Poonam Dhillon

Whenever you think of Poonam Dhillon, you are reminded of the innocent beautiful girl with a lovely smile, the lead actress of Noorie, one of the biggest blockbusters of its time. But, not many of us would be aware that this pretty damsel is an avid dog lover as well.

Poonam DhillonPoonam Dhillon – the Gapoochi Gapoochi Gum Gum girl, instantly won the hearts of millions of Indian cinegoers and still today she manages to steal the show with grace. A naïve lasso of all 16, she was crowned with Miss India title in 1979…and as they say, rest is the history. Her successful stint with bollywood continued till late 80s… and some of her memorable flicks were Noorie, Sohni Mahiwal (1984), Saveray Wali Gaadi (1986) and Naam (1986).

She’s a successful business woman as well. She pioneered the concept of make-up van in Indian tinsel town. Her company “VANITY” is reaping good moolah. She also launched her own website in 2000 and is actively involved with the social causes like drug awareness, AIDS awareness, family planning, organ donation, etc. Like most of the newage woman, she is also enjoying the best of both the worlds’…be it professional or personal. Well! She is blessed with two lovely children – Anmol and Paloma – and one pet kid – Pepper. And she very much enjoys the company of her teenage pals and furry friends. Infact, Poonam has always shared her life with pets, especially dogs.

My first pets…

“I always had pets, mostly dogs since childhood. My fi rst canine friend was a cute black dog called “biscuitie.” I have no idea which breed he was but he was simply adorable!”

My favourite pets…

“Till now, I have shared my life with four dogs and all of them were very special. But, I would like to mention one cutie named “Gypsy” who was a mix breed of Dachshund & Tibetian Spaniel, which made him small yet not bald like a sausage but furry with adorable gorgeous eyes! My current pet “Pepper” is not a pet but like a third child of the family and so is referred to as – my son,” tells Poonam with a twinkle in her eyes.

Lovely anecdote of Pepper…

“ Pepper is extremely intelligent and intuitive. It seems he can actually tell time. He will laze around the house throughout the day but he is always at the gate when it’s time for my daughter Paloma to come back from school. He is very fond of Paloma and wants to be at the door to welcome her everyday.”

Spending time with Pepper…

“Whenever I am home, he is always around. At night, he sits with my daughter until she sleeps and then, comes to my room and sleeps there.”

What I love about Pepper…

“I love his calm and affectionate nature, not to forget his lovely face and loving eyes, ” shares Poonam. We bet nobody can forget Poonam’s lovely smile as well!

What Pepper loves about me…

“Everything… after all I am his MUM. But, yes, he doesn’t like when he gets shouted at. He simply sulks and needs pampering after that.”

Favourite activity together…

“All the stuff my daughter does with him…very noisy but fun,” tells the proud mom.

Funny/crazy antics…

“Jumping on bed…noisily chewing on squeaky toys and taking any stuffed toy to be his own property.”

Any annoying habits…

“Greed…staring longingly at whoever is eating…” she adds with a laugh.

Pepper and vacations…

“Unfortunately, most of our vacations are out of India or by plane and so we just can’t take Pepper along. But, we do take him on local outings. He just loves to travel by road.”

Pepper’s exercise and nutrition needs…

“Even though my house help is well tuned to his needs, but I and my daughter take care that Pepper is fed a well-balanced diet and is well exercised as well,” tells Poonam. That’s like a responsible pet parent, we are proud of you Poonam!

Pepper’s favourite dishes…

“He is an ‘EAT ANYTHING YOU EAT’ dog. His favourite dishes list is endless… chicken, biscuits, dosa, butter toast, burgers, pizza, apples, cucumbers…you name it and he likes it,” tells Poonam laughingly.

His special treat…

“Besides, the above list, birthday cake made for him with less sugar plus Chewy sticks and other doggy treats which my daughter buys regularly for him.”

Tips on responsible ownership…

“Treat him as you would treat your child because when we take him/her away from his/her own mum…we do take on that role,” concludes Poonam. Very right Poonam, dog lovers would defi nitely agree!

Sushma Seth

Social activist, theater, film & television actress, film & play director… these are few of the well-known facets of Sushma Seth’s multi-faceted personality. In tête-à-tête with Smita Mishra of Dogs & Pups, we explored new avatars of this versatile actress – an avid animal lover and a responsible pet parent.

Sushma SethSome remember Sushma Seth as ‘Bari Mummy’ of Dekh Bhai Dekh – a comedy serial, which was a rage of its time, while others love her as ‘Lajjo Kapur’ of Kal Ho Na Ho. Well! D&P would love to introduce her as an avid animal lover, who’s been always owned by a furry-friend. At the same time, it would be unfair, if we miss-out to mention her outstanding performances in movies like Prem Rog, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Tawaif, Chandni, Deewana, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, etc.

In reel life, she showered her tender ‘Mamma love’ on almost every Bollywood star, including Rishi Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Anil Kapoor and Preity Zinta. In real life, she is no different…she’s her grandchildren’s sweetheart; they all just love and adore her. What they inherit from Sushma is to give unconditional love…to all living beings.

For South Delhi residents, Sushma is better known as a social activist, who looks after the well-being of strays in- &-around, her locality. So when did it all started and she went nostalgic and shared, “As a young child, we lived in a joint family with 20 other children and had ample companionship.” A student of Convent of Jesus & Mary, New Delhi, she won a scholarship to study Drama and graduated from Carnegie Melon in the USA. And when she returned from US…it was a never-ending tale of woof delights. “Our family had got Dimpy – a Pekingese. She was the prettiest and most well-mannered dog, anyone can ask for. I still remember, how she used to wait for my father to come back from work and take her out for a walk. She was always at the top of stairs…waiting for him. She was loved and pampered by all of us. We shared 12 long years of pawfect fun and happiness.”

