Party Barky Hai sounds, at the most, a theme-based party. But one look at the event that was held in the city on Sunday, and you learn it centres around dogs and their human companions, hence the name. Organised by Shivani Mathur, a Mumbai-based certified trainer in canine behaviour, such doggy parties involve games and events for the four-legged pets and their owners to bond better.
Says the girl who belongs to Delhi, “I came up with Party Barky Hai in 2011 when I felt that there should be a platform where one can enjoy exciting activities with one’s dog. Most countries of the world are pet-friendly, while India does not have many such bodies that help you bond with your dog, though it’s also a pet-loving country. So, with the mission to promote happiness for both owners and dogs, we create an environment that gives them a chance to spend quality time with each other.”
Shivani says Party Barky Hai started receiving queries in six months since its inception from cities across India. An animal lover, she has grown up with different breeds of dogs around her, says she. “I’m also a national level horse rider. My mother introduced me to horse riding at the age of three that I continued till I was 18,” adds Shivani who has pursued a course in canine behaviour and training each at Canines Can Care, a Mumbai-based school headed by Shirin Merchant.
Before initiating Party Barky Hai, Shivani worked in Delhi as the head event manager for Rock Street Journal, a monthly magazine on the rock scene in India and South Asia, where she helped organise various rock events. “I did an event management course from the Events School London in 2007 and moved to Mumbai, where I worked for Fountainhead Promotions and Events, Exchange4Media and Vir Das Productions,” she smiles, throwing light on her relationship with stand-up comedian-actor Vir Das, who shares her love for dogs.
Sharing more information about Party Barky Hai, Shivani adds, “It aims to provide a fun space for owners to take their dogs to, where there are games designed to emhpasise on how to improve understanding between dogs and their owners. This also helps in deepening the bond between them, helping them enhance co-ordination and traits such as obedience in their pets.”
Shivani laughs when she adds that events also become a ground for dog lovers to meet other like-minded pet owners and make new friends. “Our parties are also frequented by pet lovers who don’t own dogs but want to come and play with them and be a part of the fun,” she says.
The events, held across India, sometimes require registration on Party Barky Hai’s Facebook page and can cost an owner anywhere between R1,000-R1,500. Shivani is assisted by trainers and volunteers in all her activities.
“Last year, we made NH7 Weekender, an indie-music festival, a pet friendly event. From a pre-party for dog owners to various other things where dogs had so much fun, we held multiple events,” Shivani shares with pride.