Paws and their stars

Ashok K Banker

How does a writer express his pooch love? Well, it has to be emotional, loving and from the heart…here, reputed mythology writer Ashok K Banker shares his pooch love. Excerpts.

Ashok K Banker with Willow

Willow is my boss lady. She knows when I’m writing and waits me out patiently (with a few impatient interruptions!). But when I’m home and free she knows it at once and demands attention. I work from home except for meetings and travels and she is so used to me being around most of the time that she can’t stand me being away for a whole day…,” says the talented author Ashok Banker. Before you think who Willow is…he adds, “She barks and scolds me terribly if I come back late. But if I’m away on a trip (she knows because she sees me take a carry-bag or suitcase) then she lathers me with love when I come back.”

Yes, Willow is the beautiful Basset Hound in the life of Ashok, an internationally acclaimed author of mixed-race based in Mumbai. His Epic India Library is a lifetime writing plan that aims to retell all the major myths, legends and history of the Indian sub-continent in an interlinked cycle of over 100 volumes. This includes the Ramayana Series, Krishna Coriolis, the Mahabharata Series, the contemporary Kali Rising thriller series and other works. His books have sold over 1.85 million copies in 13 languages and 58 countries worldwide. No wonder he is credited with the resurgence of mythology in Indian publishing.

Pooch love…

And the tale of Ashok’s pooch love is also interesting to share. “Oh, I’m a born animal, bird and nature lover. How can anyone not be? We are just two-legged animals too after all. We share this world, we don’t own it. We are all siblings traveling on this great Ark called Earth and we should respect and love our fellow travelers. It’s not just selfless love either. This entire planet’s eco-system is based on loving one another. Only by co-existing symbiotically can all our myriad species prosper and proliferate and keep the planet flourishing. As for dogs, someone once said – Dogs are human beings at their best. That is so true. They are such beautiful lovely creatures,” he shares.

First pet…

“When I was a boy I had a Cocker Spaniel named Tippu who died before he became a year old. It broke my heart and I never owned a pet afterwards. But during the brief time that Tippu was in my life, it was wonderful. As an only child raised by a single mother who was often away for weeks or even months on end, it was great to have a companion who was loyal to me to a fault, played games all day without tiring, and followed everywhere I went. I miss him even today, the little fellow. He got tick fever and had to be put down as he was suffering terribly but I cried and didn’t want to let him go,” he shares sadly.

Another pet…decades later…

“Once I was married, my wife disliked animals so refused to have one in the house. It was only when our son and daughter were in their late teens and pleaded with her for one that I chipped in and convinced her. That was how Willow came into our lives. She’s a pure-breed Basset Hound with a strong genealogy going back several generations but by some genetic quirk her litter inherited more Hound qualities than Beagle or Dachshund (those are the three breeds who were interbred by the French aristocracy in medieval times to create the Basset Hound for hunting). We don’t really care about breeding. We love strays equally. But Willow has a beautiful red coat and gets many admiring looks and compliments from other pet parents. She is not just a part of the family, she is like the matriarch! She bosses over all of us, especially me. And we love it,” he shares with a twinkle in his eyes.

On asking about who Willow loves most, Ashok replies, “She’s closest to me because I have always been her primary care-giver. I’ve stayed up all night sleeping by her side when she was sick, no matter how messy it was, and I am as loyal as a dog to her. She, on the other hand, being a Basset Hound is notoriously stubborn and snobbish and rarely comes when called – a Basset only catches a ball if it’s coming towards her, doesn’t like to chase it! It’s always a challenge to keep her exercising because they tend to get very lazy and fat but it’s good for me too and I enjoy it. Even at six years old, she is one of the most active and playful Basset Hounds.”

And that’s not all, Ashok keeps watching on Willow’s health, exercise, diet but his wife oversees her feeding and nutrition now because she’s a very fussy eater. “My wife, daughter and I take turns brushing, grooming her but I always bathe her and keep her free of ticks or infections and mostly it’s I who take her to the clinic for nail clipping, checkups, shots or health related visits,” he adds.

Spending time with Willow…

“I probably spend too much time with her! That’s one of the upsides of being an author, self-employed, and working from home. She loves going down by the stairs – all 20 floors of them right to the lower basement of the building, then sniffing around the parking basement, walking up to the garden, doing her thing, maybe playing with a ball. Then we go for a drive, I drive, she in the shotgun seat, looking out the window, cruising slowly so she can ogle the hunky dogs – she has a fondness for young muscular yellow Labs and literally collapses at their feet if she encounters one. We stop to socialise sometimes with other dogs but she mostly prefers to just cruise. We have a favourite route I’ve been driving since she was a puppy and she knows it by heart and always turns to lick me ‘thank you’ when we take the last turn towards home. At home, after she eats, she likes me to throw an empty plastic bottle around while she chases it. She tries to catch it and bite the cap off and I have to take it away before she can catch it. Then she gets a treat or two and settles down,” tells Ashok.