There were more Paw-tales to unfold… and she continued, “After Dimpy, we shared our lives with Bobby – a pariah, but he was nowhere like Dimpy. While, Dimpy was a gentle lady…Bobby was quite a vagabond…he just loved the outdoors.”

Like Mumma…like Son… and daughter too… Sushma’s children Kavi, Divya, Priya, daughter-in-law Geetika, and son-in-law Vikram inherit the same love and compassion for animals. “When Divya was around 7-8 years old, she wanted a pet desperately. On one Christmas Eve, she found a cute little ball of fur with a red bow tied around her neck as a present; she was amazed. Tippy – a Lhasa Terrier, as we called her, filled our lives with fun. Her antics added all the hues of happiness. She was with us for 15 years. And Divya took care of her with all her heart.”

“And once, Priya brought home Peppy – a Lhasa Apso. He was one magnanimous dog, who went through several personality changes and finally became the cynosure of all eyes. And he was with us for 14 years,” she further added.

Having such a cherishing pet-parenthood… all she wanted is to have a doggie home. And now, the grandchildren are moving the baton forward. Presently, she has a fun loving and always charged up Pepper – English Cocker Spaniel at home. Her granddaughter Ananya loves the companionship of her brother and she insisted, “For our family, he’s not a pet, he is our family member and for my parents – Vikram & Priya, Pepper is as special as me.”

Pepper’s day starts with Sushma, she is the first one, who takes him out for the morning walks. This is the most unadulterated moment they both share together. And the unconditional love that she gets in return is unmatched. “The love and loyalty of these mute-creatures is unbelievable. They understand our moods better than our best human companions. They express love, happiness, sorrow, anger…in fact all possible human emotions. Our furry-angels never hold a grudge, they are always loving… unconditionally,” she added.

“Our favourite activity together is sleeping,” said Tarika, Nainika and Ananya…they all just love to sleep with their pets. And Tarika, Sushma’s grand daughter shared, “All our pets just have same three bed rules and it says – Bed is mine, Quilt is mine and Pillow is mine.” And here comes another one, “You know at night, we keep falling off the bed as Oreo – a Cocker Spaniel thinks he owns it all. But we love it,” added Tarika’s little sister, Nainika.

Between so much affection and bonding, is there any annoying habit… unexpectedly we did get some interesting answers as well. “Pepper refuses to allow sweepers to clean the floor. He picks up the duster and sits on it…possessively,” said Sushma. And the young ones didn’t miss to make their point as well. “He just loves rubber bands and every time, he see one on our hair, he will just snatch it…like he just did,” Tarika explained showing her open braid…with missing rubber band of course. And Pepper was busy playing with it.

Now our readers can easily anticipate that there’s no end to Seth-Canine bonding…but on a concluding note, Sushma poured her heart out about the miserable condition of pets in particular and pariahs in general, and said, “People keep pets, but in some cases they are being looked after by the house-help or watchman, who sometimes treat them badly. So, to have a pet…one has to understand the meaning of a pet, he’s like a child, we ourselves have to take care of all his basic needs and emotional requirements.”

Like a pawfect pooch lover, she didn’t forget to appeal and added, “In Delhi winters, it becomes very difficult for the pariahs to survive and for newborn pups and their mother, it’s an ordeal. So next time, you hear any groans or whining, don’t just ignore them. Give them warmth and love…. by providing them with old jackets and sweaters.” And canine lovers would certainly nod their heads in agreement.

Malini Ramani

When you think of Indian fashion designers, one name that always charts the list is the lovely Malini Ramani, who dares to put her joie de vivre firmly on the style radar. She has always believed in breaking away from the obvious and adding a dash of cheer to the mundane. Little wonder then that her ensembles are always original, bursting with zest in a happy medley of colours, cuts and cascades of shimmer. While fashion is her obvious passion, but she is equally passionate about her pair of pooches – the style diva Vita and the beautiful Tango.

Malini RamaniThe gorgeous Malini Ramani has traversed the bohemian pursuit of creativity in every possible sphere and every experience has left an indelible stamp on Malini’s style evolution, be it stints with the radio and television, trotting on the ramp, managing nightclubs, penning gossip columns, relationships or spirituality. But, her creative mind gave wings to her imagination in the fashion industry and she debuted at the first ever India Fashion Week in 2000, fusing Indian elements into western styling. This marked the birth of the Indian designer Malini Ramani and her design anthology – Rock Star Meets Indian Princess! Since then, Malini continues to translate her distinctive aplomb into resortwear and lines with an unwavering philosophy of never creating what she personally would not wear. In 2002, she also extended her creativity to a restaurant ‘Congo’ in Goa, which listed as one of the best nightspots in the world, by Conde Nast’s Traveller magazine (2004).

