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Old 31st May 2021, 17:37   #1
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Default Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

Tales of Shadow The Dog



Owing a pet is akin to having a child. ‘Be careful!’ said everyone. ‘It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. How will you be able to manage your life with a pet around! Both you work so how will you find time for yourself and your pet. Did you know having a pet is the end of personal time’ and so on it went.

For my wife and I however, having a pet was something which we have been talking about since the days we were dating; well over a decade ago. As working professionals and a DINK family, we were always caught up in the flow: home-work-home-vacation-home. While we were both settled in our professional pursuits, my wife was slowly leaning towards quitting her job and taking a sabbatical from the professional space.

Then one day, out of the blue, she showed me a Facebook post of an organization called YODA (Youth in Defense of Animals) located in Mumbai. What we saw in the post made our heart melt. A puppy; an Indie-Labrador Retriever mix (that was what we were initially told and believed!) who was shunted from home to home was waiting to be adopted. On the spur of the moment, we drove down to their animal shelter (erstwhile located in Khar and now shifted to Bandra, Mumbai) to meet the puppy. The first interaction, the first sniff, the first tail wag was an affirmation that this is it! This is the boy we want to call our own.

2 weeks later, we got him home. It’s been 5 years now and Shadow our dog has enriched our lives in multitude of ways, far too many to even write about. We were told he is mixed breed but as he grew up, he turned out to be a European working line German Shepherd. Along the way, my wife quit her 9AM-6PM office and got her herself certified (nationally and internationally) as a dog trainer and a behaviorist. Life has never been the same since.

Shadow has guided our numerous decisions. Buying a car was one of them. My wife had a Hyundai Getz Prime GLV (Petrol) which was dispatched to Bangalore with her sister after her marriage and we were looking around to buy a car. Having a dog, especially a large breed and no car is just troublesome. Ola and Uber flatly refuse seeing a black GSD and he would soon grow too big to fit in an autorickshaw. Our first purchase was a second-hand Polo GT TSI which we used for about 3 years till the famous (or should I say infamous) dry clutch DQ200 started giving us immense trouble. Without warranty we soon knew there was no way we could keep her running. Soon he anyway outgrew the rear seat and we were back in the hunt for a car spacious enough for him, would let us take him places which a low-slung sedan or a hatchback couldn’t (The GT undercarriage was scraped to kingdom come over some of the bad roads we had to take to find a place for Shadow to run around and be free in nature) and would be a practical buy without burning a hole in our pockets.

As I suffer from multiple slip discs, an automatic was a must. After much deliberations we zeroed in on the TATA Nexon ZXA+ AMT Diesel and man what a purchase our ‘Lola’ has been.

Lola Coming Home

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Why Lola has been a boon for us:
  • Spacious rear bench for Shadow to chill, stand, sleep during long drives
  • Excellent ground clearance enabling us to take him to places which low slung sedans and hatchbacks cannot. (We have waded through slush and streams, driven across fields and through farm ruts, followed tractor tread marks all without fuss)
  • Adequate boot space – For every 1 bag we pack for ourselves, Shadow has 2 (from food to toys to bedsheets and the list goes on)
  • Love the torquey diesel motor and the excellent mileage enabling us to travel carefree even to locations where petrol pumps may not be easily accessible
  • The 8-speaker Harman entertainment setup is a pleasure to listen to on long drives
  • Android Auto makes navigation a bliss
  • Planted, sturdy performance on highways and well-mannered performance on rocky, broken terrain
  • Excellent air conditioning for those long drives. Shadow completely appreciates it.

Now that we had a car that was perfect for Shadow, the next conundrum we faced was the SHEER LACK of pet friendly establishments. Do note, pet friendly establishments have recently mushroomed which a few years back were a rarity, barring a few options. Now with Airbnb being our best friend, we no longer have a dearth of options for pet vacations. As many of us fellow TBHPians will be pet owners, and I thought I’d pen down our experiences, our travel checklists and share a few of our favourite places to take Shadow around Mumbai for a vacation.