Crazy antics…

“Bassets are pretty sedate but when she was younger she used to have this tendency to go diving into any water body she saw. She jumped into puddles, potholes, a swimming pool at a resort once! The swampy pond on the Lokhandwala Back Road. The ocean of course but that’s different,” he adds playfully.

What Willow likes…

“I’m always there for her. I never pass the buck or hand her off to anyone. I’ve avoided long trips because of her for years. I have never kenelled her or left her with anyone else. I don’t believe in punishment training; only in positive reinforcement. I trained her using love,

making her realise that behaving well would please me and make me happy,” he quips in.

On vacations…

Ashok has taken Willow on vacations for a few times but he laments that good pet friendly resorts are so hard to find. “She gets a bit tired of long drives as she’s getting older but when she was young she loved them. One time we all five went to a resort (me, wife, son, daughter and Willow) and there was a small pool there that was not meant for pets of course,” he remembers.

On responsible pet parenting…

“Your pet is as much your child as your two-legged children. Treat them the same way: with love and respect. They will always reward you with more than you give. Dogs yield the highest return on investment of love you will ever make!” concludes Ashok Banker.

Shiv Khera

Shiv Khera

Shiv Khera, author of the bestseller You Can Win, is a well-known personality. But there’s much more to know and explore about his multifaceted personality. Writer, author, motivational speaker, educationist and above all, a great animal lover… yes, he just loves our furry four-legged friends as much as we do! Here’s more about his unflinching faith in pet companionship and ways to be a better pet parent.

Dog lover…always!

Shiv Khera

Shiv Khera

A man of wisdom – Shiv Khera’s love for pooches is not just a few years old, it has been always there! On asking about his first pet dog, he smiled and replied, “For this I have to go back almost 50 years ago. When I was in my school, I was very fond of animals. I was good in sports and I used to play polo. That was the time when my love for animals started. And at one point of time I even had seven pet dogs.” Today, he’s a proud pet parent of six wonderful canine champs – four Rottweilers and two Pugs. He just loves to see them playing and wandering all around.

For my eternal buddy!

Out of so many pets are there some special ones and he added, “All my pets are like my kids…so I cannot pick any one as my favourite…they all were and are my sweethearts. But there are some incidents, which leave their mark and remain fresh in our minds. In 1967, I had an accident and I was bed-ridden for some days. During that time, my pet dog was always under my bed. He was always an alert guard, trying to protect me 24×7. Nobody dared to come near me. I still fondly remember him… he was a great companion.”

Basic instincts…

His understanding for human behaviour is known to everyone….but he’s equally concerned about doggy’s behavioural reactions as well and he shared one such story, “My female Rottweiler got paralysed and she didn’t like anybody come close to her. She lost appetite, which made me more concerned. One day, while I was trying to pull her out from her kennel, she snapped at my hand. And just after that I saw tears in her eyes. Now, what we need to understand is that it’s not her mistake; she was in deep pain, so it was a natural reflex action. Even a kid would have shown the same reaction. This is the reason doctors ask to hold kids’ hands, while giving them injection. I later realised that it was my mistake, I should have first put a net on her mouth and then pulled her out as she was in severe pain.”

Envy – by product of love

Since Shiv has multiple dogs at his house, jealousy or shall we say sibling rivalry is obvious. “Once I had two pet dogs, a Mastiff and a Bhutia… and I was petting them both. After some time, they both started showing little aggression as they needed undivided attention. I tried to separate them and my hand got hurt. Here lies the importance of training. It’s a moral responsibility of a pet parent to train dogs properly. Once trained, a dog will never be ill-tempered. A hungry untrained dog…especially big breed can cause huge damage,” he shared.

A word of wisdom

So, having numerous pets and all are well-behaved and disciplined, is there any secret and he replied it’s just training. Temperament needs to be conditioned and it has to be done while growing up – this is his mantra for dog training. He further added, “While my pets are growing up, I do all the feeding myself and that is very important because they need to know who the master is. Moreover, all sorts of training start before meals as it is the best time to train. I initially fed my dogs with hands because of the simple reason that I can put my hand inside their food otherwise they will never allow me to interfere while they are eating. I will ask them to stop, they will do that and once I will ask them to start, they will start. Dogs have to understand who the master is.”

