Pet hostels in Thiruvananthapuram lend a helping hand to pet lovers with temporary but convenient shelters
Hima Sebastian had to be away for a week from the city to attend a family function. It was tough as her pet dog, Luka, a Retriever, loves to be around her. “Usually, while travelling, we put Luka up at a friend’s place if it is for a day or two. But this time it was an extended trip,” she says.
Left with few options, Hima thought of looking at “pet hostels” in Thiruvananthapuram. “It was the first time with Luka and we had to be doubly sure about the decision. We zoomed in on one of the pet stays and took Luka there two days before (our trip) to see if he would familiarise himself with the surroundings and the people. Luckily, he looked comfy. It was such a relief,” says Hima.
Pet boardings in the city often come in handy for those looking for a suitable place to temporarily put up their pets in times of need. “Often it is when pet owners face the need to travel or if the household organises any function or event and have visitors. At other times, it may be a death in the family or a hospital situation,” says Parvathy Mohan who runs a pet stay Edaneram at Kudappanakunnu that offers “hostel” facilities for canines, cats and birds. The owners are encouraged to do a “recce” of sorts of the facility first for their own assessment and have an open conversation about the pet’s behavioural patterns and food preferences to ensure the animals feel cosy during the sojourn.
Software engineer Ashish Benson is someone who finds pet boarding quite useful. An avid traveller, he drops his pet dog, Zoey, a Labrador, at a boarding facility whenever he gears up to hit the road. “I feel it is a handy service as long as the dogs are not put in kennels but rather given freedom,” he points out.
Echoing Ashish’s sentiments is Karthikeyan G, dog behaviourist and founder of Hands for Paws, a collective that works towards the welfare of canines. “Dogs need to be given the freedom to do what they ordinarily like to do. They may want to run, play, dig… they must be made to feel comfortable at boardings,” says Karthikeyan, who runs Parental Dog Training and Boarding at Ooruttambalam. He likens the approach to “taking care of a child or perhaps even more.”
Once an owner sends his/her pet to a stay, it is good to keep themselves posted about the animals well-being. “We used to share daily updates on WhatsApp with real-time photos and videos. This way, the clients secure about their pets. Also, it is imperative to create a trustworthy bond between pet boarders and pet owners,” says Arun Chandran who used to run Travancore Pet Stay, Vettamukku, which is now closed owing to the pandemic. A pet lover, Arun from Kozhikode opened the facility when he moved to Thiruvananthapuram for civil services coaching in early 2019.
However, veterinarians recommend certain precautions to be taken to protects the pets’ health. “A primary factor to watch out for is chances of disease contraction. Generally speaking, timely vaccination is a must and protects the animals to a great extent against a plethora of preventable contagious diseases. Also take boosters on time and go for de-worming for endoparasites. If any skin infections are there, treat them first,” says Dr. Jacob Alexander, Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Thiruvananthapuram Zoo.
It is also good if the canines are socialised and Dr. Jacob points out that there are socialisation programmes available. “If the stay is planned in advance, you can condition your pet. Also, apprise the boarding team of the general management regime of your pet and food preferences, including any allergies, so that it is followed to help the animal feel homely about the new place,” he adds.