The ‘Malini Ramani’ label is currently retailed from her four flagship stores in New Delhi, Goa, and also has presence all over the country through leading stores like Ensemble in Mumbai, Ogaan in New Delhi, Kimaya and Sagar in Mumbai, Sosas in Goa and Evolutione in Chennai and Bangalore. Internationally the label is available in Cape Town, Dubai, Hong Kong, Monte Carlo, New York, Toronto, Moscow, Miami, Seville and Sri Lanka. While Malini is busy transforming her creativity into beautiful ensembles, she still has time to spend some enticing moments with her pets – Vita, a Tibetan Spaniel and Tango a Pekingese. Infact, her love for pets dates back to childhood and reminisces of her childhood pets are still alive in her memory and this is what she has to say about her pets:

My first puppy love…

“I got my very first dog when I was about 7 years old. He was a gorgeous Chinese Pug named ‘Danny Boy.” My sister and I were completely obsessed with him and we even called him our little brother,” recollects Malini with a smile on her face.

The love in my life now…

“Vita is my gorgeous Tibetan Spaniel, and she’s a diva in a true sense. Her breed has descended from China and they were the dogs of the Royal family, who simply sat on huge velvet cushions at the feet of the King and Queen. And Vita behaves like royalty herself and loves big fluffy cushions. She is also hyper-sensitive, so I have to be very careful to give her enough attention at all times,” tells Malini proudly. Given a chance, who wouldn’t like the ravishing Malini’s attention? “My boy Tango is a Pekinese and is simply beautiful or awesome, I would say. He has a unique colouring, shaded like a work of art. Like all Pekingese, Tango is very social, super friendly and affectionate and not to forget that he is soft, cuddly and cute. Though he is not aggressive, yet he makes it known that he is the man of the house. All my friends like him better than Vita at first because he is a real charmer,” laughs Malini with an obvious twinkle in her eyes.

Pooches who have stolen my heart…

“I have always loved small dogs and as many as six pooches have been close to my heart. I have loved them all but have had special relationships with ‘Sushi’ and now ‘Vita’. They have had strong personalities and been sweet little drama queens,” tells Malini.

My special remembrance…

“My dog Sushi (actually she was my sister’s dog to begin with), a red long-haired Chihuahua, lived in New York. She was absolutely gorgeous. One day, Sushi and I, together went for the ‘Howloween Pet Parade Contest.’ We dressed up and even won in the category of “Best human pet look alike.” All of a sudden, we were in the limelight, on TV and everything. We even won a one-year supply of ‘Mighty Dog.’ I still miss her a lot even though she’s been gone about 7 years,” reminisces Malini with a soft look in her eyes. Pet lovers like us can very well understand that the love for our pooch never diminishes and their sweet memories are always close to our heart.

 

Antics of my dogs I love…

“I love the way my dogs greet me when I come home, as if they haven’t seen me in a year…and always with such enthusiasm…boundless joy!! There’s nothing quite like it,” she tells with a twinkle in her eyes. For pooches, we are their world and when you have such a pretty one, they cannot ask for more.

Spending precious time with them…

“I love playing with my dogs, chasing them around the garden, brushing them and playing games that I have for each one.” Just a perfect way to spend time with your cuddly darlings!

My pets’ favourite dishes…

“Both Vita and Tango love to gorge on chicken liver. Actually, they are super spoilt and eat only the softest kind,” tells the pet-mom of the fussy eaters.

Their special treat…

“Oh, they simply love Chostix or I should say they are obsessed with it. In fact, I was so curious about why they are so crazy about it that once I almost took a bite… However. I’m a vegetarian and so I changed my mind,” tells Malini with a giggle.

Life at home…

“I live on a farm house and Vita and Tango rarely leave the compound. They love to live in their own little doggie kingdom and do not like life outside it. I take care of their exercise and nutrition needs and we all live in a complete harmony,” tells Malini as a matter of fact.

What they love about me…

“The love I give them…and of course the treats I give them…they are super greedy for food!” laughs Malini.

I simply love…

“Though everything about my dogs is lovely, but I am deeply touched by the unconditional love they give me,” concludes our style diva Malini. And all those who have been blessed with a dog, would definitely agree!!

Madhavan

His cute smile makes most of us go weak in the knees…but what catches his fancy is not us…they are some other cutie-pies at home. Well! It’s not some femme fatales for cute Madhavan…but his loved pets – Princess (GSD), Simba (Chow Chow) and Ashley (African Grey). This enthusiastic pet lover shares his love and life with these bundle of joys and here’s more about his life with his darling pets.

Cute and young lad, who played memorable roles in teleserials like Saaya, Sea Hawks, Banegi Apni Baat, Ghar Jamai etc, eventually joined the cineblitz and won the hearts of millions with his remarkable roles in many movies like Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, Ramji Londonwaley, Shanti Shanti Shanti, Kannathil Muthamittal, Alaipayuthey, Ennavale, Dil Vil Pyar Vyar, Minnale, Dumm Dumm Dumm, Parthale Paravasam and more. He also won critical acclaim for his roles in superhit Bollywood movies Guru and Rang De Basanti. He is a superstar… well, there’s another side to his personality also…he is a devoted animal lover as well. Madhavan has appeared in PETA – People for Ethical Treatment of Animals advertising – campaigning against cruelty towards animals, and has promoted vegetarianism causes; interestingly he was also voted the “cutest male vegetarian” by an online poll conducted by the NGO, PETA. His love for animal is deeprooted. Madhavan, or Maddy as friends call him, has been an avid animal lover since childhood. He had his first pet – Prince (GSD) during early years of his life and as they say once a dog lover always a dog lover…he always has pets with him. He proudly acquaints us with his present pets, Princess (GSD, 6 years old), Simba (Chow Chow, 4 years old) and Ashley (African Grey, 2 years old). And on asking about his favorite, the apt parental reply came, “They all are close to my heart and we all love them equally,” well, that’s little diplomatic…but not an issue as our loving pooches are on the winning side.

