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Mumbai doggies get dabbawala

Every morning, a delivery boy arrives at the Bandra apartment block with Minnie's breakfast ? nothing new in Mumbai, where dabbawalas are an essential part of the food chain.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2006 01:57 IST

Every morning, a delivery boy arrives at the Bandra apartment block with Minnie's breakfast — nothing new in Mumbai, where dabbawalas are an essential part of the food chain. Only, Minnie is a frisky Golden Retriever.

The city of surprises has come up with another first: a dabba service specially for dogs. And if you are wondering about the quality, around 500 satisfied customers of Home Care would wag their tails vigorously to vouch for that.

The brainchild of 27-year-old entrepreneur Wasiff Khan, the servicecooks and delivers hot and wholesome food packets to customers from Colaba to Andheri every day.

"What started off as just a stray thought has developed into a 365 day service for me," says Wasiff.

Two years ago, when Wasiff returned from Dubai after a short stint of work, he was looking for a viable business to start.

As a child he had an Alsatian and remembered how the dog loved freshly-cooked food. "When I mentioned the dog dabba concept to a couple of friends, they warmed to the idea. I went ahead and supplied dog owners with free samples. In 15 days I had 35 confirmed customers."

A huge hit with the dogs and their owners is a simple porridge of rice, corn, millets and wheat. Depending on the preference of the customers, chicken, mutton, beef and vegetables are added — no dull affair.

Between 9 and 10 am every day, eight delivery boys take off on their scooters with the food packets from Wasiff's business establishment near Bandra station. Prices range from Rs 30-50 a kg.

Wassif also has a long line of celebrity customers to boast of.

Actor Ayesha Julka, one of the many satisfied customers says her 8-month old Labrador Ringo was a fussy eater before she introduced Ringo and her Golden Retriever Wriggly to Home-Care fare. 'Today, Ringo waits for the delivery boy and, touch wood, both the dogs are growing up just fine.”

Says Sheila Trivedi, one of Wasiff's first clients, “Sky, my cocker spaniel, can't wait for his food packet to arrive. The vet says that he is growing well.”

Wasiff steers clear of the fresh food vs dried food debate for pets. "It is an age-old argument. All I know is that the dogs who eat my food are happy and healthy and that my business is growing."

First Published: Feb 05, 2006 01:57 IST