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On our visit to the last Adoptathon at Bandra on 25 November, where hopeful adopters met foster parents of cats and pups, we met Malaika Fernandez, pet behaviourist, trainer and groomer, and co-owner and director at Walk Romeo which offers pet grooming and handling services. If you wanted to take home that pup you felt an affinity with, you had to clear a screening round with Fernandes; not everyone who fancied a pet went back with one that day. Or if you were apprehensive about the extent of responsibility it demanded, she would guide you through that as well. She also counselled successful adopters on things to do immediately after taking the puppy home, which she sat down and shared with Real Reviews in this video.


The points she makes in the video are elaborated here, with inputs from a handout given by her to Real Reviews:

  • Continue with the diet the pup has been on, without making drastic changes for at least 15-20 days.
  • Keep a diary of the pup, vis-a-vis, its eating, resting and toilet timings and identify the pattern over 3 days.
  • Toilet training: Allow the pup access to certain ‘toileting surfaces’ using treats, denying him access to others till it begins to make the connection.
  • Handling teething issues: If the puppy nibbles on your fingers, walk away and ignore the puppy. Do not encourage the behaviour. Give it a towel soaked and frozen to chew on to soothe its gums.
  • Grooming and handling: Groom the puppy at least once a day to encourage bonding, and this should be done by all members of the family, everyday.
  • Let the puppy settle in for at least a week. Only then take the pup to the veterinarian for vaccination or de-worming. The dog should not be walked outside the house till it is vaccinated.
  • Socialise the pet.
  • Once the pup is a year old, it’s advisable to neuter the pet.

For information on Walk Romeo visit their website To get in touch with Malaika Fernandes, write to her at