Loving Them, Unconditionally

Not everyone has the courage to invest their time and money into a project that involves looking after others’ pets. But that’s exactly what young Shravan Krishnan did when he opened Hotel For Dogs in Chennai and Bengaluru. This animal lover is also an enthusiastic conservationist and has saved everything from snakes and jackals to fledglings and barn owls. RITZ meets the enterprising youngster who shows as much compassion and caring towards animals as he does for human beings.

Text: Diya Subramanian

“It all started when we wanted to go as a family on a holiday. We looked at a few kennels recommended to leave our dog ‘Buddy’ a Great Dane and were shocked at what we saw. Dark, dingy, cramped and damp cages or pets let loose or tied in open terraces… The more of these so-called kennels we visited, the more disillusioned we became. Finally we were forced to cancel our holiday and that’s when we decided to start the Hotel for Dogs,” says Shravan Krishnan, the director of the facility. Recently the animal lover was also a volunteer to rescue bird hatchlings in the city. “A couple of us volunteers rescued hatchlings that had built nests in trees at Anna Nagar. Most of these birds were injured as they would fall out of their nests. We’ve put out nets across the entire area to catch these falling birds. The rescued birds have been moved to the zoo.”

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All said and done, Krishnan’s favourite is snake rescues. Tells Krishnan, “I don’t consider working with animals to be a job. When I’m not at the hotel I work with various groups from the city rescuing everything from snakes to barn owls. I also work with the turtle conservation group from Chennai and with the forest department to rescue wild animals. You would not believe the number of jackals that stray into the city.” A B.Com grad from Loyola, he certainly has a lot on his plate, but his motto for life is simple. “Find something you areabsolutely passionate about and the rest is easy, because one you start working on your dream you will never settle for anything less than perfection.”  Presently Krishnan has expanded his Hotel for Dogs venture into Bengaluru. He also looks forward to opening a conservation centre in the city. Located on the outskirts of the city the Hotel For Dogs comes equipped with state of the art facilities for your pet pooch. Spread over a sizeable space the facility boasts of climate controlled kennels, CCTV surveillance, trained staff, 10,000 square feet of play area, a pick up and drop facility in specially outfitted vans for your pets (in case you’re not able to make the trek to drop them off at the hotel), a swimming pool, a grooming parlour and even a doctor on call to attend to medical emergencies.

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So how does the Hotel for Dogs handle the dietary needs of their clientele? “We prefer feeding the pets processed food like Pedigree. But, if the owners have certain restrictions or if the pet is used to a certain kind of food we cook the food. In these situations, we tailor-make the food as per dietary requirements,” says Krishnan. And if that weren’t enough and you can’t spend more than a day or so without chatting with your beloved pet, then Krishnan and team can even plan a Skype call for you to stay in touch! While it may all sound a bit in the excess for a non-animal lover, a pet owner would most definitely understand and appreciate the endeavour to keep their pets in the same comfort you would expect at a hotel.

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Now all this sounds like it would cost you a pretty penny, but checking in your precious pooch would only set you back only Rs 500 to Rs 700 per day. “It all depends on the size and breed of the dogs. If you are looking to check in an local Indian mongrel it would cost you Rs 300,” Krishnan says. A non-pet lover would certainly wonder if people actually subscribe to the idea of a Hotel for Dogs. Krishnan tells us that the response from the city has been fabulous. “On an average the hotel is filled to its maximum  boarding capacity of 45 dogs; sometimes we house up to 72 dogs. Vacations are just crazy. People don’t want to leave their pets alone, so we try and house as many dogs as we can,” he tells us with a wry grin.