Multi-talented, sincere and devoted to a cause, founder of Oh My Dog! Pet Salon and Spa (OMD) , Nina Joshi talks to BeBEAUTIFUL about her passion for strays, why it needs to be addressed in the city and what every pet-owner and lover should put before all else.

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A graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design and Advertising from Otis College of Art and Design in LA, Joshi worked as Graphic Designer at OK! Magazine for two years before she decided to give her talent the boot and make way for her passion. “I have always been passionate about rescuing and working for stray dogs, since I was a child. After my stint at OK! Magazine, I thought that instead of changing my job, I wanted to change my career path,” she explains. With a clear sense of which direction she wanted to steer her life in, Nina made a pro-active decision and enrolled in a basic grooming course with Absolutely Animals in London and soon after opened Oh My Dog! Pet Salon & Spa.

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“First and foremost I am following my passion. Secondly, it’s a business. Not the other way round,” reiterates Nina, who finds that the most important part about her job is to have fun, for both herself as well as her customers and clients, whom in her opinions, are the animals and not their human counterparts.

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“It is not a money driven business. I cater to strays, and no one else does”, says Nina while describing how OMD is different from other such institutes in the city. I encourage people to pick up strays and help them out—whether that’s grooming, cleaning, helping out with a needed surgery or taking them to the vet. I provide huge discounts for clients with strays."

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“Most importantly, my level of hygiene is extremely high. I steam my table and tub after every animal to ensure there is no cause or spread of ticks or germs. Plus, we have a very small business with a work force of three to four people. We are a very closely knit bunch which is really important for us so that our regular customers feel at home with no new faces coming in and going out.”

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BeBEAUTIFUL asked Nina what advice she’d give fellow pet owners. Here’s what she had to say: “Firstly, a dog is a HUGE responsibility – I cannot stress it enough, it is like having a child. If you don’t have that kind of time, do not get one.”

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“Secondly, adopt a dog. Do not buy a dog—there are tons of dogs that are being abandoned every single day—both pedigrees and strays—so please rise beyond the pretention and adopt. Do not delegate the job of looking after your pets to maids, drivers, relatives —you’ve taken the responsibility so you need to make sure you spend a certain amount of time with your pet.”

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“You need to either take your pet to a grooming salon or go to a vet or groomer and find out what you need to do for your pet. Pets need the same kind of treatment and care as you do – they have to be groomed, their nails and hair needs to be trimmed, their ears need to be cleaned, their teeth needs to be brushed and they need to be taken to the vet for regular check-ups – just like you.”

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“Brushing your dog every day is very important regardless of whether your pet has a long coat or a short coat. Regular brushing gets rid of dead hair, reduces shedding and improves blood circulation. Plus, it’s a bonding experience where you get to spend quality time with your animal.”

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OMD prides themselves on their spectacular outreach program for stray and disabled animals. Nina tells us a little bit more about the initiative. "OMD offers an extensive network of volunteers that don’t just feed the animals, but pick them up and take them to vets, follow up with their treatment plans, find them homes and if not, then they put them back on the streets, in safer neighbourhoods."

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Our volunteers also donate for the cause, because no matter what you give, whether it’s ₹100 or ₹1000, it goes somewhere. If you want to help but can’t offer your home, there is a lot more you can do. Start off by always keeping a packet of food in your car and feed the animals in your society. If everyone could just take care of the animals outside their own compounds, the animals would be well taken care of. And of course, be active on social media groups that are dedicated to the cause. Spread the message around and you’ve helped enough.

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Lastly, we asked her what were the best ways in which we can pamper our pooches, to which the animal-lover responded: “Give them tons of treats, give them time off the leash in the garden, shower them with attention and love every day and once in a while allow them cuddle time on your bed. They deserve it!”

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If you have any further questions related to either your pooch or how you can keep the strays off the streets write to us in the comment section below and we’ll get Nina to answer them for you!

Oh My Dog! Pet Salon & Spa. Ram Nivas, Plot No. 46/A, Shop No. 6, King’s Circle, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, 400 019. Tue-Sun (10:00AM – 7:30 PM) # 09820643128