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Prateek Bilagali Ashok quit his IT job to groom pets

IT professional Prateek Bilagali Ashok decided to junk his day job to start Pawz And Care, a pet grooming service where he does house calls to groom and train the doggies. Growing up in Chikmagalur, pets were a major part of his childhood. “I grew up with dogs, cows, and the wild animals that we rescued. My dad taught me that animals were as important as humans.”

After moving to Bengaluru, Prateek got a job at IBM, and a dog, a cocker spaniel called Blush. “I noticed it took time to groom her. I decided to take up pet grooming. I started reading about it and did a lot of research.”

“Eventually, I had to pick between my day job and pet grooming,” he says. “I wasn’t a hundred percent sure about either, but I decided to take the risk and leave my day job. I looked for places to learn grooming, especially where they dealt with smaller breed dogs as they are snappy when they are being groomed. I found the Animal Arts Academy in Singapore helpful. I enhanced my skills in scissor work, styling and handling small breeds.”

Talking about the challenges, Prateek says it is tough to deal with dogs who have never been groomed. “It takes a while to make them understand that this is a normal process. You need to give the dog confidence.” Prateek says, “I provide doorstep service. I asked my clients if they were okay sending their pets to us. And they said no, because travelling, waiting for your pet to be groomed — that is four hours of their time. But when I do it, it takes only two hours at their place. I’ve never made any banners or things. It has spread only through word of mouth. And that is the only way I’ve grown. People trust you enough to tell others about.”

Prateek also notes the growing rise in awareness about pet grooming. “In the 90s and 00s, people used to keep dogs outdoors. Now people stay in flats and keep pets in the house. People feel they cannot make time to groom their pets. That is when they reach out to me.”

“It is a great challenge every day. The peace of mind that you get, surrounded by dogs, is worth it. I’m ready to work no matter what because I love what I do. Every dog that I handle, I learn something and improve myself. It has been four years now, and it has been a great journey.” Visit www.pawzandcare.com or call 988 033 8744