How do you identify an animal-lover and pet-owner amongst the people you meet? Those who tell stories about their beloved cats and dogs to break the ice when talking to strangers are an obvious choice. Well, it’s true! Those of us who are attached to our pets, make their hairballs and regurgitated sofa bits or doll heads our priorities — we find ways to interject graphic details of Milo’s diets in any and every conversation. Shivani Patel and Juhi Sharma’s shared love for animals is exactly what inspired them to start ‘Furry Tails’, a Facebook photo-blog and community that is for pet owners, an animal equivalent of what ‘Humans of New York’ is to humans.
“Juhi and I grew up together and are best friends. In fact, my dog Fido, who passed away, was the one who taught her to open up to dogs,” Shivani starts. “Just a couple of months back, I was missing Fido while playing with Simba, his son. I texted Juhi about it, and she immediately suggested that we write about it.” It was something Juhi always wanted to do — “I am a filmmaker and photographer because I wanted to tell stories. The joy that pets bring to our lives is more than anything material.”
While they had a list of people they wanted to talk to, it was put on hold as their work took them to various places, where they stumbled upon people and their animals. Just recently, Shivani’s brand, ‘Arture’, had a stall at Sunday Soul Sante in Bengaluru, allowing them to talk to pet-owners who brought their dogs to the event.
Juhi is currently in Manali where she met a travelling hip-hop artist from Goa in a café there. “She has a pup that she takes along everywhere. The two of them have been hitch-hiking and literally live hand-to-mouth! The bond they shared brought me to tears — she has him and he has her,” says Juhi.
Just over a month old, the blog will soon be adding New Delhi to the list of places as well. The first story told was Shivani’s, we are told, followed by a three-part series of her friend Shrutilaya Ramanathan’s family and their four cats Yoda, Qoco, Qupid and Dobby. Another story is of a woman who was inspired by her dog to start a training centre for animals! Shivani adds, “I imagine all of this developing into a coffee table book that people can read through and inspire people just like ‘Humans of New York.’”
Where do they see the blog going in the future? “Furry Tails aligns with Shivani’s vision to write and my vision to tell stories, as well as do some good. The pictures make it personal because they are a beautiful medium for storytelling. We want people to adopt pets of their own,” Juhi concludes....