At one point of time, every pet owner has faced the conundrum of how to transport their pets safely when they can’t. Reasons can vary- it can be not getting time off from work to go pick them up or taxi drivers refusing to let the animals inside fearing the mess they might create. It is this gap in pet related services that Unikorn seeks to fill. “We provide pick up and drop for the animals to the destination in a custom taxi which has been designed in keeping with US standards. The trip starts only after we have picked up the pet,” says Eshwar Nikhil Kalapala, operations manager- India, Unikorn.
Mainly an e-commerce portal, it was launched by Hyderabadi Srivatsava Gorthy who now handles the US operations. From foods at discounted prices to pet groomers and trainers brought in from Thailand and Vietnam, their USP is the prompt delivery of the products and service right at your doorstep.
“The response has been mind-blowing. When we started out initially, we thought we may get three or four orders in a month. But we ended up getting 400 bookings for the taxi service in four months when we started. Right now we have one taxi with fans and standard size cages so the pet is comfortable through the journey, but we are planning to get two AC taxis soon since many of our customers have shown interest in it,” adds Eshwar.
With a flat rate of Rs 10/km for the pickup and drop service, the team received some 500 customers in just two months during summer and 4000 orders for food deliveries in a year. Since the search for pet clinics and parlours can take a long time, they also coordinate with pet parlours in the city and help set up appointments for grooming if the client wishes. “A complete background check is done for all grooming centre and vets. We are sort of like ‘Justdial for pets’,” says Eshwar who tells us works are on developing an app for the pet taxi service.
The bond between the pet and its owner can be a powerful one, but what if the bond becomes a truly intrinsic. The concept of telepathic animal communication is fairly new in India and is met with a fair amount of skepticism, but former MNC professional Sumathi Neelamegham hopes to introduce it here in the city. Trained as a telepathic animal communicator in Mumbai and Pune, Sumathi says telepathic communication requires no language.
“I have dealt with some 60-70 cases so far and they have all been very successful. If an animal is sad, I may ask a question in any language and the answer will be sent to my mind. There are channels by which I can communicate with them,” says Sumathi who runs the Petcetera Homestays in Manikonda.
A mindboggling concept for sure, she describes one instance where she was able to help a pet get over the grief of losing his master. “It’s a complex process and one has to really let go of their preconceived notions in order to make it work. I put myself in the owner’s shoes and think from their point of view when it comes to the requirements,” adds Sumathi who is the only certified telepathic animal communicator in the city.
She keeps all kinds of pets like guinea pigs, parrots, rabbits, cats besides dogs. Since the Homestay facility is based at her home, Sumathi has utilised the available space sensibly by using movable cubicles made from pet-friendly materials that can change according to the size of the pet and can be customised depending on the number of smaller dogs. Sumathi is also involved in adoption and rescue drives and takes in dogs who can do with some love and care.