Please bear with me for this extremely long post, however for one to make the right decision to take their pet to safe, comfortable locations, I thought I would be best to be as detailed as possible.

Booking the perfect place!
We follow a strict protocol when we travel with Shadow. A black German Shepherd automatically conjures up visions of an aggressive dog. While he is definitely isn’t aggressive (definitely not towards our 4 pet cats), his breed is that of a guard dog and breed specific traits are something that cannot be eliminated. For example, he is cautious around new folks and around cattle. Hence some of the basic filters we always apply are as follows:
  • Book a place to ourselves
  • Fenced in property to ensure no ingress of stray animals (dogs and cattle)
  • Caretaker should not live on the property as far as possible.
  • Meals (basic chicken and rice) are an option we can order
  • No ridiculous rules which a few Airbnb homes have like dogs are not allowed inside the main house and have to be kept outside either in kennels (which are basically cages) or chained up
  • No resident strays on property

Packing for Shadow:
  • Multiple bedsheets. We always make it a point to carry fresh sheets for him to ensure he does not soil the ones provided by the establishment with mud and paw prints
  • Multiple towels for drying him after swims
  • A mattress for him to sleep on
  • Separate water and food bowls
  • His harness and multiple collars (multiple as Shadow loves swimming) and leashes
  • Adequate backup food – Always ensuring for each meal we have a backup
  • His favourite toys – Don’t leave home on a vacation without them 😊
  • Car vacuum cleaner – Shadow carries back nature with him wherever he goes
  • His medical kit – Shadow suffers from a condition known as IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). Also, the places we like to take him are as close or in nature as possible. To ensure we are able to respond to absolutely any situation, his medical bag is fully kitted. I have volunteered for a year during my sabbatical with my veterinary doctor and she has taught me the basics of animal care, diagnosis and treatment of usual challenges one may come across. I am listing down some of the medication we always carry.

PLEASE NOTE – Never give medications to your pet without the prior consent of your vet. Dogs as per breed, age and other factors are allergic to certain medications and the list below is what has been approved for Shadow. Please consult your veterinarian before medicating your dog. Never self-medicate your dog.
  1. Secure tablet and Enterochronic powder – To treat diarrhea and stomach upsets
  2. Meloxicam tablets - for pain management
  3. Gabapentin tablets
  4. Doxypet 100/300 mg – his recommended antibiotic
  5. Iopaint – Povidone Iodine 5% antimicrobial spray for cuts
  6. Topicure spray – For wound healing
  7. Sterile medical gauze patches and gauze rolls – For covering severe cuts and injuries
  8. Sterile cotton
  9. Any other prescription medication which he is on
All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go:
We always try and leave as early in the morning as possible to beat the heat and to ensure we get to spend maximum time at the place we are headed to. The only stops we do are bio breaks for Shadow and for breakfast along the way. Otherwise, it’s usually a non-stop mode of travel. Being a water baby, Shadow loves swimming so most of our favourite haunts are near rivers, lakes or the beach. There is no better joy than seeing him frolic around in water and nature. Living in the urban chaos that is Mumbai, rarely does he get to be what he is – a dog. In nature his true traits perk up and it is an absolute joy to watch him explore his surroundings. Perks of having a dog trainer at home is that his control commands like recall (very essential especially if you are planning to leave your pet off leash), stay, leave and such are as good as they can get.

Thankfully Mumbai is blessed with access to beautiful beaches and places within a 200 km radius where we have been lucky to find some pet friendly gems. I am listing down our 3 favourite places which have always welcomed Shadow with open arms.

PLEASE NOTE:
The listings and information shared below reflect my personal experiences and I am in no way connected or draw any kind of benefits (monetary or otherwise) from sharing the details below. I have no affiliation with any of the below places and my only endeavour is to help pet parents find a space wherein they can have a good time. All images shared herein have been taken by me unless specified otherwise

1) Casa Piccola – Talegaon

An idyllic compact cottage tucked away in an expansive 45 acre farm and orchard a mere 15 mins from the Talegaon exit of the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

Owned and run by Heena who is a pet parent herself, the Casa has always been our go-to hideaway; not just for the beautiful expanses of fruit orchards and fields for Shadow to run around and explore, but also for the proximity to the Indrayani river (5 mins drive) and fuss free hospitality.

