They're the snarlers and the growlers.. the ghar ka rakhwallas…and family members. A dog is a star's best chum.. and what do you know? Nowadays, the pooches are kept as far away from the paparazzi..as possible.
Gone are the days when celebrities were snapped with their pet pooches in flashlights. They're adopted from care centres, hospitals, at times rescued from the roadside.. and loved.
Nearly 70 per cent of the Hindi film and television industry is known to own at least one dog if not more. Some consider the canines to be more reliable than human companions while others adopt them because they are genuine dog lovers.
Says Udita Goswami, "I agree we've become a pet-friendly industry but that has nothing to do with stardom. You have to love your pet, otherwise neither the animal nor you will be happy I've kept dogs as . pets all my life. I have five she-dogs and one male dog.. of them three are in Mumbai, the others are in Delhi with my family ."
What's in a name?
Sushmita Sen owns half a dozen dogs of various breeds. Rishi Kapoor dotes on Dudley and Pugley. Ditto Rani Mukherji on Tin Tin and Simba, and Urmila Matondkar on Loco.
Abhishek Bachchan has an oversized canine called Shanook. Raakhee once had hounds that attacked any tresspasser in her Khar bungalow. Today she has one dog called Pari. Gulzar has Pali.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's pet is called Happiness. Shah Rukh Khan doted on Chewbacca. Today Gauri and their kids (Aryan and Suhana) are dog lovers.
Fardeen Khan owns two dogs, Lola and Delphi. Apparently, they're treated to lamb chops from a Juhu restaurant daily. Tusshar Kapoor is said to have got diamond collars made for his pets Whisky and Risky.
Celina Jaitly has three dogs of different breeds. Esha Deol's pooch is called Piccola. Arjun Rampal has two dogs -Demi and Tyson. Bobby Deol's dog is called Brownie.
Kim Sharma's Savanna has her own maid. "There has always been a domestic help exclusively for her because I'm not around the whole day to look after her," the actress says.
And adds, "The domestic help ensures that Savanna's fixed routine is maintained. Once when I didn't have a domestic help for a while, I made sure I didn't leave her alone. When she was teething, she would cry and not sleep at night. I kept up with her. It's like having a child. Whatever you do to pamper them is not enough."
Ashish Chaudhary owns a pug called Hug for whom he buys the expensive toys. He beams, "I'm the pampering papa and my wife Samita is the strict mum. Hug is on top of the world when we're with him. We celebrate his birthday every year. We take him out shopping. At Paws n Furs, they let him lick every item he wants, and we pay the bill. He's a shopaholic like me. He loves to socialise too."
Salman Khan's dogs, Myson and Myjaan, travel with him on locations outside India with their own chefs.
On the topic of pets, Dino Morea says, "All they need is to be fed well and loved and caressed. They need your affection. I bought my dogs, Sly, Patch and Slidey raincoats this year. I make sure I give them all the time I can."
Preity Zinta has a female bull dog Lola which has its own recreational area, complete with plants. Talk is that Aishwarya Bachchan's dog Sunshine has received marriage proposals by the dozen- rumour is that not many guests will be invited.
Raveena Tandon Thadani's dog got tremendous publicity in the newspapers.. when it went missing. Lara Dutta's dogs are chauffered in air-conditioned cars. Upen Patel buys his adopted canines branded collars and often insists that they drink mineral water. Rekha doted on her Pishti for years.. and now has a dog called Shiva and a cat called Bhaiyu.
Bipasha Basu, like most showbiz townies, buys clothes and accessories for Poshto during her trips to London and New York. "The variety you get in pet stores abroad is unimaginable," Kim Sharma raves. "You can buy the most unusual accessories and dog food in London, New York and Dubai."
Star pets are often groomed at specialised beauty salons. Tailwaggers of Bandra treats about 35 celebrity dogs in a day. The pets of Salman Khan, Upen Patel, Esha Deol, Vivek Oberoi, Arjun Rampal, Preity Zinta, Boman Irani and Fardeen Khan are among the regulars.
Urmila Dabholkar, its coowner says, "After getting a brief from a pet parent, we suggest grooming or cutting based on the dog's coat type, condition and the climate the dog lives in. The dog should not only look good but also feel comfortable."
Treatments at TailWaggers Pet Salon include haircuts, conditioning baths, medicated baths, tick and flea control treatments, detangling treatments, nail cutting, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, oil massages and aroma-therapy rinses and manicures.
Apart from toys, kennels, feeding bowls and collars, dog products include special perfumes, colognes, shampoos, shoes, scarves, raincoats and fancy goggles too.
The cost of maintainance is quite high. The least one can spend on a pet dog is about Rs 2000 per month without any pampering. Otherwise, sky is the limit.
Dog groomers advise all their clients to keep a regular check on their pets for ticks, fleas and skin problems.
It's always advisable to keep a dog's eyes and ears clean and nails clipped. Unconditional love for pets is the most important element.. after all they are a star's best friend.
Homecare Dog Food supplies nearly 30,000 meals to pet dogs every day. The food is cooked and supplied at home from Colaba to Borivli. The price range is between Rs 30 and Rs 120 PET
Grooming Centres: Tailwaggers, Pali Hill Wizard of Paws, Lokhandwala Top Dog, Breach Candy
Pet Accessory Shops: KPS, My pet shop at Khar and Chembur Paws ‘n' Furs, Bandra Shake hands, Colaba Ruskin, Bandra Mark's, Juhu
If you want to adopt a stray: Adopt-a-dog Animal Welfare Centre