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Pet Tales with Mindshare's Ruchi Mathur

Animal Planet Pet Tales series kicks off with Ruchi Mathur and her beagle

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What’s your favorite pet movie?

I don't really have a favourite pet story as I avoid watching movies involving pets as they are very emotional and they break my heart.

What does a typical day with your pet look like?

Having a pet is a non-stop adventure and its like having a baby in the house. The only difference is that the baby grows up after few years but your four legged baby will never grow up and that’s the beauty of it. They are full of energy and right from the moment I get up in the morning, Lego comes up to me to lick and cuddle me. That's the only time when he is lazy and laid back and allows me to cuddle him. The rest of the day, he is hyper active and runs around the house. I love my morning walks with him and its just wonderful to see the way they explore the world. The one rule that I violate completely is feeding them under the table. Every morning when I have my breakfast, he looks at me with him little puppy eyes and I land up feeding him which I hide from my family. At the end of the day, no matter how hard my day has been, it all goes away as soon as I come home to my daughter and Lego.

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

I don't think it changes your perspective, but it changes your life! Right from the moment when Lego came to our house 18 months ago to date, life has not been the same. It has been absolutely amazing and I think every person should grow up with an animal around them as it makes them more humble and a better person. When I go to the Vet and see other people with their pets there, its so amazing to see CEOs, Mid level executive or a junior level executive, they are committed to their pets and at that moment, the board meetings, clients, pictures, all takes a back seat. I genuinely feel that those who have pets are better people. Nobody is bound to take time off from their precious Sunday but there are people who park outside the Vet clinic for hours and wait patiently only because they want to make sure that their four legged buddies are doing well.

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

I am afraid it is not as the tolerance of society towards pet is very low. A little tolerance and understanding with an open mind is needed and to make that happen, the owner is equally on the pet parents. I do not allow Lego to roam around the building without a leash, if he reliefs himself in the building then it is my responsibly to clean that and If I enter the lift and I see someone is uncomfortable with a dog in the lift, I volunteer and take the next lift.

Where I live, there is extreme resistance to me walking Lego in the building. The society says there are elderly walking and children playing but it is my responsibility and I have successfully managed to prove my point after many many many conflicts with the society. The issues were raised in the board meeting and the society even put up a notice in the building in our name saying that it will not be allowed to walk pets in the building. But I absolutely refused to comply to that and stood my ground. It was a long battle and our laws clearly state that a legal action can be taken against people who harness pets and pet parents. I wish a lot could be done to allow dogs to come to parks and other public places.

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

I will be a little bias here but the VIVO V9 ad where Aamir Khan clicks picture of his dog and cat is one of my most favorite. That is simply because the dog in the ad is Beagle breed and reminds me of Lego.

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

I think there is an increased awareness but when I talk to like-minded people and my friends, I still think breed is always a preference. People still don't want to adopt mixed breeds or stay dogs. Yes, there is a lot of awareness about taking care of the environment in which strays are but a lot of room for more.

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