Wonders of pooch world!

“I love my pooches and they love me unconditionally…they are emotional too. Every day, when I go home and my car enters…there’s a bedlam in my home. They will keep barking, shouting and hauling until they get desired petting. Once petted, they all are calm and cool…and they look so sweet being calm after a spell of a noisy session,” told Shiv.

Being human!

Like us, he also discards leash. All tails up for Mr Khera. He feels to tie a dog is bad, it can be emotionally disturbing for pets as well as the pet parent and added, “We have to be fair to the pet. It’s inhuman to just keep pets tied to a leash…it’s not good…it’s a cruelty to soul.”

Message to readers

Shiv really feels bad about dogs’ abandonment, especially when they grow old. “A dog is a friend for life; he has given all his love to us and he remains faithful throughout his life. So, it’s socially and emotionally disturbing to abandon old dogs. Never get a pet, if you cannot take care of him. To conclude, I just want to give a simple message


Favourite activity: I always carry biscuits and chew sticks, while training and rewarding them is the best thing.
Annoying activity: When I go home, all my pets and grandchildren, jump on me altogether….it’s annoying at times.
Treasured moments: The time spent, with my pets, at my farm are the most precious moments for me.
Best quality: Doggies’ ability to understand and feel your pain and emotions is a wonderful quality.

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli

A successful, dynamic and good looking cricketer naturally becomes a youth icon and if he’s a compassionate animal lover too, we will take no time to sniff him out. Meet Virat Kohli, who’s known for his immense courage and firehouse passion. His personality transcends through to his game which is level headed yet attacking. And when he’s not running for runs…he loves to run around with Bruno, his pet pooch. Read on to know more about Virat’s doggy delights.

With a penchant for rising to the occasion and meeting expectations, Virat Kohli never appears to buckle under pressure and it is this trait, amongst many others, that allowed him to lead the Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2008 team all the way to victory…and since then there’s no looking back. He’s one of the leading team members of the Indian cricket team. Besides cricket, the other thing that he has enjoyed since childhood is pet companionship. Here’s more on his pooch love.

First affair!

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli

On asking about his first pet, Virat fondly replied, “Since childhood I always had a pet. My first pet was a white Pomeranian and both me and my brother were very fond of her. After that, we had a golden Labrador Retriever named Rico. Today, I am blessed with Bruno, a Beagle.” On asking about his favourite pet, Virat replied diplomatically, “I am equally fond of all my pets; they all are so special to me in their own ways. It was great fun to be with all of them.”

Poochie moments!

Reminiscing the precious moments spent with his pets, Virat added, “I loved to throw a ball to Rico and watch him fetch…we could play together for hours. It was a wonderful camaraderie. And Bruno, my three-year-old Beagle, is an extremely friendly dog. He is a power house of energy, always buzzing with activities.”

Bruno’s special antic is an instant reliever to him, after a long and tiring cricketing season in fields, “When I come back home after a match, or a tour, Bruno is the first one to greet me and jump all over me. He is truly a bundle of joy.”

Time out!

According to Virat, they are the most loyal and loving companions that a person can have and he makes sure to spend quality time with them. On asking how he spends time with his furry angel, he replied, “I take him out for walks and runs whenever I can. I love spoiling him with treats occasionally. And I also take him out on weekend trips. Once, we took our pet with us up on a drive to Mussoorie, and he loved the wind on his face!

He had his head out of the window for most of the drive. There are many more memorable moments together.”

Fun ‘n’ food!

Being a sportsperson, one needs to be extra careful about diet and nutritional requirements and Virat is equally concerned about his pet’s needs as well. “Bruno is fed the best dog food in the market, supplemented by home-cooked food with paneer and vegetables. I make sure that he goes for three walks a day. He is not a fussy eater; in fact, he eats everything that you give him!”

Pawfect pet parent!

On a concluding note, Virat shared, “Pet parents should be responsible towards their pets’ needs. They should feed their pets on time. Grooming pets everyday is essential for their good health. Besides, regular checkups at the vet will ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy. So, be a perfect pet parent to the more-than-perfect pooch.”


Favourite activity together: Walks!
Qualities you love in your pooch: Very loving and friendly.
Funny/crazy antics: Chasing his tail!
Special treat: A drive with the windows rolled half-way down, so he can feel the breeze.

