Nafisa Ali

Former Miss India, national swimming champion, socialite, model, actress, social worker and….yes, a dog lover! Dogs & Pups met Nafisa Ali who is also the wife of celebrity polo player Pickles Sodhi.

Nafisa-AliNafisa has been a dog and nature lover all her life. Quite like she says, “I grew up amidst animals,” “From the earliest time I remember, we’ve had pets.” “There were dogs, I love them and we also had ducks, they were so cute,” she sighs! In her own patented Nafisa style! “We’ve also had a whistling teal who was the friendliest little thing I ever knew.” Nafisa manages to keep both her active social life and spend lots of time with her 4 dogs- Sunshine, Mischief, Amber and Macho .

She runs an NGO called Action India, which focuses on the AIDS issue. She even made a documentary on people suffering with HIV positive, which was highly appreciated. She is also a member of children’s welfare organisation. Here’s more to the starry Nafisa and her love for her pets :

About her pets

I’ve always had pets. Simba, my first dog, was the sweetest and the most docile of them all. He used to even let kittens and little ducklings sit on his head! Such a darling! Currently, I have four dogs. The eldest among them is Sunshine, who is 11 years old. She is very possessive and does not like if I pay attention to the others. Then I have Amber who is 8 years old. Mischief and Macho are both 4 years old. I once happened to be a chief guest at a dog show and saw a little pup, a Russian Pekingese. I fell in love with him and quickly made up my mind to take him home. The same day my son saw Mischief, shivering in the cold, thus both Mischief and Macho completed our family.

And why she recommends pets

I think pets give us a sense of belonging, inner peace and security. Security not in the form of a watchdog but a sense of warmth. They teach us responsibility, love and care.

On children and pets

I feel very sad when parents don’t let kids handle pets or go close to them – it’s their insecurity and they pass it on to the children. It’s very sad. Only when we let them enjoy nature, will they realise their social responsibility towards our pet friends. And I think that it is very important that children grow up with pets as they teach co-dependency, interaction and support. Since childhood we at least had four dogs in the house.

On female dogs

Not because I’m a feminist, but I rubbish the fact that female dogs are tougher to maintain and think it is totally a myth and nothing else. I rather not have male dogs all over, marking their territories all around. I normally prefer female dogs as they are gentler and sensible.

On food

We feed our dogs basic roti and milk, but they get keema and vegetables most evenings. I love feeding them. They simply gorge on food.

And the dogs are…

Definitely mine. See them get instantaneously jealous if I pat one and not the other. They all vie for my attention – specially Sunshine.

To the readers

Love a pet. It’s a great feeling. Try to understand them and I’m sure you’ll all understand yourselves and your near and dear ones much, much more.

Atul Wassan

Atul-WassanMr. Atul Wassan – entrepreneur, cricketer, doting father, anchor, editor and Dog Lover! Atul is easily one of the most recognized persons around today. Simple yet stylish, friendly but packs a serious punch wherever he goes, Atul loves his dog and still finds time for him amidst all social, business and family time that fill up his life. Meet Atul & his Sultan. On Pets – We’ve always had pets. Our family home is in Shimla, where we have orchards and our summer house. We’ve always had many dogs. Sultan – the king, is also from there.

On Sultan – He’s a cricketer dog. I’ve always believed that we’ve been 2 cricketers at home -See him catch the ball?– flawless! He’s a part of the family and you can sure see that everybody is always feeding him. He’s growing bigger by the day.

On his relationship with Sultan – I’ve had him since Aayushmaan, my son was 3. He then became our little child. Now he’s big, but quite a sweetheart. We are a joint family and Sultan gets his share of attention from everyone. I feel he thinks I’m the big daddy. I’m also the tallest here!!

On what he likes most about dogs –They are almost human in their antics.I rubbish the Pablovian theory. They are more natural than that. Yes they exhibit conditioning but at the same time they have very natural strains in their behaviour. Don’t you agree? I like the way Sultan has a different approach to each one of us in the family. He’s watchful with the kids and carefree with my brother. He’s a pet to my mom and dad. I love that about dogs.

And time spent with Sultan – I’m a morning person. 20 years of being a cricketer has made me so. My best time with him is a long brisk morning walk?– Sultan loves it and I make most of our time then. Then we play, Aayushmaan my son, Aavantikaa my daughter and Sultan play ‘catch ball’. It’s family fun time! I obviously have more time on weekends and that’s when we laze around – especially now in the winters in the afternoon sun.

Sultan’s food – He’s a ‘biscuit boy’. Rusks, Marie, Glucose, Doggy bites – see him gobble those! But we also make sure he gets his nutrition and vitamins. I must admit that cricket balls must rank as Sultan’s top meal items – he must think they have a soft edible core, the way he bites into them!

