Fish is your regular-sized mutt as is Ruskie. Petra, 7, is a big burly mix of a GSD mix mom and Rottweiler dad and Gucci is 11, a regular basset hound. Who would you expect to call the shots? “It’s Fish, not Petra. She is a grand old lady, all of 15, and she takes her role very seriously,” smiles Marzia Dalal, animal activist, legal consultant, wife of noted author Deepak Dalal. So Fish growls and Petra who is much taller and bigger than her, respects her and gives her space.
Fish was gifted to the Dalals by their neighbours. Ruskie was found going into the garbage, when Marzia and Deepak were going to their farm where Fish stays. “I asked Deepak to buy some rusk for the weak puppy. She wouldn’t eat them. At that minute I knew that she would die if I didn’t take her. Deepak agreed, the farm got another dog and she got her name – Ruskie! She is now one-and-a-half years old,” says Dalal who also works with youngsters on understanding values, ethics and responsibilities in society.
In their Pune home, Petra came as a small puppy gifted by a friend of their daughter. The only pet they have bought is Gucci. “We lost our great Dane who we had adopted. I was really sad when my children conned me into going into a pet shop. We saw Gucci there and couldn’t help but fall in love,” she says. Talking about losing a pet, Dalal admits saying goodbye is tough because they are all such important parts of our lives. “But that is something you know and it should not stop you from adopting one more,” she adds.
At their farm, it’s their cats Cougar and Vixen who are on the prowl while in their Pune home it’s Zedd, a gorgeous black and white cat who bullies the dogs!
And, yes, living between two homes is difficult, especially when emergencies come up for the dogs. There have been times when they have had to run to the farm and bring one of their babies home to recover. “But you would do that for your kids. These are my kids, my companions, my friends. They are all equally adorable, intelligent and a huge source of comfort. Neither of our homes is the same without them,” says Dalal who visits the farm regularly with Petra and Gucci.
With their own temperaments, all her dogs and cats are truly different. “Socialisation is necessary so that your dog learns how to share space with another dog or human. Then you are set,” she believes.
A frequent traveller abroad, Dalal points to responsible pet parents who clean up regularly after their pets poo on the roads. “Everybody must clean up after their pets. Abroad, you pick up the poo and drop your gloves and poo bag into a trash can. It’s easy and clean! It’s true we don’t have trash bins along roads, but we should make a difference where we can. It will make dogs more acceptable to society if pet parents can do so much.” That’s something we need to actively follow!
Uma Karve Chakranarayan is editor and publisher of Tell Tail, Pune’s only petzine and partner, Petsworld, a pet food and accessories store. She’s fond of animals and is parent to two mixed breed dogs and a Guinea pig. She also looks after homeless dogs in her area.’Furholics’ appears every Saturday on Pune365.
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