Brett Lee

Brett Lee

Former Australian pacer Brett Lee is recognised for 310 wickets in 76 tests and 380 wickets in 221 one day matches. One of the fastest bowlers in the world, Brett is himself bowled over by pet love. Brett is widely acclaimed for his regular bowling speed of 150 km/h and above. His fastest delivery was 161.4 km/h. Soon, he would be seen in action at the upcoming IPL 2013. Here, Brett shares more about his pooch love.

D&P: Describe your journey as a cricketer.

Brett Lee: A lot of fun but also a lot of hard work. I love meeting people, challenging myself and representing my country.

D&P: Tell us how the fastest bowler was bowled with the pet love.

Brett Lee

Brett Lee

Brett Lee: I have always loved animals. Growing up a few hours out of Sydney, I have been able to have pets from a young age. My first pet was a bird I got when I was seven. I convinced dad to build me an aviary where I raised a number of birds over time.

Pets take my mind off the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I am calm when I am with animals. In fact, I have been surrounded by animals all my life. I enjoy farm life and now own a farm in the Southern Highlands of NSW. I even had a dog but with all my travels for cricket, I realised it wasn’t fair on the dog. It quickly became clear that spending 300 days a year away from home is not fair on any pet. When you have love for a pet, you have to put his well-being first. So, I gave the pet to friends a few years back. I had to do what was right for my dog. I know when I finish up my cricket I will have a few more four-legged friends to look after! At that time, to and from the farm would be an ideal break for both me and my dog.

D&P: What is your favourite pastime?

Brett Lee: Spending time with kids and pets. Children love animals and watching kids playing with animals is a lovely experience.

D&P: In your opinion, how is to be blessed with a pooch?

Brett Lee: I think humans love animals because they are loyal. I think this is a great feeling and I am sure they have a bond just like we do. Dogs know when you are sad and stay by your side. They also know when you are happy! I think this is what makes ‘pet love’.

D&P: Any funny/crazy antic you would like to share about your pet?

Brett Lee: There is an Australian movie called Babe. It is about a pig who can talk to other animals. It was quite successful in both Australia and the US. I am credited as one of the ‘pig handlers’ in the movie credits!! I told you I grew up with animals.

D&P: Any message you would like to give to your readers?

Brett Lee: If you get a pet, treat him the way he should be treated. Feed him the appropriate food, not human food (as we don’t eat dog food!) but give him the right nutritional balance that comes from Pedigree. Spend time with him and treat him with ‘pet love’.

D&P: The countdown for IPL 2013 has started. What can the cricket fans expect from IPL at large and Brett Lee in particular?

Brett Lee: I am really looking forward to IPL. I love the Kolkata Knight Riders family and want to do well for all of them.

Gauhar Khan

Gauhar Khan

Our beloved pooches always know how to steal a heart…. Here’s more on Gauhar Khan’s love for her pet. Gauhar Khan rose to fame when she won the 2002 Femina Miss India International title. She has been a popular VJ, model and an actor. Host to TV channel Zoom’s popular show Page 3, Gauhar has also been a part of reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa and of course acted in various movies like Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, etc.

But there’s more to this beautiful lady… Gauhar Khan is a pooch person. She is often seen going for morning jogs with her pooch Keemo. Well, Gauhar loves pampering her dog and here’s more on the bond they share.

Home is where the pooch is…

After a hard day’s work nothing feels better than coming home to Keemo, so says the beauty. “I love going for morning jogs with my pet dog. We usually play with Frisbee once we’re done with our morning jog,” adds Gauhar.

Bonding time…

“It’s important to take time out to spend with your pet. There was a time when I didn’t see Keemo for weeks altogether and that made it really difficult,” says the pretty damsel. “Pets need to be constantly reassured with love.”

Vacation and pets…

Gauhar Khan

Gauhar Khan

Gauhar usually doesn’t take her dog out for a long vacation since it gets very difficult for the pet to adjust to a new environment, but whenever she goes out with her friends for a quick getaway over the weekend she always takes him along. As she puts it, “It’s all the more difficult to take your pet along for a vacation or a destination with extreme climatic variation. So, I prefer not to take Keemo out on such vacations.”

Pooches and food…

Being a dog lover means being responsible; you need to maintain a steady schedule of the pet’s daily routine. Gauhar ensures her dog is well nourished and well fed. His staple diet usually consists of homemade food and Pedigree. “He loves different chew sticks that are different flavours of available,” adds Gauhar.

“Dogs should not be fed sweets but whenever I take Keemo to his friends’ birthday parties I let him feed on some yummy treats – which are good for him,” says the doting pet parent Gauhar.