The Space:
The Casa is a one-bedroom cottage located on a working farm. A long winding road from the main gate takes you through the orchards and fields to the cottage. Access to the cottage is via a wooden bridge over a small culvert which transforms into an amazing stream in the rains. Entering the Casa, you are greeted with a fully furnished living room with a fully kitted kitchen. The kitchen has all the necessities: from a microwave and oven to a fully functioning gas range, a refrigerator and associated crockery and cutlery. Also available is a full bar setup with glassware for straight up drinks, wines, cocktails and mixers. A barbeque set is also available for those who would like to spend their evenings in a cookout. A separate space for bonfires is also provided as it gets chilly during winter nights. A fully functional refrigerator and a RO system complete the setup. Tea and coffee powder, sugar, green tea etc. is also provided.

The bedroom is spacious with a double bed and on request, additional mattresses can be laid out to sleep 4-5 pax comfortably. The en-suite bathroom is beautifully appointed with a full-size bathtub and a glass shower stall. Toiletries are provided by the host and so are clean linen and towels.

A spacious lawn is located at the back of the cottage with seating arrangement for you to take your morning tea or coffee listening to birdcalls and enjoying the breeze. We have encountered peacocks here on one occasion as well.

Exterior - The Casa

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The Kitchen

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Living Room

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Bedroom and Bathroom (source: Airbnb)

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Rear Lawn (source: Airbnb)

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Food:
Food can be ordered via the caretaker. Meals are basic but fulfilling. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian options are available. Breakfast is included in the tariff. The meals are not heavy on the stomach and are perfect in quantity. Orders for the next meals are to be placed at the time of the preceding meals. The tasty and homely food has never missed the mark. Pricing is decent and will not burn a hole in your wallet. However please note that 3 cycles of meals (B-L-D) are all that you will get. Evening snacks et al are not available. There are a few snack joints bang on the highway near DY Patil College where you turn off to go towards the Casa where snacks and other refreshments are available. We have gotten snacks from there and have faced zero issues.

Basic meals for pets can be arranged. It’s best to inform Heena and the caretaker in advance. We however carry our own chicken and prepare it in the kitchen.

Hospitality:
Heena is a gem of a host and has always been communicative and helpful with our requirements. Casa is almost our second home and we treat it as such as we have tons of beautiful memories here. Small things like ensuring there is chilled water, ice and milk available for each guest shows the attention to detail.

The best part about the Casa is that once booked, you simply need to arrive and drive down to the cottage. And That’s It. The caretaker will only come if required and if summoned for any requirement. The only company otherwise is the buzz of the birds and the wind rustling through the trees. Absolute privacy is ensured. The caretaker stays in a small home at the main gate and is always accessible via phone calls. We ensure during our stay that he calls prior to coming as Shadow is off leash. High speed WIFI via a Jio dongle is available for connectivity as there is network challenge in parts of the cottage. This is a no fuss space and everything is available at your fingertip.

Things to do:
There are mango and chikoo orchards to one side and a slope that merges with the river basin at the other. Although the river is visible from the Casa, there is no direct access. Plenty of walking trails branch out from the boundary for those who would like to take their morning or evening walks.

Walking trail:

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Shadow enjoys the orchards the most as he has a free run of the entire place. Here is where we truly let him off leash and not bother. The property is fully fenced and safe for such excursions. Shadow knows the lay of the land so well that he explores on his own and returns to the Casa as he pleases. Never have we had to worry about his safety.

Shadow exploring the orchards

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Our days are spend lounging around the Casa and the evening at the river bank. A kutcha road leads form the main farm gate towards the river. After passing a temple on the left, the road curves and here we have on more than one occasion seen peacocks scurrying around! The last 100 meters is fully broken with big stones strewn about.

