Divya Dugar has two dogs who love to travel as much as she does. And her Instagram feed is to crush over! She says that travelling with her furry friends has completely changed her perspective on travelling and helped her rediscover India.
"I had three dogs, and now two," says Divya, a freelance journalist based in Delhi. "I rescued them all when I was living in Nizamuddin West. Tigress and Pondi were my office dogs. When the office closed, they were back on the road and just kept waiting for the door to open. They were young pups back then of eight and four months. I couldn't see that, so I decided to take them in and make them my family," she says. "Marcopolo was the last entry, he is Pondi's pup and the most spoiled of the lot."
When her dog Pondi passed away last year, Divya, along with her husband, decided to travel with Tigress and Marcopolo as a way to spend more time on the road as a family and to create awareness about rescuing and adopting Indian dogs.
Ask her if it is difficult to travel with two dogs in India and she will tell you that India is not the most pet-friendly country in the world. That, however, doesn't mean that positive experiences are hard to come by.
"Yes, there are a lot of people who mock us or laugh at us. It is hard sometimes to hire a car or rent a car, as people do not want dog hair on their car seat, but mostly I have to say, lot of people went out of their way to help us and make friends with us."
"Indian railways came to our rescue, we were a bit hesitant and worried in the beginning about travelling on train, but our first journey from Delhi to Madgaon of 32 hours changed our perspective. Marcopolo and Tigress loved travelling on the train. They can watch the world go by the window and enjoy their treats," she says.
"We prepare well, with all the necessary meals, medicines and also making a list of stops for toilet breaks." Goa, according to Divya, is the most pet-friendly state in India, thanks to the availability of many different accommodation options in different budgets.
"Traveling with our pets is a completely new take on how we move around, our perspective has completely changed, it is no more about following guide book or top recommendations but it is charting our own way through the country," says Divya. "It is like having fresh eyes to see the world all over again from rediscovering our love for train travel, going to the beach for the first time, finding road side stalls for date nights and watching sunsets all huddled together."
The couple is now working on a guide of best hotels and experiences for pet parents.