Muscat: Varsha Karnik may not really look like a typical dog whisperer and denies she is one. But she is one, at least for the rescued dogs she shelters in her house in Muscat.
This Bangalore girl spent the bulk of her young adult life in Oman, thanks to her dad who was working here. Her parents have since relocated to their home city, while Varsha is in Muscat with her rescue dogs and a rescue home, Omani Paws, which she co-founded with a friend.
Omani Paws is volunteer group that works to improve the lives of stray cats and dogs in Muscat. The group’s work in responding to stressful rescue situations involving cats and dogs has made them very popular when it comes to rescue operations for animals.
As a child, Varsha wanted to become a vet or a zookeeper, because those were the only professions that involved being around animals. Growing up in Muscat, Varsha did not have any animals around her and none of her friends had pets.
“But I always wanted to be around animals, and was never scared. My father is from a village, and all my time there was spent with the cows and dogs. I got my first dog when I lived in Bangalore, and my first job after I completed my Masters was running a dog kennel. It showed me the direction that my life was supposed to take.”
To sustain her foster dogs at home and also the group she has formed, Varsha works with a veterinary clinic. After her duty hours, Varsha spends time at home conversing with her 17 dogs and 20 cats, as well as catching up with her flicks on Netflix and updating her Instagram account.
“All the animals that are with me now are rescued ones. And I usually am partial to the ones no one else wants. I don’t care much for puppies and kittens and breeds, as they have options. I like the older, special needs, not traditionally beautiful ones. And I do have ones that I have bonded with more. I love them all, but I do like some a little extra.”
Her Instagram feeds are full of stories of the team. She wholeheartedly gives a positive nod to an adoption request.
“If any of them get a chance at a better life, I let them go. I know that living with me isn’t perfect, it is like a shelter and they deserve one-on-one love and attention. So, I am always ready to let them go. I know my animals are happy overall. They are safe and loved and my whole life revolves around them.”
For the followers of Varsha’s Instagram account, the bond between her and her animals is pretty obvious. They are not leashed and she lets them have their way of life, which in any case revolves around her movements and routine, quite literally.
One of her dogs, Oliver, is at his life’s last chapter. But his zest for life, as explained by Varsha, is still large-size. “Old age is the hardest thing to deal with where there are no fixes. It is my job as his mamma to try and make it kind. But my head and heart are burdened with this constant pain he has to go through.”