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Home / Brunch / Heard of godfather? Now is the time for dogfather!

Heard of godfather? Now is the time for dogfather!

This year’s pandemic has shown us that anything can happen at any time. So you need to appoint someone trustworthy as a pet godparent

brunch Updated: Sep 27, 2020, 07:26 IST
Karishma Kuenzang
Karishma Kuenzang
Hindustan Times
(From left) Sadaf Chowdhary and her sister Mansi Grover, with their dog Frappé (inset) at the Delhi Pet Federation, 2018 with B Prashant Kumar, the prospective dog godparent
(From left) Sadaf Chowdhary and her sister Mansi Grover, with their dog Frappé (inset) at the Delhi Pet Federation, 2018 with B Prashant Kumar, the prospective dog godparent

What happens to your pets if your entire family has to vacate the house immediately? Who feeds and walks them?

These were the questions buzzing in Sadaf Chowdhary’s head when she heard about friends whose families had been taken away for institutional quarantine, leaving their pets alone at home for days. Sadaf, parent to Frappé, a three-year-old boxer, decided on a one-stop solution: finding a godparent for her baby. Step one was putting up a post asking for volunteers in the vicinity. “It’s a concept that exists in the West. Covid-19 sensitised me to the needs of my pet and showed me that I need a back-up,” says Sadaf, a lawyer.  

Serendipity indeed

Sadaf lives with her in-laws, her husband Yatin Suryawanshi, and his grandmother. But except Yatin and her, everyone is a vegetarian, and hence, not ideal chefs for Frappé, who needs his meat.

“Also, boxers are prone to gluten issues,” says Sadaf, who has consulted nutritionists and coaches since she adopted him this January. She actually met Frappé in 2016 and baby-sat him in 2017. So, when she chanced upon an Instagram post for adoption and recognised Frappé, she didn’t think twice.

“The [pet] godparent must have good chemistry with Frappé and treat him as their own” — Sadaf Chowdhary

“We didn’t wait to ask my family,” laughs Sadaf, whose life finally has routine since she adopted her three-year-old. The 33-year-old now wakes up for hour-long walks with him at dawn.

Chemistry is key

What is she looking for in the Godparent? “For them to love dogs and their chemistry with Frappé. They should treat him as their own,” she says. Aside from the morning walk, an evening walk of half an hour and a quick round of 20 minutes at around 9pm, are crucial.

“We try different routes as he’s then exposed to different smells and sounds, which is mentally stimulating,” she says. And it is also important that he is not left alone at home.

Frappé is a friendly fellow who will fawn all over you for 15 minutes and then go about doing his own thing. It took him 10 days to get comfortable with Sadaf and her family. Yatin was scared of dogs then, but no one who sees him with Frappé would believe that today. In fact, he’s the fun parent!

Gurugram only

Sadaf and Yatin (below right) are proud parents of Frappé, their three-year-old boxer
Sadaf and Yatin (below right) are proud parents of Frappé, their three-year-old boxer

The godparent has to be in Gurugram to meet Frappé for a bit once a week. “I have two volunteers I like but they are in Delhi,” says Sadaf. The strongest candidate is B Prashant Kumar, who lives nearby in Gurugram but has had to move to Chhattisgarh due to the pandemic. And so the search begins, again.

Frappé is really a good boy – as long as there are snacks involved. Sadaf has even managed to get him to not chase other dogs. But when it comes to cats, cows, birds and the rest – no treat can stop him. He’ll do anything else for food, though. Frappé doesn’t snatch but will sit transfixed, drooling, staring, hoping.

He has a ritual of tiptoeing to the kitchen and eating out of the dustbin at 3.30 am, however. So now, Sadaf wakes up to catch him. “One night, I wasn’t home and someone left 12 bananas on the dining table. He ate 11! And left the peels behind,” she laughs.

 Fit for Frappé

After the dustbin run, they snooze till 4.30am and then go for a walk. “We are not the fittest and never had a routine. Now, I wake up automatically in the morning, and am focusing on nutritional eating – if I can do this for Frappé, I can follow it myself,” says Sadaf who has cut down on alcohol consumption and junk food.

“Also, if we are fit, we can engage him better. We don’t want to be tired on walks!”

Their energetic boy would agree. Though not so much with what Sadaf says next: “Frappé’s happy being the only child. But I love cats and want to get one at some point.”

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From HT Brunch, September 27, 2020

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