A pet project: Wellness of furry pals

Necessity is the mother of invention. It was certainly true for Vaibhav Jain, Meenal Kaushik and Yasir Khalil, who started a personalised pet wellness service, Cozo, last year after facing difficulties in looking after their furry friends.

Vaibhav married Meenal, a pet-loving lawyer, in 2016 and adopted two rescued dogs. From being a single, frequently travelling professional for Uber, he became a pet parent, who was constantly worried about the wellbeing of the dogs.

Vaibhav’s friend Yasir, who was also working at Uber, faced similar challenges as he, too, had adopted a dog. When he had to travel, there was no one who could look after it.

The trio noticed that most pet owners had only drivers and domestic helpers as backup. In Gurugram, there was not much offline or online help on offer.

Vaibhav said pet parents generally faced three problems. First, logistics. They must transport their cats and dogs in their own vehicles as pets in public transport remains an alien concept. Second, the lack of pet-friendly infrastructure forces them to keep animals at home most of the time. And third, there are not enough trained service professionals who understand different needs of different breeds.

After much research and no answers, Meenal, Vaibhav and Yasir decided to come up with a solution on their own: they started Cozo in November 2018.

“Often, pets are abandoned because there’s no dedicated carer or wellness professional,” Vaibhav told STOI.

The trio started with a pet walking service through a WhatsApp group. It proved to be a hit, with even neighbours making enquiries and requests. Cozo expanded its range in animal wellness after setting up necessary infrastructure. The co-founders persuaded trained professionals and animal rescuers to join them. It was not an easy journey. From walking pets during the day to selling momos on Golf Course Road, Gurugram, to pay the staff’s salaries, Vaibhav and Yasir went through the hoops to keep their venture afloat.

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But they knew there was huge potential in the pet wellness business and remained committed to their project. Today, Cozo serves 3,500 pet parents through its services in the National Capital Region. The services include pet walking, sitting, grooming and vaccination.

“We started with 600 sessions in November 2018 and closed May 2019 with 91,000 activities, including boarding sessions. We have 200 trained professionals and nearly 550 freelancers in our team,” Vaibhav said. “Eighty-three families told us they adopted pets because Cozo exists and that has been our greatest satisfaction.”



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