You may park your car here or if you have a car with sufficient ground clearance go down the slope over rocks and gravel till the edge of the river. Low slung cars beware. On more than one occasion, I have seen and heard dangerous scrapes as some of the rocks are uneven, pointed and angular.

The riverside is pristine and beautiful. You will see signs of civilizations including the occasional overnight bonfire/party patch of the villagers but it is mostly clean. The river has a persistent current and is deep so do swim with caution. No flotsam or rubbish or such here. The villagers regularly fish here. There are multiple points to go right to the water’s edge.

For Shadow this is the highlight of the stay here. He swims for hours on end and enjoys every second here. During the rains, the river is in spate and definitely not recommended for swimming. The places where you can park during summers are completely submerged during the rains.

Road to the riverbank:

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Shadow's favourite part of the vacation

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Lola snapped at the riverside

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Time to Visit:
Each season brings out a different charm of the Casa. Summers is all about the multitude of birds and hours of endless swims for Shadow. Rains are to enjoy the sheer abundance of greenery all around with misty mornings and cool breezy days. Winters bring out the chilled early morning and bonfire worthy evenings. Each season has its own flavor.

Pet Rules:
There are no rules per se. Every pet owner is responsible for the wellbeing of his/her pet and to ensure no damage occurs on account of them. Pets have full access to the entire property. Do take care of small breed dogs as the wraparound balcony is at a height and there are places for smaller dogs to slip and fall.

Booking: Casa Piccola is available on Airbnb


2) C House by the Sea

If you are looking out for a space that blends cozy architecture with lip smacking food, impeccable hospitality surrounded by hills and fields, look no further. C House by the Sea owned and managed by Savithri Choudury is a pet friendly gem of a place.

The Space:
Located beyond the usually crowded Kashid beach is a small village of Sarve and beyond that, is the C House. Located in a 3-acre organic farm surrounded by hills on one side and fields on the other, C House blends modern architecture and hospitality into a beautiful package. The Phansand Wildlife Sanctuary lies beyond the hills and rolling farmland on the other side complete the scenery.

The house is divided into 2 separate sections. The dining area which is open on 3 sides and attached to the kitchen. The living area which features 3 fully equipped bedrooms are located on 2 levels. The hallmark of the C House is its big expansive deck under the canopy of mango trees laid out with perfect seating options and with cushions. We have had hours and hours of conversations and fun times here. The deck is attached to a massive living area and a bedroom on level one. Steps lead to 2 additional bedrooms on the lower level. The use of stone shines through keeping the space cool during the height of summers and comfortable during winters. Wooden partitions that double up as walls can be opened up to the outside creating that stellar ambiance.

Exterior

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Living Room and Deck (source: Airbnb)

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The bedrooms are fully functional with air conditioners and coolers. Clean linen and basic toiletries are provided. The bathrooms are spacious and 2 bathrooms feature a bathtub which is handmade (I think IPS and clay has been used to make this). An expansive lawn with seating arrangement makes for an excellent play space for kids and pets. A thoughtful addition is a shower and a washroom right at the entrance to wash off the sea before you enter the home. The property is fenced in barring the backside which is now unfenced as work is being carried out in the fields. Smaller children and pets are best not left unattended.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms (source: Airbnb)

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Food:
The caretaker and the 2 maushis who help him dole out some of the most authentic and delicious Maharashtrian costal food I have ever had. You name it they will cook it. Fish is bought right off the daily market (which is fresh off the boats) and so is the chicken and mutton. Vegetables are plucked from their own and neighbouring fields. Spices are from their own garden. All in all, each and every meal here has been a gastronomical adventure. Once we went so far to ask for puranpolis for dessert and BANG! We had the most amazingly soft, handmade and homemade puranpolis I have ever had in my life. And in sufficient quantity per head to be a meal in itself. Same went with steamed modaks. Breakfast choices are varied from upma, to poha to missal pav and so on. The highlight however is the freshly baked pav from the local bakery! Drool!