Sultan’s favourite – My brother. He’s the one who got him from Shimla – I think they have a deeper bond. You should see his eyes light up when he see’s Hemant. I’m jealous.

Sultan’s care – The best. Bath’s only when he loves them. Heater fitted retiring room! Regular vet visits. Frequent jogs & sprints to keep his limbs fit. My international shopping positively includes something for him all the while.

To the readers – Sit by your pet sometime – ask them what they want. Observe them – you’ll see – they speak. They tell you what they want – It’s miraculous, but do it sometime!

Anand Chintamani

Ojasvini Geetika

Says Ojasvini Geetika Ganju, Media Producer, Master-of-Ceremonies and TV Anchorperson, tipped by Femina as one of India’s most talented MC’s. Ojasvini Geetika Ganju has hosted and managed a range of activities like television shows, print campaigns, ad-films, tele-serials, events, product launches/promotions, beauty contests, music concerts, jubilee celebrations, film premieres/book releases, award ceremonies, appszozo.comconferences/conventions…, fashion shows, etc. In between all her activities, Geetika loves coming back home to her best friend and lil’ baby ––‘Peppy’. ‘Peppy Masaba Ganju’, a beautiful 9 year old Pomeranian, is the centre of existence of Geetika and her family. ‘Masaba’ is a word from African language, meaning ‘The Loved One’. In a tête-à-tête with Dogs & Pups, Geetika reveals her love and passion for Peppy.

“We’ve never had dogs, nor did I have any inclination towards them. My brief interaction with pets was at my best friend’s house Nisha. To my utter surprise, when in college and a month before my Birthday, Nisha presented me Peppy in a cane basket. She was so tiny and adorable that I instantly fell in love with her and bought her home. On seeing Peppy, my mom was shocked, my dad was utterly petrified and my brother ‘Niklhil’ thought I was mad. It is amazing how Peppy settled in and became an integral part of all our lives and as on date is a complete BRAT!!

To a certain extent, she has really changed the way I think and feel. With her so close to me and being such an important part of our family, compelled me to become a vegetarian, I felt more compassion towards animals. But as for Peppy, she loves mutton, and God forbid, if we forget her meat schedule, the little one will go on a strike and stop eating, making us realize it’s meat time for her!!

What amazes me most about her is that inspite her age, she still behaves like the baby of the house. She loves to play with her two dolls, the best part being that these dolls had been mine as a child and now they are Peppy’s. She still loves her daily round of ‘Tug of war’ and ‘Kick the ball’. If she does not get it, she would sulk till you give it to her.

She has lovely eyes — but is a complete Drama Queen — gets exactly what she wants. She can open doors when she wants to, knows exactly how to do it. She loves my mom and follows her around everywhere. My mom and she spend a lot of time together talking and playing, my mom takes care of her food too. My father takes her for walks. My speciality with Peppy is in the Cuddles, she loves me to cuddle her and nobody else in the house is allowed to do that. Peppy expresses clearly when she wants to be touched and comes and sits right next to me, demandingly.

What I love most about her is that when I come back — the excitement, zest and enthusiasm she shows is completely incomparable. The next thing I love about her is that when she sleeps with me — she would put her head exactly like me on my pillow and in the morning would paw me. Through my sleepy eyes, I can see this zoom-in version of Peppy — looking right into my face — kind of telling me ‘hey lady- just wake up…’ This is just hilarious. Also a strange fact is that when she is sleeping with my dad, she loves to sleep on his feet — with me remember it’s my pillow!! And these days, I literally have to plead her to come and sleep in my room.

Inspite of my parent’s apprehensions they are completely in love with Peppy. She really misses them when they go on a holiday and is more attached to them.

We once took Peppy on a holiday to Dehradun. She was both excited and frantic, actually she did not realize what was happening and kept standing for 5 hours. It was an experience completely, I was the lucky one who shared the back seat with her and when I alighted, I was completely scratched!!

Some of my favourite antics of peppy include her love for peas and that too, the Safal peas only. Peppy is completely brand-conscious and only loves a particular brand of soya. Coming to tea time, she only and just loves Marie biscuits. Oh yes! She loves tea, so much so that she only has tea made by a particular person in the house.

Peppy’s favourite treat is Bhutta – she loves eating it and messing the place. So it’s a conspiracy between her and me for her ‘Bhutta-Time’ – with a pact with my mom that I clean up after her.

All our Birthday cards have Peppy’s name — she is totally a part of our family and a little Queen. I love to call her ‘Little Miss Muffet’. The whole house revolves around Peppy’s needs and wants. My sister-in-law ‘Neha’ is completely terrified of dogs and jokes that she has to fulfil the whims and fancies of her second mother-in-law — Peppy! Initially she was scared of Peppy but now both of them share a platonic relationship.