Gauhar’s grooming tips…

Gauhar keeps Keemo well-groomed and she shares, “Firstly the shampoo should be specific for the pet you are bathing and low foaming so that it rinses away easily and does not strip nutrients from the coat. Also, make sure you use a washcloth to wet your pet’s face. We should only bathe dogs when they need it – once a month is fine for most dogs. Never use cat shampoo on dogs; read the label on pet shampoo beforehand to make sure it’s for your pet’s age and breed. Also, never use human shampoo. It is a different pH level, start brushing your pets when they are young or when you first adopt them. Both dogs and cats love routine, as it makes them feel safe. Be careful while brushing and do it gently!”


  • Favourite activity together: Playing with a Frisbee.
  • Annoying habits: Playing in the mud, it’s a hassle to clean Keemo’s nails after the play.
  • Qualities you love: When Keemo licks me on my face in the morning to wake me up.
  • Funny/crazy antics: When Keemo gets too excited, he runs around in circles chasing his own tail.

Mallika Sarabhai

Mallika Sarabhai – a synonym of woman power – is a multifaceted personality… a dancer, choreographer, publisher, activist, writer, actor… and above all a compassionate animal lover. But ask her and she always tends to call herself a communicator. Here’s more about her concern about care for all living beings … especially the tailwaggers.

Mallika SarabhaiMallika, daughter of reputed dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai and renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai, is indeed an extraordinary confluence of art and science. She is one of India’s leading choreographers and dancers. She holds a PhD in organisational behaviour and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM); she has also been the co-director of the prestigious arts institution, Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, for nearly 30 years. At the same time she also got recognised as an exceptional young dancer in the classical forms of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. She has been conferred with Padma Bhushan (2010), third highest civilian award in India, besides numerous prestigious awards and honours.

Coochie-poochie love…
Despite her busy and buzzing life, she loves to spend time with her poochie pals. And she doesn’t want to limit her love to one…she has around 10 dogs at home and she feels equally compassionate for all four-legged furry angels. Mallika was always surrounded with pets. “I used to have Siamese cats. My father gave me what he thought was a pair of males. But they weren’t. By the time I was 10, we had 21! I used to name them after my favourite musical heroines like Eliza from My Fair Lady and so on. And we also had a dog named Sparku, officially my father’s. But they were all great friends,” she shared. Over the years, she had innumerable pets. “I switched to dogs after many years of having none. I have nine at the moment,” she added.

Unforgettable memories…
So having so many pets, is there any favourites and she replied, “Of course. There are those with whom you have a special bonding. My first Dachshund, Freddy Bark named after Frederik Bach, was like that. He would stay at my daughter’s pillow for hours. And he would inform my mother when I was at the crossroads on my way home from the office. Then, I had a gorgeous and super intelligent German Shepherd called Anna who we tragically lost to leukemia last year. I felt so bad to lose them but they are so much a part of me that unlike others who don’t keep them for fear of loss, I can’t think of a time without them.” Anybody can see the joy in her eyes when she discusses about her pets and she has many anecdotes to share. “I have a Lab called Panchali. She and her siblings Kana and Uttara often go to my organic farm. Once, the driver stopped to pay a bill and left them in the car with a window slightly open. When he got to the farm, Panchali was missing. When the driver retraced his steps, he found her sitting at the place where he paid the bill, as though waiting for a lift!”

More memories to cherish…
“My German Shepherd Socrates desperately wants to talk to me and to describe his day. He has long conversations of great musical and tonal merit. But after a point he gets frustrated that he can’t say more. And then he tries to hide under my arm as though he were a puppy. And he is so BIG,” shares Mallika with a twinkle in her eyes. Another one, she went on, “Labs love the water. Alsatians don’t. But going to the farm, Anna used to watch Maya and others jump into the pool. One day, she gently went paw deep into the water. Over the next few visits, when she thought none of us were looking, she went more and more into the water until she was completely in. And we continued to pretend that we hadn’t seen her go into the water, for which self respecting Alsatian would.”

“Some of my pooches are with me all the time, whether I am rehearsing, doing yoga or working in the office. They are my entourage so I am always crawling all over them. This is not a happy place for people who are afraid of dogs or don’t like them. Several sleep in my room, in my bed, or occupy my favourite chairs. Basically they are all over me all the time when I am here. And as I work and live in the same place, it is easy. They are lovely and I have long conversations with them,” tells Mallika as a matter of fact. Mallika loves everything about her dogs. Their presence is a must so that she can bury her face in them when she wants. And she feels they also love her and adds, “My abject slavishness to them is what they love most about me. So, they never make me feel lonely.”

