Ever since she was seven, Preeti Narayanan knew she wanted to be surrounded by dogs and do something for them. “My mother tells me that I used to pick up injured and abandoned pups and bring them home,” says Preeti, Founder of Windward Kennels, Bengaluru.
Close to the time she was finishing school, Preeti got a Golden Retriever home and she remembers her mother clearly telling her that the pup would be her responsibility. And that was perhaps the beginning of things to come. She took quality care of them and eventually bred them too. She also successfully managed to find home for her puppies and that indeed was a lot of encouragement for a first-timer, Preeti recalls.
With a background in Advertising and the digital space, she dabbled with a corporate career for close to eight years. It was a chance meeting with her mentor Gita Surendran, a Golden Retriever breeder that she realized that it is indeed possible to have a career centred around them.
That is precisely when she decided to take the plunge and start up.
I realized that I was into a corporate career which did not interest me. I was driving to work and getting back everyday but not enjoying my work at all,
says Preeti who was mother to five pets already by then.
Her affinity for the Wire Haired Dachshund
Sally, a wedding gift from mentor Gita Surendran, was a member of the Wire haired Dachshund breed. Sally was reason enough for Preeti to fall in love with this breed. “They are such friendly dogs and equally cute too. The match clicked and it was simple – I started up Windward Kennels,” says Preeti, who thought the switch was very natural.
Though she initially thought it was a little odd on her part to quit a handsome-paying corporate job, people around her were not surprised. With the kennel up in place, she had to move out from her apartment to an open house in Yelahanka. “There used to be a time when I could not see human faces for days together as we were so removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. I would however say it has been all worth it,” says a delighted Preeti, currently a pet parent to 14 dogs!
From taking care of the little, furry creatures to being a breeder, Preeti slowly learnt it all and has today come a long way after being with her little ones for a decade now.
A thorough background and reality check before Preeti’s pups go out for adoption
Preeti believes that all pups are her kids and she has taken it upon herself to do a thorough background check on the families before she hands over ‘pets’ to them.
Often I have seen that people just want to take pets home just for the sake of it. If the person who would be handed over the pet, does not know how to take basic care of them, I do not allow my pups to go with them.
As a rule, Preeti meets all family members and interacts with them to get a fair understanding of their capability to raise a pup well.
Preeti’s association with Cessna
It was when she met a veterinary doctor from Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Care Clinic that was to be another turning point in her life. He told her to learn basic medical treatment to handle medical emergencies.
The rest, as they say, is history. Preeti got hooked to vet care and picked up the basics of medication from the hospital experts. She admits that it does take a certain bent of mind and objectivity to get engaged in such work. “At the end of the day, you are working with sick animals, you must know how to handle and calm them. Each death is a tragedy which hits you hard,” says Preeti. Today, Preeti works as a veterinary surgical assistant at Cessna. It has been three years already and she is enjoying every bit of it, she confesses.
As a vet surgical assistant, a niche sector in India, Preeti is in-charge of the Operation Theatre and looks mainly into pre and post-operative procedures and also tends to the sick animals.
Going ahead, Preeti wants to start a nursing facility for dogs, post a major illness or surgery.
Support from family
Preeti says she is lucky to have got enough support at all stages to do her independent thing. “It is my choice and the pups are all my responsibility but the fantastic support that I have got from my family has ensured that everything has fallen in place,” she says.
So much so that her two kids, aged 12 and 8, now share her responsibility of feeding the pups. Preeti is a contented mother and is happy with the fact that her kids are growing up with the pups, something she too enjoyed as a kid.