These funny beauties – Princess and Simba – are family members at Madhavan’s place, they sleep, eat, play with them…and our smarties never skip to hop into the car to accompany their celebrity parents on long drives…and never miss a chance to play fetch-the-ball with him. They simply love to throw tantrums, when Maddy is around…quite obvious for the celebrity kids…keep it up li’l champs.

Madhavan has a wonderful wife – Sarita (a former airhostess, whom he married after 3 years of committed courtship), who takes care of all the family members and no wonder that kids are most pampered ones…be it Princess, Simba, Ashley or Maddy’s cute little master (his son). They all live together in perfect harmony. Madhavan is a true family man, who loves spending quality time with his family, visiting his parents, playing golf, and not to miss…pampering his pet dogs. Tight work schedules are never an excuse for spending less time with pets…as Maddy always makes sure to spend quality time with them during early morning or late nights, and takes them for walks twice a day and plays with them. Moreover these loving angels even accompany them on their Mumbai trips…and why not they have a second home there. So when Papa’s got a lot of work in Mumbai, they are also there to share the limelight.

We all simply love Madhavan… so what he loves the most about his pets, and instant reply came ‘The Unconditional Love.’ “They are very affectionate and loving, and my Chow is a real handsome dog… he is a stunner,” he added. Now what these celebrity pooches love…well! It’s long drives with Maddy…of course on a highway and swishing ‘n’ sloshing in the swimming pool.

It’s enough of pooch flattery…there must be some annoying habits in these kids as well, to this he replied, “Yeah, they do have…let’s start with Simba, he stops at every three steps to sniff and Princess is simply lazy to go for a walk.” On asking about their eating habits, Maddy joyfully replied that Princess is a not a fussy eater and loves to gorge on anything, whereas Simba always craves for something sweet. “Nevertheless, they both just love to treat on dog biscuits and chews,” he tells with a sweet grin on his face, which always leave us completely speechless.

“They are always let loose to enjoy the most and everyone from my child to the eldest member in the family just love to pamper our pooches,” tells Madhavan proudly. These pooches are also very friendly with their human sibling as well and always protect him like elder brother or sister. “Princess is very affectionate with my son and Simba just love him like anything,” Madhavan added.

When it comes to kids, Madhavan has a nice anecdote to share, “Once Princess delivered ten pups at home…cuties were looking so angelic. But, our whole house looked like a big circus…still it was a most memorable incident for us.” Well! We can imagine the hullabaloo, when one is raising more than dozen kids…woof! Indeed a memorable incident.

So, does Maddy has any message for pet parents? “A responsible pet parent should groom their pets regularly and brush them at least once a day. Never over feed them and giving them leftovers is a big No No. Make sure that pets are getting healthy and nutritious diet as per their requirement. Give them balance diet for proper growth and development. And just shower all the love and care on them,” comes a quick reply from our energetic celebrity, Madhavan.

Gauri and Nainika Karan

Gauri and Nainika Karan, the vivacious sibling duo, have already created a lot of ripples in the Indian fashion Industry with their high fashion garments and young & hip label – Magnetic Raga. A regular participant at the fashion-vistas of LIFW, these young lassies are going great professionally … and at home they are simply rocking, when two more fun freaks – Fatty and Iris – join the fun gang. D&P discovers more about their immortal love for canine companions.

Gauri and Nainika KaranThe young graduates of The National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gauri and Nainika Karan, besides being ace fashion designers, are also big time animal lovers. They have fond memories of childhood, when they used to pester their mom a lot to get a pet. Their father Raja Vijay Karan, a retired CBI director, always had a great rapport with pets but mom Pratibha Karan, a former IAS officer was bit apprehensive about having pets at home. As Gauri narrates, “We always wanted a dog… though our father is a great dog lover, our mother was strongly against the idea. We tried to persuade her for years but finally when we were teenagers, she succumbed to the pressure. And Pedro (Collie) our first pet came into our lives. Then came Iris, also a Collie. And when they had pups, we kept one of them and named her Fatty… so we have been blessed with three furry friends till now.”

Any thing ‘first’ in life always remain more close to our heart… so does Pedro…their first and most loved pooch, and they remember his fond memories, “Being our first pet and the only one, he was very special. He was loving, highly sensitive, beautiful and brilliant. We used to call him Santa Pedro because he was like a saint, there are so many special incidents with Pedro that we can never forget. Once he broke an antique vase because a stray had entered the house and they were chasing each other all over the drawing room. My parents got very angry and scolded him. Since he was such a well-behaved dog, he never gave anyone an opportunity to get angry with him. That had a big impact on him that he never entered the drawing room again.”

With his sweet antics, he became everybody’s sweetheart in no time. This cute kid added more life to Karan household. “Every morning at the breakfast table, Pedro would grab my dad by the cuff and drag him outside to play with the ball. He also did this thing with his front legs when he was excited and wanted attention. Every evening he would come and cuddle with one of us, mostly my father and place his long snout on our lap,” Nainika recollects with a twinkle in her eyes.

Once a dog lover, always a dog lover…and today they have two pets – Fatty and Iris. This close-knit family of six, share their joys and happiness together. As Gauri elaborates, “Our pets share room with my parents. Every evening we all hang out with our mum and dad in their room to relax and unwind and someone or the other is always playing, cuddling or teasing the lil fellows.”