Vegetarians aren’t left out of the entire mix. Our troop is a mix of diehard vegetarian and non-vegetarians and never has there been any complaints of the food served. The taste, freshness and the crunch of the vegetables is to die for. The cucumbers and tomatoes have a flavour that is unnatural. Oh, how we are missing the best in Mumbai! Sigh. Meals are served in a thali format. Please do inform them of your preference in advance as main ingredients are sourced on a daily basis early in the morning.

Evening snacks with your drinks?! No problem. All you need is to just ask. They will always prepare with a smile and it is evident in the food they serve you. Do note, the women preparing the meals stay in the village and leave by 10PM to best to have your last meal by then. The caretaker however has been always kind to accommodate our late meal habits

Basic meals i.e., chicken and rice for your pets can been prepared by the staff. They are more than happy to help you with the same.

The Food (source: Airbnb)

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Hospitality:
In one word: world-class. C House pampers you. In every way imaginable. Sabi as she is fondly called by her friends is always available on call and over WhatsApp for any requirements. The caretaker and the cooks are empowered by her to serve the guests to the best possible extent. They are stakeholders in the property, and not just caretakers and cooks. And this approach shines through. Everything is either available or can be made available (within limits). Thoughtful touches like a separate mini fridge on the deck to cool alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, special requirements/meals for infants (yes, we have travelled here with a 6-month-old baby), unobtrusive yet always available staff make up for a perfect stay.

What’s best is that you feel right at home here. This is beyond a mere Airbnb or a homestay. C House exudes warmth and happiness. From lounging under the mango tree at night with fairy lights shining through to chilling in the lawn with your favourite beverage; every nook and cranny at the C House is meant to the enjoyed. The warmth of the staff just adds onto the perfect experience. And we have been here multiple times. Never have we had a complaint. This includes trips with infants, toddlers, multiple pets together and in groups ranging from 4 to 11.

Things to do:
5 minutes from the village and on the opposite side of the road is the famous Kashid beach. Thankfully the beach end near where the C House is located isn’t the crowded, commercialized, water sports end of the beach. Yes, there are a number of shacks where meals, beverages etc. are available, but thankfully they are located on top and one needs to take steps to come down to the beach.

I have 2 favourite beaches on this stretch: Nandgaon (a pretty fishing village ahead of Kashid which has a beach that is clean and isolated) and Kashid. Numerous reviews and complaints have been made of how this beach is being overrun by garbage et al. Yes. There are morons who believe that trashing absolutely any place is their birthright, however there are still patches of beach where you won’t find the Signature bottle or Pepsi can in the sand. Recently on account of the lockdown the local gram panchayat has carried out an extensive beach clean-up and our trip in February confirms that. The beach was clean! And HOW!

The waters of Kashid beach are mellow yet do watch out for rip currents. It is best not to wade in deep into the water. The silver sands and the clean water is forever an enticing call. Shadow loves chasing waves and when he can muster the courage follows up into the sea. He is otherwise perfectly content at barking and chasing the breakers and digging for crabs in the sand. If you haven’t seen sand being cleaned from a wet GSD who has been lying down and digging; well, it’s a wonder. Shadow carries half the beach back to C House and then back to Mumbai.

Shadow at the beach

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Time to Visit:
Summers and winters are the best times of the year to visit the C House. Monsoon brings with it torrential rains and is not the ideal time to come here.

Pet Rules:
Approximately INR 350 is charged as pet cleaning fees and there are no other rules. Pet owners need to ensure that their pet is well behaved and does not soil the interior of the C House or cause any kind of damage. There are no restrictions otherwise.

Booking: C House by the Sea is available on Airbnb

3) Raanjai - Mulshi

Stone construction, open architecture, a beautiful wrap around terrace and a river gushing next door.; Raanjai welcomes you with open arms. The home of Sonali Dhotre, a landscape artist, Raanjai is a gem of solitude and disconnection. With its beautiful lily ponds, stone walls and a throwback to the wada style of architecture, Raanjai is as beautiful as it is secluded.

