15 Jan | Posted by Ruff | no comments |
People focus on letting their pets have some fun, says Nezhat Belgamvala, who runs Petstepin. Spa-treatment and aroma therapies are common, so are the good old-fashioned getting together with friends. “We have clients spending anywhere between `2,000 and `10,000.” Spa parties are common requests placed with Syed Shilby and Lopa Saikia’s Ruff too. They organise pet parties twice or thrice a month and say the most expensive one they have seen so far is for `25,000. Lopa says, “On an average it will be `10,000-15,000 per party.”
Michelle Menon went to Petstepin for her five-year-old labrador’s birthday. “Simba had a blast. She played so many games with her friends.”
Pet parents work across industries. Petstepin’s clients are IT professionals, teachers in international schools, authors, advertising, marketing and medical professionals, social workers and entrepreneurs. Ruff’s clients are mostly female who are self-employed or holding senior positions in corporate. “Selfemployed form 45 per cent of our clientele, IT is 40 per cent, Banking 5 per cent and others 10 per cent,” says Lopa.
Treating pets to every indulgence is just catching on in the city. “Over the last few years the city has grown by leaps and bounds with regard to spending for pets and pet care. There’s definitely a segment of people who love to pamper their pets with no limits and treat their little pooches like babies, but this segment is comparatively small, I would think, when compared to a city like Mumbai,” says Belgamvala. Ruff’s Lopa says that Bengaluru is far behind when compared to Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai.
That said, celebrations are elaborate – from dog-friendly cakes and snacks for pets and people to decorations, games and return gifts – and no expense is spared. After the party is wrapped up, Petsteppin even gives a poster of the birthday boy/girl signed by friends and family to the pet parents. What games are played? Tug, definitely. Then there is treasure hunt, four corners and “Strut your stuff”. The last is where pet parents get to show off their pooch’s talents and tricks. Sometimes there are pools for pets to splash about in.
Ruff works with a dedicated team of vendors. They stress on hygiene and safety for the dogs, and medical aid in case of emergency. A pet parent must book their services 20 days in advance, then they can sit back and relax. Ruff sees the party through from end to end — from invitations to seating arrangements. Their party food has a desi twist — pooch biriyani with carrots, broken rice, meat and such other treats.
While the fun is unlimited, the guests of honour have well-developed canines so trouble could be around the corner. “Our challenge with a birthday party starts from the minute the dogs step in since we need to socialise with them and make them feel comfortable. We must guage each dog’s temperament,” says Belgamvala. The organisers are on their toes till the party is done and the guests are exhausted “and ready to leave with their tongues hanging out and goodie bags in hand.” Ruff discourages children below 10 from attending the parties and keeps unfriendly dogs away. “The biggest challenge is the safety of dogs. During the parties when a new dog enters, we are uncertain of its behaviour,” says Lopa. Bigger dogs like labradors, German shepherds and rottwelier are kept on a closer watch. “So far no unpleasant incident has occurred because the brief given to the pet parents is clear and strict. They have to be very specific which dogs they are inviting to the party,” says Lopa. Venue is never a problem, except it may have to be booked a month in advance.