Published: 11th May 2020
This Bengaluru doggie boarding place took care of pets while their owners were stranded during the lockdown
Awanti Agarwala, Founder of Stay speaks about their exclusive boarding home for dogs and how they are taking care of their furry guests while their families are self-quarantining
Recently, when I was scrolling through various Instagram posts, I chanced upon a photo of a dog happily playing with other dogs. Curious, I tried to find out more about this heart-rendering picture and in the process, I discovered that the dog was frolicking in a boarding home called Stay, a dog grooming and boarding home located in the outskirts of Bengaluru. You might be wondering what we found that was so different about it. In this time of need, Team Stay has been taking care of some of these furry guests whose families have been self-quarantining or who are stuck elsewhere during the lockdown.
Stay is the brainchild of Awanti Agarwala who treats her beloved guests with a lot of love and care so that they don't miss home. She says, "There are families who are self-quarantining and have left their dogs with us. There are also families who travelled to other cities or places before the lockdown and are now stuck there so their dogs are continuing to stay with us. Whenever these families leave their dogs at the gate, we remove their collar and leave it at the gate so that the former can pick it up. Then, we take the dogs in, give them a bath and put on a new collar. Once they are bathed, we introduce them to the others. We provide them with a bed and don't take anything from their owner except specific medicines, if any."
Awanti Agarwala has come across all types of dogs and their behaviour
However, Awanti and her team had to face challenges in procuring fresh chicken and even an LPG cylinder to cook food on a daily basis. "Since the meat shops were closed, we had to purchase chicken from various online stores so that it could be delivered at our doorstep. But the price was too high. When we were not able to procure an LPG cylinder, we cooked food back in our own houses and brought it for the dogs. Now, with the relaxation of the lockdown, we are able to get chicken from our regular shop. One of our team members steps out to buy the food with all kinds of safety measures in place," says Awanti who started this organisation with Nita Mahurkar on August 11, 2018.
Awanti, who has been part of various rescue operations with regards to dogs in Bengaluru, says, "Our organisation and our guests have always been close to our heart. Several dogs come here and all their needs are different. We make sure to cater to their needs and make them feel at home. Usually, when people travel for work or go for vacations, they leave their dogs at animal shelters. My co-founder and I felt that this is not the ideal way to take care of dogs as they are kenneled and their movements are restricted. This led us to start our own boarding home for these pets to enjoy and live life king-size."
Dog trainers at work
The dogs who visit Stay are taken care of by a team of dog trainers who are at the boarding home 24x7. They not only feed them but also study their behaviour and keep tabs on their health as well. Awanti explains, "Even before the dogs come over to our place, we have long conversations with their owners so that we can understand their needs, behaviour, medical concerns and so on. Once they arrive, it takes an hour or two to understand them. We have a two-storied house and we let them roam around the place and get comfortable. While the ground floor is used for dogs that are social, the first floor is used for dogs who want their own space and don't interact much with other dogs."
On regular days, Stay has at least 10 to 15 dogs, out of which two or three of them are from regular clients. She explains, "These dogs are super comfortable with any new dog. We have two dogs of our own who stay with us all the time and they are non-reactive, confident and social. We use one of them for introduction purposes. Depending on how the new dog reacts, we introduce them to the other dogs. Sometimes, we end up introducing them only on the second day. There is no individual formula as such, it all depends on the types of dogs that stay here."
Nutritious meal for one and all
Awanti believes that they are responsible for the well-being of all the dogs on their premises, so, she ensures that they get nutritious meals and snacks. She says, "We provide them with two meals and two snacks. They get to eat all kinds of nutritious food as we don't believe in getting processed dog food which has all kinds of preservatives. We feed them rice, chicken, eggs and so on. During the summer, we feed them curd rice and not buttermilk as it often leads to ear infections. We also ensure that they stay indoors. During winters, they like to soak in the sun and we don't restrict them."
At the end of the day, Awanti's team members send updates to the dog owners along with photographs. "When we notice changes in the dog or when they don't eat a meal, we update their owners and take them to a veterinarian. Good or bad, we give all necessary updates to their parents," says Awanti who is hoping that everything gets back to normal soon.