The only thing which irritates me about her is her toilet training, and this I feel is not her fault, but ours. Occasionally she has a problem of crapping in the drawing room and guess what she likes – the carpet. She simply does not like being left alone — would ruffle the bedcover or displace pillows — leading to a total chaos.

I would really like to pay emphasis on the equal handling of the dog by the members of the family. Like in our case, to meet her medical needs, it is only me who can take her to the veterinary doctor, any body else would be snapped at. Also we really tend to spoil a dog as like a little child we get over-protective and pamper them because of which they develop bad habits. It is in their interest that we must teach them the right things. That’s what best for them!! For me, Peppy is a big emotional support and completely fantastic and is my darling. A complete COE (Centre of our Existence) of our family!”

Pradip Burman

Keeping pets is perhaps one of the favourite pastime for even the busiest people in this world. Meet Mr. Pradeep Burman, the Chairman of Ayurvet Limited, who has loved pets since childhood. His ancestral home in Kolkata was a home to a number of dogs and once they even kept a leopard.
Currently, Mr. Burman and his family share their moments with a trio (3 dogs). Their house at Shantiniketan in New Delhi is always buzzing with activity as they have two pups of 4 months and 3.5 months of age, and one dog of 6 years of age. Mr. Burman introduced his dogs seniority wise, bluestacks for pc“The first is Simba the lion, a dashound. The second is Simone, a miniature dashound and the third is Samsung, an Alsatian pup”. The drawing room was a scurry of activities as Simba was trying to prove who the boss is. Simone and Samsung were involved in a tussle. Simone, inspite of being really tiny, was giving a full battle to Samsung and was barking away to full glory.
Dogs & Pups editor had a tête-à-tête with Mr. Pradip Burman on his love for dogs. Walking down the memory lane, he remembers his pets with fondness. Thinking of them brought a smile across his face and he told that among all his pets, he particularly loved Lucy, an Alsatian.

D&P : When is the first time you remember having pets and over the years which all pets did you have?
PB : I remember having pets, ever since I was a little boy. In my home town Kolkata, we had a cocker spaniel, a pug, and an Alsatian. My uncle was very fond of pets, and he used to keep white pigeons. We even had a leopard as a pet once. Besides, we always had dogs around the house.

D&P : Which was your first dog?
PB : It was a Mongrel named Lassie. Though Lassie is a comic toon character, this one was hardly a comic.

D&P : You mentioned earlier about your favourite Lucy, could you describe more about her?
PB : Yes, my favourite pet was Lucy, an Alsatian, which was with us in Kolkata when I was barely 14! (A smile crosses his face as he remembers Lucy!) The thing which I remember and loved most about her was that she was very moviebox for windows loveable and intelligent. She followed all commands and had a very strong dog sense. She could easily recognise whether a person is friendly or not.
She would stand on her legs whenever she was fed. She loved to play fetch and also loved catching rats.

D&P : How do you manage to spend time with your pets?
PB : As soon as I get back from work, I love to spend time with my pets. They are very playful and fun to be with, especially when they are pups. Before I go out, I always play with them for some time.

D&P : What do you like most about dogs?
PB : The most striking feature that I find in dogs is that they seem to be able to speak, even though they can’t say. The way they look at you and say it all is a very lovable aspect (said Mr. Burman emotionally).

D&P : What do you think your dogs love about you?
PB : They love the treats I give them. They look forward to it.

D&P : How do you ensure that that your dogs stay healthy?
PB : I make sure that they are taken out for walks regularly all the three times. If I am home early, I take them out for a walk in the evening. My household helpers take them for morning and night walks.

D&P : Which are your pet’s favourite dishes?
PB : They love to have mutton. I also get chews for them and they really love it. As I travel so often, I always get those chews from supermarkets abroad.

D&P : Is there any annoying habits of your pets?
PB : As Simone and Samsung are pups, they love to bite which annoys me sometimes. Also, when they are given a treat they eat it on the carpet. Sometimes, their little jobs are also done on the carpets.

D&P : Tell us some antics of your current pets?
PB : Simba is very moody. If you call him and he does not want to come, he would not come. Also when you give treats to Simba, he quickly takes his treat, hides it and goes to the other dogs and takes their treats too!! Simba also barks at the person who he does not like. Dashounds are very jealous- You pay attention to something else and they would immediately jump.

D&P : Any specific tip you would like to share?
PB : Besides giving responsi-bilities to domestic help, the owner must see the dogs are properly fed, check on the actual meat and also ensure that they are vaccinated on time. Most importantly, owner should spend sufficient time with their pets (stresses Mr. Pradip Burman).

Our minutes with Mr. Burman, ended with a lot of doggy talks. His love for dogs has no comparison and he was very emotional about his dogs. The best thing that he likes about dogs is their ability to express themselves, without saying anything. One would remember the lyrics of a song “You say it best, when you say nothing at all”.