walk time. We don’t go out of town often for a holiday because it is not convenient to take our dogs along all the time. We have stopped calling some people home because they do not like dogs or are scared of dogs, even though they were our best friends or close relatives.

Me personally, when my time was bad, and, I had little to no money, I used to skip my meals to save money to feed Casper and Junior. Even though I had liked a guy so much, I never dated him because my dogs were not welcome. Even today, I am happy to be single but refuse to marry someone who will not accept my dog.

Whether we are sick or absolutely fine, whether we have a day off or working, whatever the circumstance may be, we dog parents never have a break. Because there is no holiday from being a parent. We stay up all night if our dogs are unwell. We have more pictures of our dogs than our selfies. We celebrate their birthdays like a human child. We buy them new toys. We feed them the best dog food. We work extra hours to earn that extra money to give the best lives for our dogs. The list is endless. And you know what, it’s all worth it.

Someone had told me that a dog should live as per our schedule and life, but I live my life as per my dog’s schedule. While that comment agitated me to another level; I soon calmed down as I realized they don’t see life from our perspective. To them he is just a dog; to us he is our child. Not everyone gets the privilege to be a dog parent and they consider them as just another animal. When I was mourning Casper’s death and landed into depression, someone had even told me that he was just a dog. I wish people would be sensitive and understand the years we have put in for our dog’s wellness; and that they are not just dogs, but our babies.

So today, thank you all and a lot of appreciation and respect to all the dog and pet parents who go through silent struggles that no one sees. Cheers to everyone that kept going and made ends meet even in this dreadful COVID19 times for their dogs. I can’t thank you enough for just not treating your pets with love but also the stray dogs with respect and helping them. Greatly appreciate all of you who wouldn’t mind losing everything but the dog. Our dogs give us unconditional love and loyalty and thank you to all you guys for keeping their trust intact.

OMG! – My Dog Does Not Eat!

For every pet parent, “what to feed my dog” is a question many constantly struggle with. We often wonder about which food is good for our dogs. We share our hearts and homes with our canine pals. Surely there is nothing wrong with sharing our favorite foods with them too, right? Not necessarily. Many of the foods, such as vegetables and fruits, that humans digest just fine can wreak havoc on a dog’s body, causing severe health problems. On the other hand, some of the foods people eat can be introduced to a dog’s diet just fine, and even provide health benefits such as joint strength, better breath, and allergy immunity. We want our babies to be in the best of health and live a long life and what we feed them plays a very important role in this.

Having 2 dogs, the dilemma for me was even greater as one food would suit Casper, then the same food wouldn’t suit Junior, and, vice versa. I was always in a fix and honestly, still am. When Casper was a puppy, I used to feed him a particular brand food and Caspu grew up to be a very fluffy and healthy dog. But the same food was fed to Junior and he was the skinniest dog for a pretty long time. Then I put Junior on another food brand and he developed fat lumps because of it. It’s always been a constant struggle. Briefly, I had even substituted their one meal to homemade food. Now, being a vegetarian, their homemade food consisted of brown rice, veggies, buttermilk, flaxseeds and cold press coconut oil. They were doing good with one meal as non veg kibble and other one as homemade. Sometimes, my neighbor would give them boiled chicken, but soon both Casper and Junior developed rashes and acidity and I had to stop that.

Good nutrition is extremely important for dogs. It keeps them healthy and happy. But there’s no set formula for how often you feed your dog or what you put in their bowl. That’s because each pooch is different. At all times, my vet has given the best advice about my dog’s food and changed their lifestyle as per their health and age. After years of testing and trying, and, having worked with various NGO’s and pet lovers, I have come to a conclusion that dry dog food is usually the safest and best option for dogs. It meets all nutritional needs as most products have meat, grains, vegetables, fruits and vitamins. It is also healthier for a dog’s teeth as wet food creates more moisture, and most pet parents do not brush their pets or take them for dental checkups.