At home, Iris and Fatty are more pampered kids duo and are well-cared by Mr & Mrs Karan. “Every morning our pets go for walk with my Dad, they run and walk with him. Our dogs eagerly wait for it every morning! My mother ensures that they are fed well. And my father always painstakingly attends to their meals every evening. I think dogs are like babies who never grow up. They always expect love and pampering from us,” tells Gauri.

So, what about their eating habits…do they give tough time to mum… ‘YES’ comes the instant reply, “They are very fussy eaters. What they love, unfortunately we cannot give them. They love liver, cheese, sardines … and want that always. They are always given the most delicious non-vegetarian food but sometimes they do get really large bones to chew on. But they are excited only when my father is mixing his own food to give them. They take food for granted, most of the time.”

Nainika adds, “Fatty is so perceptive, that if anyone is slightly upset she can sense it and immediately starts pouring love and affection… they are just so loving and loyal. We love everything about them…the way they smile when they are happy, the sad expression on their face when we leave the house.” So its all good ‘n’ nice with them… but there must be some not-so-cute antic as well, so here Gauri shares one annoying habit, “When anyone comes home, they bark incessantly…it can be earth shattering.” Woof! These barking beauties surely give a warm welcome to the visitors.

When one brings showbiz and stardom at home, it’s quite obvious that others also get some rub-off. So, do these canines. As per Nainika, “Sometimes we keep talking to them lovingly and call them but they don’t even look at us, like we’re just not there. It’s really strange and funny… they take us for granted. Also, very often our dog Iris looks at us and keeps whining with this really funny expression on her face. It’s so cute and comical.”

Having a pet is a great feeling…and no words can explain that wonderful feeling. On a conducting note, the siblings share their views on responsible pet parenting, “Dogs need a lot of love, attention and care. If people are too busy to spend time with their dogs, they should not have them. They should be brushed everyday, given tasty and healthy food, which they enjoy eating, made to exercise everyday and most importantly given time and loads of love…he is a living being and has feelings too,” concludes Gauri and Nainika.

Rati Agnihotri

Beautiful and charming, a Reiki master, an active social worker, an artist, an animal lover… Bollywood actress Rati Agnihotri spreads grace and love wherever she goes. She is the cynosure of eyes for her whole family, including her three Labradors, who have stolen this show stealer’s heart and Rati proudly says, “My dogs are my life!” In conversation with D&P, Rati shares more about her love for dogs.

Rati AgnihotriOne name that always comes to our minds when we think of Bollywood love flicks is the legendary ‘Ek duje ke liye’ and we still remember the sensational damsel ‘Sapna’ aka Rati Agnihotri. Over the years, Rati Agnihotri has seen all walks of life and today this talented actress is known not only for her screen presence but also as an active social worker, promoting awareness about cancer, AIDS and animal welfare. Besides being a Reiki master, she is also an artist and has excelled in candle-making, rock sculpting, stained-glass painting, etc. Some of her well-known Bollywood movies include ‘Tawaif,’ ‘Shaukeen,’ ‘Coolie,’ ‘Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye,’ etc. After a gap of 16 years, she made a comeback in not only movies (‘Kuch khatti kuch meethi,’ ‘Karma, Confessions & Holi,’ etc) but also well-known TV shows like ‘Jhalak Dikhlaja.’

This pretty lady has deep emotional bond with animals and dogs in particular. Ever since she was a child, she has been blessed with the company of dogs. “My dogs are my life (And all we dog lovers will surely agree!). I always had dogs and have spent the better years of my life with Labradors, Alsatians, German shepherds, Boxers, Dalmatians and even street dogs. At one time, we had seven German Shepherds,” exclaimed Rati enthusiastically.

On asking about the memoirs from the past, Rati replied, “Every moment spent with my dogs is special. Their love in unconditional and they are my babies. Each one of them had some particular habit and I loved them all.”

Today, her house echoes with the antics of her three golden Labradors – Ralph (6 years old), Tobler (2 years old) and Asterix (1 year old). “Ralph and Tobler were gifted by one of my friends in Bangalore while Asterix is Ralph’s son. All three are different but very entertaining. Ralph is like a robot, Tobler is my bodyguard and Asterix is a joker,” tells the svelte actress proudly.

So who’s the favourite amongst the three? “Just as we can’t choose between our children, I cannot choose between my lil’ doggies,” came a diplomatic reply from our star. “I love their unconditional love and the way they welcome me when I get back home. They care for me, guard me and even relieve my stress and tiredness.” Even the doctors would agree that our pooches help in relieving stress and anxiety!

Now, let’s see what makes this star’s heart miss a beat? “I love anything and everything about them…they are my life. I simply love the way they look at me. They know how to connect through their eyes or body language. Their look says it all – I know what they want at that particular time. No matter how busy I am, they know how to get my attention. It’s just a look on their face that makes me leave everything and spend some time with them,” tells Rati with a twinkle in her eyes.

“My Labs simply adore me and each one wants to make it to me first, so there is always a ruckus who reaches mom first,” tells Rati and we all know how magnetic her persona is! “For them, a special treat consists of huge bones or cans of tuna or sardines,” she tells laughingly.

“Inspite of my busy schedule, I spend time with my Labs. Every moment at home is spent playing, training, cleaning and indulging in their antics. They don’t leave me alone and even sleep in our bedroom. Whenever it is feasible, I take them for a vacation with me to places like Khandala and Poona,” adds Rati with a smile that had left millions of hearts speechless in her early days. The radiance of smile is still there and we all wish her to keep smiling that way!