The Space:
Located on the road towards Mulshi Dam, Raanjai is a compact bungalow constructed in the typical waada style of architecture. The first thing that welcomes you to Raanjai is an imposing wooden door studded with iron rivets and copper knobs. The door is heavy and instantly sets the tone for the rest of the property. Being a landscape artist herself Sonali has multiple projects under her belt. Being an ardent conservationist and nature lover, Raanjai is bursting with plants, flowers, amphibians and all manner of creature life all year round.

A compact and small lawn beyond the door leads up to the main wooden door reminiscent of the erstwhile constructions found in innumerable villages of India. Two beautiful lily ponds and a swing complete the outdoor ambiance of the space.

Ranjaai Exteriors

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Enter Raanjai and you have a kitchen that is fully kitted out and separated from the main space by beautiful wooden dividers adorned with stain glass. The kitchen is basic yet fully functional with a gas range, provisions of basic masalas and condiments, crockery and cutlery, a refrigerator and bar glassware. Microwave is not available. The highlight of the living area is the floor to ceiling rough wall made of interlocking bricks that is constructed in a way to let ample light and breeze fill the house. A central space made of pebbles and gravel gives the space a rustic vibe. Little nooks created in the stone walls can hold tea light which when lit in the evening, transform the entire ambiance of the space (Do refer the pic below). Comfortable wooden furniture, rustic lights made of multicolored glass give it a classy yet sophisticated vibe.

Living Room

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Raanjai has 2 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. Basic toiletries and clean linen are provided. Both the bathrooms have handmade tubs fashioned out of local materials (I suspect clay and IPS coating). A small window once opened, gives you wafting breeze while soaking in the tub yet ensures complete privacy. One bedroom has a double bed while the other has 2 independent cots that can be joined together. Both bathrooms have running water with hot water facility available.

Bedroom and Bathroom (source: Airbnb)

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A spiral staircase takes you up to the expansive terrace and here is where we spent most of our time during our stay at Raanjai. Offering limitless views of the fields and the mountains, the terrace is the place to be for long conversations over your favourite beverages and to chill in the evenings. There is even fully functional weight training equipment for the fitness inclined. A bar setup, comfy cane chairs and a glass center table completes the layout.

The Terrace

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Despite being just off the main road, the area sees very little traffic during the day and is ‘deathly’ silent during the night. And I mean pin drop silence occasionally punctuated by the village dogs barking nearby. There is next to zero road traffic post 8 PM and it may get unnerving for certain folks who are used to the constant din of civilization. The terrace opens up the skies to the disconcerting sky gazer and Sonali was kind enough to setup her Newtonian telescope for us. The property is fully fenced in and a boon for pet parents.
The compact lawn and complete fencing allowed Shadow to roam about and have fun throughout the day. A long internal road leading the main road which is lined with empty plots on both sides allowed ample space for Shadow to explore at his leisure.

Food:
The caretaker and his family prepare delectable, wholesome and homemade food. As the caretaker stays in the neighbouring village, food requirements are to be communicated in advance. The food prepared was perfect in quantity and in taste. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian options are available. A variety of preparations can be requested for within limits. As he does not stay on the property and about 4-5 kms away, its best to clearly state expectations.

That being said, never once were we dissatisfied by the meals he provided. And this without pinching our pockets in anyway. All meals were scrumptious and made with locally sourced ingredients. The taste and the flavours were perfect.

Meals are delivered in tiffins at the pre agreed upon time. Food for your pets can be requested. Do note the same will be basic i.e., chicken and rice. Any specific dietary requirements will need to be taken care of by the pet parent.

Hospitality:
Sonali as a host is a gem. She is one of the few hosts who will go out of her way to make you feel at home. A handwritten welcome card on the table was the perfect welcome we could have every gotten. She is warm, communicative and helps potential guests in every way possible.

The Welcome:

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The caretaker is meticulous in his approach. Since he does not stay close by, the first 15 mins spent was almost a SOP of the home. He walked us through the security measures (there are multiple CCTV cameras and a home anti-burglary alarm on account of the isolated location), the switches for the submersible pump, the working of the inverter and the overhead pumps and general dos and don’ts of the property. He ensures every request is fulfilled and is calm mannered, patient and extremely helpful.

