Pet owners in city seek to mute firecracker bang | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Pet owners in city seek to mute firecracker bang

While walking around in his Dombivli house, Rajesh Sundaram Iyer, has to watch his step. His award-winning Dalmatian, Monica, recently gave birth to seven puppies, who have taken over his home.

mumbai Updated: Nov 01, 2010 02:22 IST

While walking around in his Dombivli house, Rajesh Sundaram Iyer, has to watch his step. His award-winning Dalmatian, Monica, recently gave birth to seven puppies, who have taken over his home.

As Diwali nears, the 44-year-old engineer is worried how the pups will deal with the loud bang of crackers. “These pups are highly susceptible to disturbance because of their age,” said Iyer, sounding as worried as a first-time parent. So, for three days during Diwali, the pups will be packed off to Sagar Harshe’s Pet Care Centre at Dombivli to live in a thermocol-lined room. “This would definitely muffle the sound of the firecrackers,” he added.

"Dogs get accustomed to everything — sitting on bikes and cars, but they never get used to the cracker noises in Diwali," said K. Rajashekhar (24), who dotes on his two dogs. Given that pets are traumatised by loud noises, various pet care centres across the city are offering special services for Diwali. These include emergency care, medical lodging, behavioural counseling and boarding or crèche facility. Pet owners can leave their cats, dogs or birds at these centers when they go to work or on a vacation or simply wish to provide their pets a safer and comfortable environment during Diwali.

"We have a farmhouse in Lonavla where pets are kept in an open space away from the city noise. We have a capacity to lodge 25 to 30 pets at a time. Right now our farmhouse is almost full," says Jaisingh Naik of Naik Kennel Services.

The service comes at a cost of Rs. 200 to Rs 300 per day (exclusive of the cost of branded pet food). "We give them toys, balls and musical chew sticks to divert their attention. We also ensure that the daily timetable of each pet is followed. All this helps to reduce their anxiety level," said Sanjay Jadhav of Sanjay Pets Service in Goregaon.

While some pets prefer a hideout, many try to run away from the noise. "Every year after Diwali, we trace around 15 pedigree dogs that are lost on the streets. It's tough to trace their owners," said Lorenzo Standen, the owner of Animal Farm in Pune.

Veterinarian Dr Dinesh Dinherkar said that keeping pets alone in a closed room adds to their stress. "They scratch the walls and floor thus hurting themselves." Therefore, during Diwali, Apeksha Bhandari (22), takes extra care of her seven-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Ginger.

“I take him for morning walk earlier than usual, before the crackers are burst. But at night, he goes under the bed and refuses to come out,” she said. Pet care centres are not the solution for her. “Ginger would rather feel safe with us in spite of the sound than with strangers," she said.