Apart from dog food, I also struggled with dog treats. Although there are some table scraps or food in your plate that you can give your dog, you still have to be careful. Junior has wheat allergy and is lactose intolerant. I can never feed him rotis or milk. Casper would love chewing on commercial bones, but there was always a fear of being choked. Other than that, here in India, we really do not get good quality bones or treats. So I had to rely on carrots at all times. As a thumb rule, if you are feeding your dog’s anything outside his meal, it should not exceed about 10% of his daily diet. Dog obesity is another big issue and is not only difficult to deal with, but also attracts several medical complications. So, to keep your dog at the optimum weight and healthy, we have to feed them the right meal and at proper intervals.

Unfortunately, Junior stopped eating carrots out of nowhere and I was back to the perplexity of what to feed him now. I hunted for a better option, but to no respite. Any other treat or biscuit I would give Junior he would throw up. I would give him watermelon or apple slices sometimes, but because of my busy schedule, I couldn’t be regular in buying them and stocking them.

In the midst of all this, I was already in talks with a friend to start a new business. He being a dog dad and a dog lover himself, suggested that we should work on something that we love the most, and that was animals. We came up with the idea of providing the best dog food and dog treats to our lovely and beautiful fur babies. After all, what’s better than watching your pooch react to the question, “do you want a treat?” We love to give our dogs treats because it makes our pups so happy, and when these treats are safe and healthy too, it’s an icing over the cake. Treats can be used for various purposes like training, comforting, just because we love them, health related, etc. Commercially available dog treats have become very popular and a common part of a dog’s diet.

So here we are, we started a joint venture and joined hands with a very trustworthy and reputed company to import dog food from Netherlands, and meaty invigorating dog treats, and then packaged here in India after adding top of the class vitamins and nutrients. In all, super premium quality and a complete power packed and balanced diet for dogs at all life stages. A dream come true. No longer a dilemma of running hither and thither for the best and genuine dog food and dog treats.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  said by Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Apple. What more would have we asked God for! Being dog parents and diehard animal lovers, we have entered into a venture which is extremely close to our hearts and the best health of our pooches.

Introducing Hunger Fills and Sniffy. Let me tell you this, Hunger Fills is the only treat which Junior didn’t show any remorse or threw up as other all treats he has always had indigestion problems. As for Sniffy, he actually pounces to eat it. So it’s tried and tested on my own dog and then put out in the market.

Hunger Fills is a delicious, meaty and nutritious dog treat available in three flavours – Carrot, Chicken and Milk.

Sniffy is a premium dog food product made in Netherlands and power packed in India. It comes in three variants – Starter, Puppy and Adult and Chicken and Egg flavor. It is fortified with vital nutrients, enriched with energy and protein.

We are so grateful for all the support and encouragement from all our loved ones and happier to see our pooches wagging their tails and drooling over Hunger Fills and Sniffy. Something that we have wanted very much for a long time that have now happened. It is true, if you love something, go after it without limiting yourself, add faith, add action, add perseverance and lastly, add patience and time. Then everything is possible. A dream to keep our dogs healthy, hearty and live long with the right food and treats has finally seen the light and is shining bright.

Thank You Mom and Dad!

Thank you, Mom.

Thank you, Dad.

Three small words.

So much to add.

For all your love

And your support

A million words

Would be too short.

The words, “I Love You”

Seem too few

To express the love

I have for you.

In India, from childhood itself, we are taught to, and diligently follow some traditions, like for example touching feet of elders to get their blessings. Touching the feet of elders is an age-old Indian tradition that is considered to be a mark of respect. This gesture can be seen in almost all Hindu families, both in India and abroad. In our culture, living with parents and grandparents, even after we get married is not a taboo or a social embarrassment; it teaches us that just like our parents took care of us when we were babies and helpless; it is our duty to take care of our parents or grandparents when they get older and helpless. It’s a very closely knit culture which essentially teaches the importance of living harmoniously in joint families under one roof sharing responsibilities towards family, children, spouse and society.  Personally, I consider it to be a blessing to be born here, and, a bigger blessing to be a daughter to my parents. I call myself extremely lucky and rewarded to inherit the upbringing, values and love that I have procured.

In some parts of India, the birth of a girl child is not welcomed. Right from her arrival, she faces discrimination, humiliation, and oppression at every stage of life. When it comes to healthcare, education and growth opportunities, she is at times neglected because of her gender. For me, being the middle child and a second girl child, not even once I had to think that I was neglected or ignored or my brother or sister were given more love and attention than me. We were all loved and cared for equally with the best education, lifestyle and values. In a world where disputes within the family are common, siblings fight and sometimes don’t even talk to each other for years, increasing domestic violence, and many other family issues, I consider myself to be truly lucky to be born in such an amazing family.   