Never once did we feel anything was missing despite the location of Raanjai. We had a power outage which lasted for better part of half a day, however he was in constant touch with us with updates and personally coordinated with the local authorities to ensure power was back up at the earliest. Raanjai has that cozy, warm and lived in feeling. The sort of home that welcomes you with open arms and wants you to have a good time. After months of lockdown, this was our first getaway in October 2020 and we could not have picked a better location.

Things to do:
Kick back your feet and laze. That’s all you should do at Raanjai. Owing to its location, there is absolutely nothing to do here besides listen to the sound of the breeze and the constant chirp of innumerable birds that visit Raanjai; from bee eaters to kingfishers to drongos, birdlife is aplenty. Raanjai is located on the road towards Mulshi Dam and one can chose to visit, however my recommendation is that Raanjai should be visited to do absolutely nothing. To peace out and disconnect and laze your day and evenings away.

The walks

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Morning Views

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Time to Visit:
Raanjai can be enjoyed in all seasons. While the stone construction helps beat the Pune heat and the empty surroundings ensure adequate wind throughout the day, it does get warm in summers. Do note, there are no air conditioners here. Rains bring out the true beauty of the fields and the area surrounding Raanjai with an abundance of color and cool breeze through the day. Winters are cozy and can get nippy.

Pet Rules:
There are no specific pet rules. All owners have to ensure that their pet does not soil or dirty the place and does not cause damage. Sonali is very accommodating and she was honestly happy that Shadow had a ball of a time here.

Raanjai can be booked on Airbnb

I hope these listings will help you plan your next trip with your pet and you can have some memorable times like I have had. I will be more than happy to help you with any additional queries you may have on the above places.

I will keep on adding more adventures of Shadow as we have them!

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And Finally a BIG thank you from Shadow for reading!

Last edited by akshaydandekar : 1st June 2021 at 16:31. Reason: Image broken links correction
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Old 1st June 2021, 00:09   #2
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Default re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

Hi Akshay,

It’s is so good to see shadow playing on the beach. I also am a pet parent for last 7 years. I have had 4 pets in these seven years. All rescued. Currently I am a proud parent to Rocky (4 years) and Bruno (7 years). I also enjoy rescue work and volunteering. Dogs are amazing companion and they make you such a better person.
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Old 2nd June 2021, 07:37   #3
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Default re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd June 2021, 10:19   #4
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

He is beautiful! Thank you for sharing! Wishing you many more adventures with Shadow and Lola!
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Old 2nd June 2021, 10:29   #5
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

Along the way, my wife quit her 9AM-6PM office and got her herself certified (nationally and internationally) as a dog trainer and a behaviorist. Life has never been the same since.
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If you do not mind, could you share a few details about how to become a dog trainer and behaviorist? Is there an institute offering such courses? How long does it typically take to complete this course?
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Old 2nd June 2021, 11:42   #6
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

Thank you Arun. Will share more travelogues as they happen. Shadow is our reason to travel and explore and there are many more adventures waiting to happen.

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He is beautiful! Thank you for sharing! Wishing you many more adventures with Shadow and Lola!
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Old 2nd June 2021, 11:48   #7
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

There are many such courses in India. My wife got her training done by Shirin Merchant, who runs Canines Can Care. She teaches and certifies folks via her courses.

Her international certification was done under John Rogerson, one of the leading canine trainers in the world who used to conduct training sessions in India.

You may find additional details on their respective websites.


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Along the way, my wife quit her 9AM-6PM office and got her herself certified (nationally and internationally) as a dog trainer and a behaviorist. Life has never been the same since.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you do not mind, could you share a few details about how to become a dog trainer and behaviorist? Is there an institute offering such courses? How long does it typically take to complete this course?
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Old 2nd June 2021, 14:47   #8
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

@akshaydandekar - Beautifully written travelogue - makes your mind feel calm and serene as you read through it and see the pictures. Have been wanting to go and stay at such amazing homestays since the 2nd lockdown began - but due to 'drastic salary re-adjustments and having an infant at home has meant we have been on a "Save" mode.

