It all starts with a simple question, “Mom, Dad, can we get a dog?”. And the standard reply — “We’ll think about it”. This is a scenario that is enacted in almost every house at one point or the other. But when the question becomes more frequent, is when the thinking really starts.
All sorts of questions cross the parents’ mind — which may or may not have crossed the child’s — and they (the parents) start envisioning what the house would look like 6 months later. Getting a dog should be a family decision for the reason that dogs are probably the most dependent of all pets. That is why it becomes extremely important for the child to understand the responsibilities, duties, etc. of pet ownership.
The best way is to be around dogs as much as possible. It could mean accompanying a friend who has a dog while they go for a walk, visiting dog parks or even spending time at the vet’s place with permission. While at it, we also insist that the child make maximum contact with dogs within their comfort levels. This gives them a feel of being with a canine — the fur, the wet nose, the sticky saliva.
A grooming session for the kids
PetSitters is a place where all of this, and much more, can be done under one roof. Our Pet Sibling Programme offers a three-pronged approach to help the family with decision-making.
The first is when the family comes in for a consult wherein the family structure, schedules and preferences are discussed. The pros and cons of everything, from breed to diet are discussed.
The second is where the child/children come to the facility and experience a day in the life of dogs. Right from morning to evening, the child takes complete care of the dog s/he is assigned including walks, meals, exercise, grooming, play and even picking up poop.
The third is where the family gets back with what they find feasible, what the child thinks after spending time with dogs and what s/he feels after getting an idea of what being a pet-sibling looks like. The further plan of action is decided such that it suits all family members.
Apart from learning about dogs, kids just have a blast during their day with the dogs. Be it making acquaintances with canines for the first time or playing with them, it keeps the kids hooked throughout. Just being around dogs makes them happy. They begin asking questions and understanding the bond better. Most kids even forget about their gadgets!
We largely give you a professional assessment of what may or may not work, taking into consideration the age, schedules and requirements of all those staying in the house. By giving the entire family an objective understanding, it enables you to be the best judge of the situation and decide whether to introduce a four-legged member into it.
Shalaka Mundada is the owner of PetSitters, a premium pet boarding facility in Pune, India.
Founded in 2008, PetSitters largely works in the field of Dog Kenneling, Pre-Pet Consultations & Dog Behavior Modification Programs. Shalaka is a certified Trainer, Behaviourist from John Rogerson’s Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour, UK. She has also completed her Kennel Management Course from Shirin Merchant Canine Can Care, Mumbai.
Along with kenneling, Shalaka largely work in the filed of Human Animal Interactions. She conducts workshops and events across age groups which work on enriching the classic animal human bond by better understanding of the species. Involving children as a part of pet ownership, getting them to understand the nuances of pet parenthood and how to have fun along the way are some of the program deliverables. Some of the programs are as listed- Pre Pet Counselling, Pet Sibling Program, Puppy Handling workshops, Pet Handling workshops, The Dog School. These programs also further designed for anyone and everyone who is interested in being a part of the every growing pet industry as it gives a basic foundation of working with pet dogs.