Now many of you would tend to believe that living with parents invites a truck load of restrictions. However, believe it or not, we had none; my parents blindly trusted us. Their trust was a big responsibility on our shoulders and we made sure to carry it gracefully. We siblings never even fought within ourselves, and till date we share a harmonious bond. My Dad was the bread winner of the family and Mom is a housemaker. And trust me when I say this, being a housewife is a tough job. Mothers work 24/7, 365 days a year. My Mom played the biggest role in keeping my family intact, healthy and always loving. When we come home, our first question always is “where is Mom”.

A mother's love is the purest form of love.

My Dad made sure that we never lacked anything. When I first started working, my Dad set up the entire foundation for me. But he didn’t give it to me on a platter; he made me earn it and work hard for it. I wasn’t allowed to sit in the boss’s cabin unless I had a meeting. I had to sit with the other employees and learn the tricks of the trade from grass root level. I was put on a payroll, and my salary would be deducted even if I didn’t come to work for one day. In literal terms, I was the boss’s daughter for name sake, and, was treated just like any other employee. My Dad always told me, “I educate you’ll not for you’ll to show off or misuse your power. But God forbid if ever in the future you’ll have any problem, you’ll do not have to beg to anyone but can stand on your own feet.”

Throughout my life I have learned “living life” by observing my parent and learning from their actions. Recently I was telling a friend, that the apartment that I live in, neighbors and/or other building people constantly sulk about little things like why is the dog roaming in the building compound, why is the car parked here, and are never content with the goodness god has given them. But, never in my life have I seen my parents fighting or sulking on anything. Infact, their attitude has always been “it’s ok. We will talk it out and try getting a solution.” Even when I first broke the news to them about my separation, they heard me out first, schooled me in private, but stood rock solid with me in private as well as public. They tried everything to work things out, but unfortunately, some things are not meant to be. In spite of not being dog lovers, and, opposing my decision to have dogs, they never took them away from me. In fact, now that they want me to settle down again, they are searching for a suitable partner who is a dog lover as well. This reminds me of the time when Casper was ill; my mom kept praying for his good health, my brother left his work and was with me all the time to and for Casper’s vet visits, my dad travelled back to Mumbai to help me out with Caspu’s treatment. And when Casper crossed the rainbow bridge, it was the first time I seen my Dad crying like child. My Mom was inconsolable and my brother, he was lost for 2 days. I couldn’t believe my family loved my dogs so much.

A father's sacrifice is unbeatable.

Even today, I live alone, but I never feel alone. My parents always make sure I am fine and lack nothing. And my younger brother, who has fulfilled all the responsibilities of an elder brother is always on his toes if I need anything. I still remember that night soon after Casper passed away; I was home alone, lonely and depressed and the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, it was the Pizza delivery guy and he handed me 4 pre-paid pizzas. I was confused as to who ordered for me. And then my phone rang. It was my brother who had ordered my favorite pizzas for me as he knew I must be down and out. Even when I was having ugly fights with my husband during separation period, my Dad and brother stood below my building for 4 hours just to make sure I was not physically hurt. I can actually write a book on things my family has done.

Brother, but more of a friend.

Apart from this, my Mom played a very big role in my life. Honestly, I just didn’t complete my graduation but became a double graduate with a Lawyer’s degree only because of my Mom. Her words, “if you don’t go for your exams, they will fail you. Rather go, attempt your paper with whatever you know and then fail. Don’t fail without trying.” And you know what, I passed all my papers. My Mom is my best friend and I can share anything with her without hesitation.

I would just like to thank my family for all the love and care they have given me. And also tell everyone, respect your parents and love them. Without them, we are nothing. Never complain about what your parents cannot give you; It was probably all they had. Parents act so strong in front of us, that we often forget just how fragile they are. From parents we learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. NEVER give up your life over a broken heart or failed relationship. Your parents didn’t sacrifice their life to see you hanging one day. I am the biggest example. Live and love. Don’t look back on what you lost, but look around and embrace your parents smile for you.