Foodie facts…
She takes good care of her dogs and is indeed a caring mom to them, “All my dogs are vegetarians and they love to gorge on eggs and good cheese. And I love to cook for them. They just wait eagerly for eggs cooked by me for their Sunday breakfast at the farm.”

Message for readers…
“Love them and look after them as your beloved children. They depend on you and trust you. Don’t ever break that trust,” concludes Mallika.

Deepak Tijori

024Most of us remember Deepak Tijori for his vibrant and friendly performances in Bollywood flicks like Aashiqui or Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar. This talented actor is now well-known for his cinematic skills; he is wonderful in every role – be it actor, director or producer. Here Dogs & Pups brings other lesser known facets of his personality…an avid animal lover and a proud pooch parent.

Deepak Tijori started his acting career with a small role in Krodh and gradually he became a famed supporting actor of Bollywood with memorable performances in superhit movies including Aashiqui, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Anjaam and Baadshah. He has acted in 35 films. He then moved into directing too.

Growing with a doggy…

That’s not all about Deepak Tijori. In conversation with him, we discovered more about his love for animals. “Actually, my mom had a pet dog, and so I was introduced to pets by her,” he said.

His life must be great… growing with pooch pals, to which he replied, “Yes it was, but once I lost my first pet, I was averse to having another pet, since it hurts to lose someone so close, and specially when the pet becomes a part of your life. So I dropped the idea once I lost my first pet Niki!”

Always a dog lover…

As they say once a dog lover always a dog lover. The credit for this positive change goes to his loving wife Shivani, who’s also a great pooch lover. “Shivani had a pet dog, when she was in Delhi, but once we were married, we didn’t have a pet until our daughter Samara was growing. It was then that we thought pets would be the best sibling experience a single child could have, and so we got our first pet Frazer (male Basset Hound). And today we have two pets, both Bassets – Frazer (male) and Muffin (female),” he shared.

All are best…

Who’s the best of all… and here comes a diplomatically correct answer, “Pets per se are favourites. I never really bothered about any particular breed or any particular animal as a pet. I know friends who have cats, and small tortoise, etc. I think a pet becomes a family member no sooner he/she arrives into your life,” he shared.

Everyday’s PAWfect…

Life is wonderful being a pet parent, as he explained, “Frazer and Muffin are our kids, and I guess waking up with them, and holding them to sleep are special moments that we share daily. And there are so many beautiful experiences that we have everyday like when Frazer crawls, or he is asked to shut the door (he does it so well) or when he wants food, he gets on his two legs…and many more loving antics.” Sharing more about the qualities of his pet, Deepak remarked, “Their understanding towards the members and strangers, their emotional attachment towards all of us, and their want of sharing emotions – all are truly amazing but the best is that they always want to be with the family, and not just laze around on their own.”

“And Frazer just loves me to keep soothing and pampering his paw, while he lazes under my chair or on bed with me. He falls asleep once I start pampering his paw,” he added.

Thought for food…

On asking about pet’s exercise and nutrition needs, or who looks after them, he gave an instant reply, “They do their regular walks, and run in the compound and their nutrition is well balanced. Strangely Frazer and Muffin, unlike other pet dogs, eat so many things that surprises us, like they would eat fruits with me, be it a water melon, melons, apple, papaya, etc. and also some salad which I eat, post my workouts. Food is what Frazer and Muffin are perpetually hungry for – they love it all.”

Precious paws…

On asking about a special treat for their dogs, Deepak replied, “I guess a get-together in the house is a treat for them, since that day, not just us, but even our guests are feeding them all kinds of food.”

“We also take them out for vacations. When we travel to beach resorts around Mumbai, like Gorai islands, or when we travel through a small ferry to go across, they accompany us. Once out, they run on an open beach with the white dry sand. And this really makes Frazer and Muffin life worth living, I feel,” he added. On a concluding note, he has just a one liner, “Pets are family, so keep them as members of the family.”

Shallu Jindal

018Shallu Jindal, a multifaceted personality is full of life always…a dancer, social worker, an avid lover of art, author, and above all a compassionate pooch pal, she plays diverse roles with aplomb. When we tried to explore her canine connections more… she brimmed with unconditional love for her pooch – Chester.

Donning many hats

New Delhi-based Shallu Jindal is a multi-talented and well-known personality. She has authored an impressive book titled Tiranga: A Celebration of the National Flag. She was also awarded the coveted ‘Indira Gandhi Priyadarshani Award 2007’ for her achievements in the field of Indian classical dance ‘Kuchipudi’ and her contributions in the field of art, culture, education and community development.

