Pet Tales with MediaCom senior business director Ketan R Karnik

The seasoned professional talks about his Great Dane Leo

Pets are a gateway to escape from everyday's stressful life. There is nothing more satisfying and relaxing than coming home to your 'buddy' and spending some quality time with our little furry friends. Executives that have a stressful and strenuous job love to spend some quality time with their pets as and when they can.

From Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom who has a golden retriever that has more than 11,700 followers on Instagram to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo who keeps bees in his backyard and posts videos of them to his Vine account, it seems that industry executives are not afraid to show off their adorable pet friends.

In our constant endeavor to bring the most diverse content to our readers, brings to you some stories of our media execs' and their beloved pets.

Pet Tales, our latest special, captures certain aspects of noted media professionals that are rarely touched upon.

We highlight how some of India's most successful marketing and media executives unwind and relax with their pets after emptying their creative reservoirs at work.

Here’s MediaCom senior business director Ketan R Karnik talking about Leo.

Pet: Dog

Breed: Great Dane

Age: 8

Name: Leo

What’s your favourite pet movie?

K9 and War Horse

What does a typical day with your pet look like?

My day starts with a morning walk with him, then I feed him and leave for office. When I return he is the first one who welcomes me. After cuddling him for a while only then he allows me to remove my shoes. From then onward till we go to bed he follows me like a shadow. Saturday and Sunday are our days. He is involved in all the activities we do on holiday as a family. Now he is 8+ years old and a senior citizen but still a cute kid for me.         

What prompted you to have a pet and do you feel having a pet changes your perspective?

I have always loved animals. Right from my childhood, I wanted to have multiple pets as they are the ones who love you without any expectation. I got Leo eight years ago when a colleague of mine who stays in Kolkata told me one day that he has a puppy and would like to bring him to Mumbai. So, he sent me a photo and I thought he was cute. I brought him to Mumbai through flight and my entire family was unaware about it and so it was a surprise for everyone.

After a few days, my wife couldn’t handle him as running behind him and taking care was a tiring job. She even suggested dropping him somewhere else, to that I  asked her to have some patience. And after a few months, the patience paid off as he became a family member. In fact, my wife is the one who looks after him very passionately like a kid. And after that we never leashed him in the house, he roams everywhere in the house. He’s very friendly. He being a large breed, we initially thought he won’t be comfortable and will need more space than what houses in Mumbai provide, but he got used to it.

Even today when I come back home after a tiring day, just seeing him jump makes me feel energetic and charged up. Frankly, you have to take a lot of care of a Great Dane than any local breed because of his sheer size.

Do you think public places within India are pet-friendly? If not, what can be done to improve this?

I think we need more pet gardens to open up where pet parents can take their pets for a stroll because in societies or streets you don’t have any place. Even your kids don’t have space to play forget about pets. Also there needs to be more awareness among people about pets. Some societies don’t allow pets at all or treat them in a very different way as they are scared of them.  

Climatic conditions in India are also not very favourable for breeds like St. Bernard and others. People adopt them as a puppy as they look very cute but they don’t know what they will become once they grow up and so there’s a need to spread awareness of these things. Many dogs even die because of this. So yes, generating awareness is very important.

What’s been your favourite campaign/ad that involving animals?

The international Chevrolet Chevvy commercial ad is my favourite.

Has adoption of strays really increased today because of media and increased awareness?

I have seen people adopting these stray animals where they have no relation with the animal but seeing them injured or in pain it makes people feel something. In our society and nearby societies there are a few guys who actually take care of stray dogs. One of the guys I know has adopted some 6-7 stray dogs.

But then again there are people who feed glucose biscuits to these stray dogs every morning which is actually harmful for these animals. So yes, there is a lack of awareness on what to feed these animals. People who feed dogs non-vegetarian foods, they cook it and then they feed them. Even at my home, my mom used to give Leo bones to chew but I reminded her that there is a difference between meat being cooked and serving it raw as the hardness of the bone matters. It can actually harm their windpipe or intestine and your dog can actually die.

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