#Furholics: Meet Justin, The Cool Navigator Beagle At The Rao’s



Nobody but Justin can occupy the navigators seat in the car.

He sits there on his three inch thick cushion and stares out the window. He is happy, he is sweet and he is free!

For the beagle who spent the first six and half years of his life in a cage, life changed in February 2016 when he was adopted by Radhika, Nikhil and Aniruddha Rao.


While most would have chosen a puppy or a young dog as their first pet, the Rao family, opted to adopt an adult. Not just any adult dog, they wanted to adopt a freegle. So, they found Justin and life changed completely for the Raos and him.

Justin (and other beagles) was used by a pharma company to test drugs on. 

Settling In

Everything was new for Justin. He didn’t know what stairs were, he didn’t know what to eat and he didn’t quite know how to react to everything. He had taken his first free steps in Resq. That was completely different from what he was used to all his life, a massive change. From Resq to going to his forever home was a bigger change.

The first day home, he stood for two hours. Then he went to a corner and slept. Having understood his confusion and apprehension, the Raos gave him time, took one day at a time. 

“Aniruddha wanted a dog. He wanted us to get one who needed us as much as we needed him,” shares Radhika Rao, a HR consultant. While most parents would have second thoughts about adopting a dog (considered a distraction) before the large STD X exams, the Rao’s didn’t. Aniruddha was in Std IX when the adoption process was done.

Husband Nikhil Rao, GM-International Business, Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd, adds, “We never thought about Aniruddhas tenth and postponing our adoption for that. He sailed through his Std X and is now in Std XI. Justin didn’t distract him at all.” 

The only fear Justin has is of loud noises. “He gets scared of the doorbell, firecrackers and thunder,” sighs Nikhil patting his baby.

Radhika adds, “Nikhil is the alpha, and also the one who will pamper Justin silly.

Aniruddha is the big brother and I’m the masseur, the one to go to for medicines and for some loving when he feels scared.”

In Charge

From taking charge of the navigators seat to being the taster of everything his family eats, Justin is in complete control.

He puts his parents to bed and then hops into his own bed, he teaches people to love and gives them ample love in return.

Explains Radhika, “I come from a completely no pet family. With Justin, I learned to love dogs, as did my parents, my sister and even my grandmother.” So much so that when they celebrated Radhikas moms 70th birthday the entire family looked for the perfect resort that would allow Justin. 

Walks are Nikhils responsibility. Justin decides the route and the length. Completely devoted to Nikhil, he can’t stand it if Nikhil heads out on a non working Saturday. “Justin cries till I return,” says Nikhil who talks a lot to and mostly only about Justin. 

Radhika adds, “Nikhil doesnt go out with his friends much because he can’t take the thought of leaving Justin behind. In fact, we have cut down on movies and restricted dinner outdoors only to places where Justin is allowed.” 

Family Secret

“HE is complete therapy for all of us, communicates and understands all our emotions. We are blessed to have him,” admits Radhika.

We love this story, don’t you?


Uma Karve Chakranarayan

Uma Karve Chakranarayan

Uma Karve Chakranarayan is editor and publisher of Tell Tail, Pune’s only petzine and partner, Petsworld, a pet food and accessories store. ’Furholics’ appears every Saturday on Pune365.
Uma Karve Chakranarayan