So what is their favourite activity together? “I love to train them with goodies. I have taught them how to speak and sing (ofcourse in the doggy language!). They are also trained to give a high five and they simply love to dance with me.” How we wish we could shake a leg with this dance diva as well!

Any annoying habit of the dogs? “Annoying for my family, but not for me. When I sleep, they sleep over me and I am squashed! My husband Anil and my son Tanuj also love dogs and our involvement is the same but it’s just that I spoil them more.”

When it comes to their nutrition and exercise, like all responsible pet parents, Rati is also very particular. “I take care that they get healthy diet and follow proper exercise regimen. I also don’t let them indulge in things that are not good for their fur.” Great going Rati, that’s like a good pet parent!

Rati advises all readers to love their pets as much as your child. “My son would kill me for saying this, but you need to love your dog like a baby. Give them that little extra attention as they cannot speak or ask for something,” concludes Rati on a happy note.

Dabboo Ratnani

Guess what is the common element in Dabboo Ratnani’s calendar every year? No idea! Well, it is Flash, his Boxer, who is his adorable companion 24×7. He is with him at home, in car and even at his studio. In 2007 calendar, Flash can be seen with Big B, in a very compassionate moment. The calendar also features Salman with his two Mastiffs – Myson and Myjaan. A real treat for dog lovers, I must say!

Dabboo RatnaniWhich is the most awaited calendar of the year? Of course, Dabboo Ratnani calendar would come as an instant answer and why not? Each leaf of the calendar captures a spectacular view of a top Bollywood celebrity, each looking his/her stunning best. This irresistible calendar was launched this year with much fanfare by none other than Big B – Amitabh Bachchan.

Unlike every year, this year Dabboo’s calendar has a theme – water. As Dabboo puts it, “Water is so versatile. There are so many ways of capturing it – in glass, coffee, swimming pool, whiskey, sea, drinking, and so on…” Just pick up the calendar and you will see how water has been picturised beautifully and differently, not to forget our charming celebrities, which include Big B, John Abraham, Bipasha, Aishwarya, Priyanka, Abhishek Bachchan, Ria Sen, Arjun Rampal, Shahrukh Khan, Bobby Deol, Salman Khan, to name a few.

But, what really caught the attention of dog lovers were two brilliant snapshots – one of Amitabh Bachchan with Dabboo’s dog Flash and the other of Salman Khan with his two dogs – Myson and Myjaan. Picture perfect! The chemistry between the stars and the paw stars looks amazing.

So, how did the idea of shooting Big B with Flash came in Dabboo’s mind? “Flash has always been a part of my calendar for the past six years and I was thinking how I can incorporate him with my water theme and with which star,” tells Dabboo. “And then, I remembered that Amitabh Bachchan has never been shot with Flash but after meeting Flash a couple of times at my studio, he became friendly with him and now, they have even started having a lot of fun together.” …We all know that dog love is contagious… it really spreads. Our paw star has found the superstar of the millennium! Great going, Flash!

Telling about this particular shot, Dabboo recalls, “This particular shot shows humanity and compassion for animals. It shows Amitabh collecting some water in his hand and giving it to Flash. The picture shows a lot of consideration for our canines and both Amitabh and Flash have given their best shot.” Big B has always stood for good causes and he has proved it once again! While Big B has brought alive the compassion for canines, Salman has brought alive the element of fun and adventure we share with our lovely furry angels. The trio – Salman and his two Mastiffs are enjoying life in the rain. The three look relaxed, enjoying every moment, without anything to worry!

“Salman is an avid dog lover and he is very fond of his dogs – Myson and Myjaan. He takes good care of his dogs and every week, they spend some time together at Salman’s farmhouse in Punvil,” tells Dabboo enthusiastically. “This particular shot is one among the series of shots I took with these three stars. They went for a walk and even bathed together…having a great time throughout. The whole space around them came live with their antics.”

“The whole scenario inspired us to take some really live pictures. My idea was to shoot a rugged picture of Salman, enjoying his way out with his dogs. His mood is cowboy-like and his Mastiffs add to the ruggedness. We created rain in the picture and the dogs simply loved it,” tells Ratnani. And we have no doubts that the trio loved the shoot – as is it, they were doing something which is completely natural – togetherness.

So, how did Myson and Myjaan react to the shoots. “Oh! They were very co-operative. They are complete outdoor animals and they love water. They even enter into a waterfall and river and splash their way around,” tells Dabboo. How many shots were needed to get that perfect one? “It is very difficult to shoot with animals as they are very restless and you need to be quick to capture the right moment.” All who have tried to click a family picture would recall that our sweet canine either looks away or dashes toward some distraction, just when the camera goes ‘click.’

“I took almost 40 shots until I got the one I was looking for. So, it needs a lot of patience to shoot with pet stars. Sometimes, I get the perfect shot in one go and sometimes, it can even extend to a couple of hours,” tells Dabboo. While our celebrities need a lot of time to dress up to match the perfect look, our canines are their natural self as they are more comfortable that way and any distractions and instructions can annoy them. Always accommodating and admirably relaxed, never pushy but gently persuasive, Dabboo has a knack of getting his pictures despite the odds…

Dabboo Ratnani is a name that is synonymous with excellence and creativity. From personality portraits and advertising campaigns to fashion and magazine layouts, Dabboo has developed and showcased a discriminating and unique style of his profession. Those who have not been lucky enough to get a copy of Dabboo Ratnani’s calendar can check it out at www.dabbooratnani.com

Gul Kirat Panag

Gul Kirat PanagFormer Miss India…charming, lovely, witty, dimpled beauty…Gul Kirat Panag has recently made sensation with her wonderful movie ‘Dor.’ Little do people know that this lovely beauty is always accompanied with Milo, her 3-year-old Beagle. In a conversation with D&P, Gul shares her love for Milo. Excerpts. Gul Kirat Panag needs no introduction. She made Chandigarh proud in 1999 by winning the coveted Miss India crown. At this time, this head turner was studying economics at University, when she charmed Miss India judges with her wit and dimples. Who says beauty and brains do not go together!