Being first-time parents, we also have been a little jittery and would prefer having a pediatrician around if possible. The first chance I get, I am going to jump into my Verna (which has been lying idle for more than a year now) and take off to either of the above-mentioned properties.

Your travelogue comes at a very appropriate time. Keep writing. Have shared the link to a friend who is also a pet-parent (2 kids) and keeps looking out for pet-friendly resorts.
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Old 2nd June 2021, 20:04   #9
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

An absolute Pet-Parent's delight !
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Old 2nd June 2021, 20:31   #10
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Originally Posted by ThePatientMan View Post
Your travelogue comes at a very appropriate time. Keep writing. Have shared the link to a friend who is also a pet-parent (2 kids) and keeps looking out for pet-friendly resorts.
Thank you so much for the compliments and thank you for reading my rather lengthy post. Really appreciate it. Raanjai is quite close to main Pune and the host would definitely help you out with such information if needed. Casa is a little further out and it would take about an hour to reach Pune if required. C House is in Kashid proper. My recommendation is that do stay in touch with the respective hosts for such specific queries. Knowing them, they will happy help you! Will be happy to help your friend if he/she requires first hand details of any sorts!

Last edited by aah78 : 2nd June 2021 at 20:35. Reason: Quote trimmed.
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Old 2nd June 2021, 20:38   #11
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

Awesome. Brilliant. Wish you many more happy moments with Shadow.

We have a 2 yr old pure bred Lab Retriever and he is absolutely adorable. We are so grateful that he has come in to our lives. Cant imagine a moment without him. He never misses a chance to hop in to our Subaru Outback for those drives.
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Old 2nd June 2021, 20:56   #12
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Awesome. Brilliant. Wish you many more happy moments with Shadow.

We have a 2 yr old pure bred Lab Retriever and he is absolutely adorable. We are so grateful that he has come in to our lives. Cant imagine a moment without him. He never misses a chance to hop in to our Subaru Outback for those drives.
Hey Saurabh, thank you so much for the wishes. I see you stay in Canada. You would have access to some amazing places to take your Lab to, especially amidst nature. One of my plan in the making is to travel with Shadow all the way to Uttarakhand for him to experience snow. Hope the plan happens soon
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Old 2nd June 2021, 21:02   #13
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

Brilliant thread and very refreshing indeed.
Shadow makes the entire episode even more adventurous.
Look forward to more such adventurous trips threads with the K9.

Last edited by ARAY : 2nd June 2021 at 21:04.
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Old 2nd June 2021, 21:06   #14
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

Lovely writeup Akshay, and you've helped us out with our next holiday locations, as well.
Very nice offbeat places, I think I'm looking forward to visiting all 3 once the situation normalizes a bit, and travel is legally allowed. Right now, all we can do is read your amazing travelogues and drool.

Shadow is a very handsome dog. Good luck!
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Old 3rd June 2021, 03:43   #15
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Default Re: Tales of Shadow The Dog | Travels with my black German Shepherd

This is a fantastic writeup, Akshay.

It encompasses so many things I love. Loving dogs, rustling leaves of orchards, gurgling streams, losing oneself in the waves of the sea and finding oneself gazing up at the stars. And of course, a vibrant car to get to these places in comfort.

You have managed to write, quite beautifully at that, about being an excellent pet parent, connoisseur at staycation and taking the time to pause life to take in the sights and smells of nature, to live.

The pictures are wonderful but are rendered redundant by your verbal descriptions. And the reviews of the venues definitely belong on their best testimonials sections if not on Airbnb's ads. Excellent job all around.

Thank you for sharing your lovely experiences and taking me and other BHPians on a journey to such tranquil places in such trying times as these.

Look forward to seeing more adventures of Shadow as he takes you along to beautiful places, being not just an excuse but the very driving force to connect with nature.
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