PAws For BreAth: PAm­PereD Pooches get cleAn Air As Peo­Ple choke on smog

The Sunday Guardian - - Covert - REUTERS

GU­RU­GRAM: While most res­i­dents of the In­dian cap­i­tal Delhi choked on toxic air this week, the dogs of the city’s elite were en­joy­ing am­bi­ent mu­sic and pu­ri­fied air at a lux­ury re­sort for pets.

Pol­lu­tion in the cap­i­tal rose to “se­vere” this week af­ter rev­el­ers let off fire­works to mark the Hindu fes­ti­val of Di­wali, adding to the heavy smog caused by crop burn­ing, ve­hi­cle fumes and in­dus­trial emis­sions.

Delhi’s air is among the worst in the world, although many in the city of more than 20 mil­lion are un­able, or un­will­ing, to pro­tect them­selves from the cock­tail of gases and par­ti­cles.

But at the TopDog Lux­ury Pet Re­sort, Gau­tam Kari, the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer who stud­ied an­i­mal be­haviourol­ogy in Cal­i­for­nia, is of­fer­ing re­lief for posh pooches.

Rooms at the site, next to an or­ganic veg­etable farm in Gu­ru­gram, start at Rs. 2,000 a night - more than five times the av­er­age daily wage.

The ca­nine guests - many owned by politi­cians, diplo­mats and busi­ness fig­ures, the re­sort says - have had their out­door time re­duced dur­ing the bad-air days of Di­wali.

The air in their rooms is cleaned by pu­ri­fy­ing ma­chines made by Amer­i­can man­u­fac­turer Honey­well. “We don’t want them out smelling the air for more than 45 min­utes,” Kari said. Kari said clients brought their dogs for train­ing and the re­sort’s other lux­u­ries, in­clud­ing food im­ported from Canada and mu­sic more com­monly heard in high-end spas. But air pol­lu­tion is also a con­cern for own­ers. “I think the air pu­ri­fiers ... are as rel­e­vant to dogs as well as to hu­man be­ings,” said Vi­neet Du­rani, an ex­ec­u­tive at US soft­ware gi­ant Mi­crosoft, who was col­lect­ing his Siberian husky Juno. “It’s hard to breathe.” Other guests in­clude a trio of dogs owned by Ja­panese diplo­mats, and two Por­tuguese wa­ter dogs, Peanut and Snicker, from the Dutch em­bassy.

The re­sort’s pres­i­den­tial suite - named af­ter for­mer US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s dog Bo - is oc­cu­pied by a pair of street dogs adopted by an em­ployee of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the agency that de­vel­oped in­ter­na­tional stan­dards for mon­i­tor­ing air qual­ity.

For those un­able get their pet into TopDog, a pol­lu­tion mask for dogs, which its mak­ers say is a world-first, will soon be com­ing to In­dia.

The K9­mask, that costs $39.99 and promises “easy air in­take for rest­ing or pant­ing”, is look­ing for an In­dian dis­trib­u­tor.

“In­dia is def­i­nitely a place ex­pe­ri­enc­ing air qual­ity prob­lems that will ben­e­fit,” said Kirby Holmes, man­ag­ing part­ner of the Good Air Team, which man­u­fac­tures the masks.

REUTERS

“Snick­ers”, a Por­tuguese Wa­ter Dog breed, stands on rub­ber tyres as his brother “Peanut” is seen in the back­ground at TopDog, a lux­ury pet re­sort in Gu­ru­gram on Thurs­day.

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