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Now, an old age home for dogs, cats
Balakrishnan Nair in Chennai | January 02, 2007 10:33 IST
Old age homes for humans are dime a dozen but one for dogs and cats is something unheard of. A Chennai resident has now done that too.
42-year-old Ashok has set up an old age home-cum-permanent shelter for abandoned dogs and cats at Injambakkam.
"It is already functional but the formal inauguration is on January 7," says Ashok, a professional dog trainer. "I have always been an animal lover right from childhood."
He had set up a temporary shelter for dogs at Injambakkam eight years back Benji's Dog Academy.
The present home is about 4000 sq feet. "I have about 80 dogs and nine cats," says Ashok who bought the property and set up separate enclosures for the animals with his money.
There is also a pet cemetery. He spent about Rs 7 lakh for the property and building.
"Dogs have to be treated with love and affection. This home allows them to live their life in peace and dignity. You should have the heart to take care of them," he says.
Most of his dogs are the ones abandoned by owners when new jobs or transfers force them to move from the city. "Some people call me over to take care of their dogs as their children have moved elsewhere," he says.
He charges as a one-time payment Rs 3000-5000 depending on the person's capacity to take care of their dogs.
"Sometimes the owners put the dogs in my care for a short time. The dog's food, medical attention and grooming are taken care of." But if he does not come back, then Ashok scouts around for a new home for the healthy dogs.
"I give the dog only after checking the buyer's antecedents thoroughly," Ashok says.
Funds are a constraint. Ashok sometimes lends his dogs for film shoots. "The latest Hindi movie Bhagham Bagh starring Govinda and Akshay Kumar has used four of my dogs.
My dog also featured in television ads," he says. His dogs have also been used in Telugu movies.
Ashok wants to do more. "This is a pilot project. I want to move to a bigger place. I want to buy half-acre land at Mahabalipuram. But I need funds. I am planning to approach corporate houses for support."
In fact, Ashok has plans to house not only dogs and cats but also other animals, if the plan fructifies.
Ashok has three handlers to help him.