Wearing a pair of black shades, Neemo literally grins through his profile picture. Looking for a mate and proudly claiming that it will be "love at first sight" for anyone seeing him, Neemo is not a biped like us but a cocker spaniel registered on a pet networking site.
An offshoot of Pawprints, a dog grooming centre, www.puppylove.in is a meeting point for dog lovers eager to share information and other tit-bits about their pets. But more importantly it provides them a platform to find a suitable mate for their adorable canines.
Geetika Nigam, the woman behind the initiative, said the birth of the website - with the tagline "it's a dog meet dog world" - happened after Pawprints came into being in 2006.
"In the grooming centre I came across a lot of dog owners distraught over finding a suitable mate for their pet. They usually went through two channels - either through their vets who themselves have a limited circle of people or newspaper ads which they didn't entirely rely on," Nigam told IANS.
"Therefore, I decided to create a common ground for all dog lovers across the country so that they can interact and choose a perfect mate for their adored pets," she said.
So while Neemo is a four-year-old male cocker spaniel from Gurgaon, "fit banda" Brownie, a golden retriever, prefers not to disclose his location. Mumbaikar Shelly, a labrador, is looking for a play mate. So if anyone is interested, they can add these canines' owners to their buddy list and get in touch.
Although the website started small in 2007, almost in a casual manner, the response to it was "overwhelming" in the first week itself.
"Most of my client?le in the grooming centre are from the expat community. But puppylove.com got some 1,000 users registered in the first week itself from amongst a wide range of people. That egged me to add more information on the site and make it more fun," said Nigam, the proud owner of five dogs.
A commerce student who had done a designing course at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) but wanted to be a vet, for Nigam this has been a dream come true.
"The website has more than 6,000 registered users. Each user makes the profile of his or her dog, giving its photograph, breed, date of birth, place of residence, health details and other information, just like you would in a networking site. Of course, they also add what their pet is looking for - a mate or a playing date," said Nigam.
Having set up one of the first home-based grooming services -- in which professionals come to your door step to give your dog an oil massage, shampoo and condition its hair, blow dry it, style and give a hair cut if need be, clean its ears and teeth -- Nigam said that she now has other big plans, again to do with "dog services".
"Pet owners need to be trained on how to train their dogs beyond the 'fetch' and 'sit' commands. They need to learn about grooming. I am working on those lines now," Nigam said.
(Azera Rahman can be contacted at email@example.com )