Television

Pet Tales with Motivator's Mausumi Kar

Animal Planet Pet Tales' third chapter features Mausumi Kar and her 'boys' - Niret and Gobbet

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Animal Planet is celebrating the bond that humans share with animals through this heartwarming series called ‘Animal Planet Pet Tales’ on the special relationship that India’s top media executives share with their pets. 

What’s your favourite pet movie?

It is difficult to pick one but if I had to, then I would go with Beethoven - the story of the Newtons and their giant St. Bernard Beethoven. I have spent sixteen years spread between two of these gentle giants. Hugging a St. Bernard is soul satisfying; living with one is a lesson in family bonding.

What does a typical day with your pet look like?

There hasn’t been a typical day with any of my boys in the last so many years. Let me tell you some things that happen every day with my two boxer boys. Life begins at six in the morning when you have to cajole, push and struggle to get them out of bed, not their beds but my bed. They go for their walks and they are pretty well-behaved in that department. I meet them next when I leave home for office and the lost-boys-sad faces they make is heart wrenching. Coming home is a joy! Whether I meet them after a gap of ten minutes or ten hours, they greet me with jumps and licks on my face like we are some long lost friends. In fact, they compete with each other to see who can give me more slurpy licks. I feel like an ice-cream cone each day. Then it is treat-time with mommy. We give them the same treat but Gobbet the slightly bigger of the two hoards both their treats under his belly. Niret then walks up to me to complain with these lovely sounding yelps seeking intervention. A proper admonishment later Gobbet understands the merit of sharing. This happens every day! Then it is time for very intense playtime. It is too insane for me. It’s mostly with their dad or amongst themselves sans or with toys. Evening walks and dinner times are not note-worthy. The day ends with my husband and me struggling to preserve some space for ourselves at the two ends of our king-size bed and retaining at least a pillow each and some portions of our duvets. The rest belongs to Niret and Gobbet to do as they please.

FULL COVERAGE: ANIMAL PLANET PET TALES

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

I have grown up with pets and animals. At different points of time, we have provided homes to an interesting assortment of animals - dogs, parrots, pigs, chicken and cows! I have heard stories about this German Shepherd Laika that my parents had at the time I was born. Apparently, she stood guard by me whenever any outsider was around. Once as my nanny took me for an outing in my pram, she met a friend. They lost track of time as they chatted and continued to walk beyond the regular route into some unknown not so dog friendly neighbourhood at quite some distance. Laika never left her side. A search party had to be sent out to get all of us back. Fact is, it was the stretch between the time I left home for hostel after Class X for furthering my studies till the time I got married that I have not cohabited with a pet.

Living with a pet or any animal for that matter changes one’s world view. You become more responsible and adaptable. My husband and I made major decisions around our boys. You would have understood by now that my dogs have been my children. We decided to buy an independent bungalow and not a flat, our first air-conditioner came home with our first St. Bernard, and our choice of vehicle purchase has always revolved around whether the seating arrangement allowed enough flexibility to comfortably fit two large dogs. We used to travel with two St. Bernards at a point in time! I have an elaborate arrangement of full-time housekeeper and driver just so that the needs of my boys are managed adequately. Above all you just start savouring the simple joys of life.

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

We have a long way to go before public places in India become pet-friendly. In Europe, pets travel with their family in tubes and trains, are allowed into shopping malls and food joints, there is an abundance of pet-friendly hotels, the only caveat being one of responsible ownership. In India it is often a struggle to even take dogs out for walks. There are some cities in India which are more pet-friendly than others but the scope for improvement is immense even there. For starters, there needs to be responsibility from the owners’ side in public places where pets should always be on leash and need to clean up after their pets. Irresponsible ownership is one of the key reasons that public places are not pet-friendly. As a small first step, open spaces and parks could be made open to pets.

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

Unequivocally, the Hutch campaign with the little boy and the pug. “You and I in this beautiful world”, is the perfect expression of co-existence.

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

There is certainly increased awareness in media about strays in general and stray adoption in particular. My husband and I have been associated with Friendicose for a while now, since we adopted a St. Bernard. There is increased incidence of abandoning of pets even pure-breeds adding to the already growing population of strays. I am impressed with what Ratan Tata has done for strays by welcoming them to Bombay House. My former boss Lynn D’Souza works a lot with animals in Goa. Adopting a stray is admirable. If more people of the stature of Ratan Tata and Lynn speak out about their experiences and work with strays, it will go a long way towards increasing awareness of stray adoptions. We need to work more towards creating an environment that respects nature and all her creations. Right to space and life is not the exclusive domain of affluent individuals but all life-forms.

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