Gul began her career with TV and also acted in ads and music videos, besides being an anchor for several TV shows. Her stint with Bollywood started with ‘Dhoop’ and since then, she has acted in quality movies like ‘Jurm’ and more recently the highly acclaimed ‘Dor.’ This is just the beginning and we are going to see a lot more of this talented beauty in the days to come.

Despite having an action packed social life, where she’s seen regularly on page 3 across the globe, Gul finds time and happiness with Milo – her Beagle! Who she says is her life!

“I was born with pets around me,” remarks Gul, “I have always lived with dogs…” in the literal sense says she! “We’ve always had more than one Labrador Retriever at home. Every day is special with dogs and I loved their company all along. I particularly remember one incident when I was just seven months old and I had a German Shepherd named Abdul. I had just learnt to crawl and I went upto him to sit on him. He looked back at me and tried to push me away, and accidentally his teeth touched my eyebrow. I still have a scar on my eyebrow!”

So how did Milo happen, we asked. “My mom is a breeder of Labradors, it was a natural choice to have one of them as my pets, however, three years back, my boyfriend Rishi gifted me a Beagle on my birthday and I fell in love with him instantly (the Beagle!).”

“Milo has become my best buddy – he holidays with us – we had even gone to Ladakh by road with him. He loved it, he’s a complete outdoor dog and I just can’t imagine being away from him,” says the charmer whose dimple cheeks adorned the Titan advertisements some time back. “I even take him along to shoots” – sure he’ll become a star soon!!!

Gul also makes it a point to take care of his personal needs, “When I am in town, all his needs, the walks and the vet visits are my look out. The best way a pet can be maintained, I believe, is that he needs personal attention,” she quips in!

When asked on what she loves in Milo – Gul feels that while all dogs are special, Beagles are a breed apart – they are much too gentle and expressive. “I love Milo’s independence,” she adds, as a distinction – “And Milo loves all of me,” she says.

“Give Milo a bone and he’ll forget me,” she says commenting on her pet’s favourite dish.

On Milo’s favourite food, Gul says that she mostly feeds him dog food as it is a balanced diet and Milo really likes it. Apart from this, he loves to eat egg and soup.

Milo seemed rather well behaved and Gul commented that he did not have any irritating habits. “Like all dogs, he loves walks,” said she, when asked of her dog’s favourite activity!

On his craziest moment which happened when they went to Auli, Gul says, “Milo was very happy to see huge open space and was running around, then he happened to see a cow and went near her, the cow kicked him and he flew 5 ft in air, since then, Milo has never gone near a cow.”

“He had a similar experience with a sheep who butted him, on this particular place. Also, I sprained my ankle and took a mule to ride and you know what, Milo sat with me and he simply loved the ride.”

And finally here’s Gul’s tip-“It is very important to understand why you are keeping a dog as he is just like a child, who needs love, food, exercise and grooming. Most importantly, he needs quality time, which should not include the feeding, grooming or exercise time. Atleast, spend half an hour everyday with your dog and bask him in your love.”

Dabboo Ratnani

Camera is his first love and Flash his second and they are together right from morning till late at night. Flash gives an enthusiastic welcome to all models and adds life to the studio. Favourite of all celebrities, he has been shot with the who’s who of Bollywood.
Yes, we are talking about the famous fashion photographer Dabboo Ratnani and his Boxer friend ‘Flash,’ who have spend almost six years of togetherness. Happily married to Manisha, their’s a perfect family, with their life revolving around Flash. D&P had a conversation with Dabboo and Manisha to know more about their baby Flash. Excerpts.

Famous portrait ‘n’ celebrity photographer Dabboo Ratnani is a name that is synonymous with excellence and creativity. From personality portraits and advertising campaigns to fashion and magazine layouts, lens-legend Dabboo has developed and showcased a discriminating and unique style of his profession. Some of the films for which he generated lot of publicity for still photography include Jism, Murder, Paap, Blackmail, etc. Some of his famous advertising campaigns include 7 Up with Mallika Sherawat, Nestle Munch with Rani Mukherjee, Provogue with Fardeen Khan, to name a few. His annual calendar is a collector’s item and is eagerly awaited with bated breath by the Bollywood fraternity.

Dabboo and Manisha have been married for 2 years and share a beautiful relationship, which is bonded even more with their common love – Flash. Here’s what this couple has to say about Flash?:

First pet…

Dabboo never kept a pet in his life, until Flash, a Boxer, came into his life. Since then, they have become inseparable buddies. Flash accompanies him to the studio and spends the whole day with him. “He generates positive energy and adds life to the studio. He gives an enthusiastic welcome to all models and celebrities,” told Dabboo enthusiastically.

Bringing up Flash…

“When Flash came in my life, for the first six months, I forgot my night since I had to take care of him. I just couldn’t think of leaving him alone…” told Dabboo with concern. Even today, Flash is always with him at studio where he has ample space to run around. “He has a bed in the studio to take a small nap. At night, we go home together, happy and content,” he added.