As the vice president of the Flag Foundation of India, the president of Openspace Jindal Foundation for Development, programme committee chairperson of Yuva Samagam, she has been promoting various art forms and welfare, development programme in India and abroad. She is also the founder president of the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation (YFLO). She is married to Naveen Jindal, one of the most articulate young Lok Sabha members and a leading steel baron.

Drawing her inspiration from icons like Winston Churchill and Ramakrishna Paramhans, she spends a significant part of her time working on connected issues like women empowerment, education, sanitation and water. And she has been contributing positively to animal welfare as well.

Once a dog lover…
always a dog lover

Like most of us, Shallu also feels that pooch love is contagious…it spreads really fast. That is the reason she always had a pet throughout her life and she fondly remembers her first pet, “My first pet was a white Pomeranian – Lucy. She introduced me to this wonderful world of doggy delights. And till now I have three pets with whom I have numerous memories of love and companionship.”

East or west…Tipsy’s the best

A pet companion brightens up our lives…there are always moments which are close to our hearts. “My Lhasa Apso pet called Tipsy is my best pooch pal. I like her the most. There are many special incidents which make me smile even today. She used to wait for me night and day and follow me around the house or in the garden. In fact, she even slept with me,” adds Shallu smiling.

One special antic, which she fondly remembers and cherishes, is worth a mention. “When I used to give a treat to a dog, she would go crazy trying to get it from me,” she adds.

Sharing and caring…together

These days, Shallu is sharing her furry bond with Chester – a Shih Tzu and feels lucky to have such a wonderful furry angel. So, what’s her favourite pastime with him, “We both go for a walk in Lodi Garden and for Polo. And we both love each other’s companionship.”

“I simply love his loyalty; I feel all dogs are truly a man’s best friend, and we are lucky to be blessed with their love. We both form a mutual admiration club, as he also loves me a lot. Chester really loves my presence and being with me – he is really happy when I cuddle and tickle him.”

Hurray! Hurray!
It’s a holy holiday

Shallu is a wonderful pooch parent and she never misses a chance to take her pets on a vacation. And she loves all such memorable experiences, it is like a yearly ritual for them and she explains, “Yes, I do take Chester to vacations but only within India. We also took our dog Chester to Hissar in Haryana for Diwali. He even joined us in the Diwali puja. When we take him out with us, he just loves it.”

Food for furs…

Being a responsible pooch parent, she takes good care of her pet’s exercise and nutrition needs. And she shares, “I keep consulting with his vet on a regular basis for a well-balanced nutritional diet and of course for any health problems.”

Message to pet parents…

“I believe the most important thing is to love your pet like your own child. That’s what I do and everything else follows,” she concludes.

Kelly Dorjee

Kelly DorjeeA model, an actor and a dog-lover… that’s what describes actor Kelly Dorjee, who won many a heart through the Gladrags Manhunt Contest. Here’s more on his pooch love.

Kelly Dorjee, a Bhutanese actor, studied at St Paul’s School, Darjeeling and later St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Kelly got his break into the mainstream through the Gladrags Manhunt Contest. He has acted in various Bollywood movies like Tango Charlie, Fareb, Chocolate, etc and a few Telugu movies as well. A dog lover, Kelly is blessed with a police-trained dog Dungkar. Here’s more on his pet love.

Pets…all along the life…golden r

“I have been surrounded by pets all my life…. At one point we had 16 dogs loafing around our compound…yet my first pet was actually a horse!”, tells Kelly as a matter of fact. But his favourite ones included Dingo – the first Golden Retriever he owned. Kelly also specially remembers, “Dollar the Dalmatian who smiled, Snowy my cat whom I really miss till today. But I would specially mention the dude who guards me every day for these past two years. He is an Alsatian named Dungkar,” he adds.

Special moments…

“Every moment is special with your pets. Sometimes, I get angry with them but regretted it later because they are so pure, innocent and instinctive,” tells Kelly smiling.

Crazy antic…

“I particularly remember Dollar the Dalmatian, who would fart and look at you like you had done it! Then, Dingo had the uncanny knack of bringing home a different female dog every week all throughout the year! He was actually a stud!,” he laughs.

Spending time with Dungkar…

“Dungkar is a loafer who loves to play fetch with his tennis ball. We take an eight km walk or run every morning so he is fit….and he loves playing around with the neighbours’ dogs…. But the moment I show up, he growls at them to make it look like he is doing his job! After I leave, he is back to frolicking with them,” tells amused Kelly.

What he loves about Dungkar…

“Dungkar is police trained and a very sensitive dog….yet he is aggressive if commanded. What I love about him most is his calm demeanor and loving patience around the kids at home,” tells Kelly.