Sweet temperament…

Flash is a people’s dog in a true sense and is like a baby. He loves to be around people and is extremely well behaved. “With his charming looks and temperament, he wins the hearts of even those who are scared of dogs,” told Dabboo.

Any annoying habit…

“Nothing! He is an intelligent dog and he knows when he has done wrong and he does not repeat it again,” came a quick reply from Manisha. As a matter of fact, before getting married to Dabboo, Manisha was petrified of dogs but Flash’s sweet disposition refuted all her misconceptions and today they both are very comfortable and spend a lot of quality time.

Caring for his needs…

“As far as exercise is concerned, he does a lot of running and is very active. He eats home-cooked food, which is cooked by Manisha,” told Dabboo.

Flash’s favourite food…

“He loves mutton with rice, paneer with chapatti, eggs, biscuits and chews,” told Manisha.

What they love in Flash…

“He is as happy and excited to see us as he was at the first meeting. His response never changes. He is superpower excited to see Dabboo as he is definitely his first love,” told Manisha.

What Flash loves about Dabboo…

As Dabboo puts it, “We are very similar in nature. Perhaps my ability to understand every single move of his, is cherished most by Flash. We spend so much time together that I know what his needs are at any point of time. His expressions tell me when he needs his bed to be lowered or to be petted.”

Crazy antic…

“It’s really amazing that how Flash senses that there is a celebrity in the studio. Whenever there is a photo shoot of a celebrity, he simply walks into the frame,” told Manisha laughingly.

Favourite pastime…

“Even though Flash has loads of toys, he particularly loves a ball and is very possessive about it. We throw the ball and he loves to fetch it. Sometimes we even hide the ball and he finds it. It is a family game,” said Manisha with a chuckle.

Tips for readers…

“Always keep your dog clean, with his nails properly clipped and his paws clean. Never feed him table scraps,” advises Manisha.

Bharat Dabholkar

Bharat DabholkarUnconventional adman and undisputed king of satire Bharat Dabholkar is better known for his utterly…butterly…Amul advertisement. Besides advertising, he has also made his mark in theatres and movies. As he juggles between his varied roles, he has another important role to play – his family which includes his four smart dogs and a sensational cat. In conversation with Gauri Keskar, Dabholkar expresses love for his pets…

All of us know that very special feeling of coming home to a dog.

The incessant wagging of tail, the licks, the complaints, and the undivided attention you get. Well, now imagine coming home to four big dogs, all of who, want your attention at the same time and a cat who also sometimes thinks that he is a dog! That’s exactly how adman Bharat Dabholkar is greeted by whenever he walks in home. Bharat Dabholkar, who is well-known for his quirky ‘Amul’ advertisements and an ensemble of topical plays like ‘I Love Bombay,’ ‘Monkey Business’ and the extremely popular ‘Bottoms Up,’ is also a passionate animal lover. His pets, he says, are a part of his family and at present he shares his home with a pair of Siberian Huskies called Wolf and Kali, a Chow called Mufasa and the oldest yet the most wise Osho, a Bull-dog. There is Voodoo, the Persian cat, who in a typical cat fashion, spends time with the owner and his extended dog family, as and when he deems it fit to! The first thing that came to my mind was how do all of them manage to co-exist with each other! But that doubt was firmly laid to rest as I walked into Dabholkars house which closely resembles a tree house built on stilts!! It was like walking into a different world. All around the house runs a wooden veranda, which is where I met the dogs lounging around and enjoying their view from the top. They looked like one big happy family, relaxing and enjoying their morning time with one another. Whereas Wolf, Kali and Osho greeted with wagging tails, Mufasa, the Chow wasn’t at all impressed by me. He sniffed me around, barked a little and then turned around and walked off inside the house to sit on his own. “All the dogs have their own distinctive personalities. While Wolf, Osho and Kali are the more gregarious ones, Mufasa is a complete introvert. Other than immediate family, he doesn’t interact with anyone else,” explained Dabholkar. As I looked around fascinated, Kali darted towards Dabholkar and demanded to be petted. “Kali is top dog. She oversees all the canine activities in the house. Osho, the oldest one is not very agile like all the rest and is sometimes ignored by his younger dog family but Kali makes sure to spend time with him every time he feels left out,” he added.

So how have his dogs affected his life? His home, he says, is completely ruled by the dogs (and that is quite obvious!!). The entire household chores are centred around their needs! He recalls the time when Osho was the only dog in the house and would accompany him to the office everyday, so much so that he had become the office mascot and also played a part in his play called ‘Circus.’ Every time he would come in for the shows of the play he would want to sit on one of the chairs in the make-up room and absolutely refused to sit on the floor to a point where one of his co-actors would have to vacate a seat for him!! He was a favourite of the audiences and got a standing ovation at the 100th show which coincided with the day he became a father of 8 pups!

So when and how did his association with dogs start? He says that he has had dogs all his life. From his first dog Poppy, a mixed breed, which he got while he was in school to Furher, yet another mixed breed, to Mafia and then Satan (both Boxers) and of course the four canines he has right now, it has been one topsy-turvy but a fun ride. Each one of them, he reiterates, are very dear to him and growing up would definitely have been much less fun without them.

As I left Dabholkars house that morning, I turned around and saw the four dogs standing on the verandah almost waving at me. I couldn’t help smiling at how happy they looked together and how well they were looked after. Well, I now truly believe that it is a dog’s life, after all!!