What Dungkar likes about Kelly…

“He loves that I like to play fetch with him and I think he really loves the random treats he gets…,” tells Kelly with a twinkle in his eyes.

Vacationing with pets…

“When we were staying in India, we take our pets to Goa and Corbett Tiger Reserve. But in Bhutan, where I now live, life is a vacation so the pets are happy,” tells Kelly.

Taking care of Dungkar…

“Dungkar is a low-maintenance dog! An egg every other morning to shine his coat up and a hose down occasionally…. But brushing is important…other dogs see the roughness in him and fear him a little,” jokes Kelly.

On responsible pet parenting…

“Unless you are competing, don’t overdo it. Watch out for ticks and don’t ignore behaviour changes…it could mean they are sick!” concludes the responsible pet parent Kelly Dorjee.


  • Favourite activities together: Fetch and goal keeper.
  • Annoying habits: Dungkar is perfect!
  • Qualities you love: Calm, I don’t need to speak much to him…he is so intuitive and is always doing the right thing.
  • Funny antics: He is a loafer who pretends to be doing his job when I show up.

Amaan Ali Khan

A young talent of the 7th generation in an unbroken chain of the Senia Bangash School, Amaan Ali Khan is the elder son and disciple of sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and grandson of Haafiz Ali Khan. Initiated into the fine art of sarod playing at a very tender age, Amaan began his public performances as early as eight. He has been performing concerts worldwide ever since and has won the hearts of music lovers both in India and around the globe. Here’s something more about this talented youth – his pooch love!

Accompanying his father to various music festivals in India and abroad, Amaan Ali Khan has today carved out a niche for himself. His performances have evoked creditable applause. His precision in tunefulness and his bold and resonant strokes are all pointers to importance of tradition and continuity in Indian classical music.

Awards and accolades came his way early in life yet Amaan steadfastly pursued his family’s inheritance and legacy. He was conferred with the Provogue Society’s Young Achievers Award for performing Arts in 2002. He has also co-authored a book with his brother Ayaan titled Abba…God’s Greatest Gift to Us on his father’s life.

The cherished pooches…

Besides music, Amaan loves pooches and just few years back, he had two very cute pet dogs – a Golden Labrador (Dash) and an Alsatian (Brutus), who as Amaan describes, were really naughty and adorable. Amaan shared a very special relationship with his pets. But Amaan regrets not having spent enough time with Brutus as the pet passed away when Amaan was just a child, Amaan has strong memories of Dash.

The ‘Dash’ing pooch…

Dash came home as a three-month-old pup when Amaan was in high school. “He was a small bundle of joy. My little cousin named him ‘Dash’ and everyone obliged the five years olds’ request,” he laughs. As a pup ‘Dash’ was very quiet and meek, but as he grew up Amaan says, “He became quite a prankster.” Since Dash’s training started at a very young age, he grew into an obedient dog.

The heartwarming anecdote…

“Once I had fever and was in bed. I went to my living room and sat on the sofa and slouched against the back, just then Dash came to me and sat next to me… Dash sensed my illness. He came to my side to protect me. Dash was not content to just lie beside me but insisted on having one paw across my legs and his head on my lap. I felt a special bond with Dash from that day onward. Dash didn’t cure or save my life, but he wanted to. He tried,” shares Amaan.

The family bonding…

Dash loved the whole Khan family. He was their mountain, wrestling partner, mischief maker and also their protector. “Large dogs often do not live as long as small dogs. We knew that the day would come when we would have to say goodbye to Dash. The inevitable became more real when he lost his hearing. Sometimes he wandered off and into the lawns and forgot his way home. One day I noticed a small lump on his leg which turned out to be fatal. Finally we had to say goodbye to Dash, but I cherish every moment spent with him and dogs truly are a man’s best friend!” tells Amaan.

Towards pet parenting…

“Basic puppy training is a must if you want your puppy to grow up to be well-mannered, obedient dog and a pleasure to have around. And the first few weeks with your new puppy sets the tone for your whole relationship, so it’s important to get off on the right foot…or paw! The tiny puppy will be an adolescent before you know it, and from there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to full blown adulthood. Those bad habits that seem cute now will be a whole lot more when your pet becomes a full grown dog,” shares Amaan.

On pooch love…

“Some people are cat lovers, some are dog lovers. But regardless of which camp they fall into, most people are simply crazy about their pets. The connections people form with their dogs are often the longest, strongest relationships in their lives. They are our soul mates, our best friends, sometimes even our surrogate children,” concludes Amaan.