Former royal of Baroda Pratapsinh Gaekwad and his wife Praggyashree talk to Lyle Michael about their crowning glory, Bombay’s brand new, world-class animal hospital and its muse, Chevvy the Dane Necessity still stands as the greatest mother of all inventions. The axiom pertinently works to capture the core motive behind the launch of Bombay’s state-of-the-art veterinary clinic, located under Mahalaxmi Bridge. Pristine in all white with a staid green running through its minimalistic interiors, the 4500 sq. ft. area is a revolutionary space equipped with a waiting room, consult rooms, a prep room, operating theatres, boarding facilities (with overnight post-operative care to be set into motion soon), diagnostic infrastructure, from sonographies to X-rays to blood work, a pharmacy (at MRP rates) and a session room for vets and industry professionals as and when required. That’s Crown Vet to begin with, a one-stop-destination for canine and feline care, be it a routine checkup or a complex surgery, dental care as well as nutritional advice.
Before all else, it is imperative to establish the fact that Crown Vet (CV) is not a 24-hour service, not yet at least. This confirmation comes from Sheroy Wadia, Business Head and Project Coordinator, “The blueprint is on the board to make CV a 24/7 facility with a strong ER department, establishing a well- rounded service, setting a precedent for such a veterinary centre in the city, in the country.” For now, you have a clinic operating Monday to Saturday, from 9 am – 6 pm, typically with consults from 9-11 am, surgeries till 2 pm and back to consults till 6 pm. By 7 pm, the sun sets on an arduous day. Sunday is only from 9-11 am; Friday to Saturday is for follow-ups as it offers enough breathing space for the vets to function through the week, and maintain precision with the steady flow of patients thus far. Steady turns quicker by the day, as word of mouth and social media exposure garner favourable response for CV, taking the toll to 155 patients in its first month of opening itself. Would you, pet parent, make that shift to such a centre from the trusted vet you’ve been taking Princess to all these years? “It is a tough decision for any pet parent,” admits Sheroy, “yet, a gradual one that we have witnessed from the positive response so far. Above all, we wish to stress the value for a regular vet checkup for your furry ones. Prevention is certainly better.”
While that may be, a visit to CV does call for comparatively deep pockets but worth the visit when convenient, considering time and travel constraints for parents in the distant burbs or for non-Soboites as they may be so called. To fill you in, a consult would set you back by Rs 900, a blood test by Rs.850 – 1650, a spay by Rs 15000 – 18000, dental surgery by Rs12000 – 13000, and so on. Well, CV is not built on a foundation of sand but on hard stone, meant to withstand the test of time, a labour of love, an investment beyond considerable standards. Built to set a veterinary standard in coordination with renowned vets of the city and provide a platform for young doctors to climb on board and take forward.
Built by dog lover dyed-in-the-blue, a champion of sorts for quality veterinary care – skilled, genuine and consistent – the CEO of Crown Holdings and founder of Crown Veterinary Services… Tell us, Pratapsingh Sangramsinh Gaekwad, to what extent did Chevvy, this handsome Harlequin Great Dane here, serve as your muse for Crown Vet? “Entirely!” begins the nephew of the last royal of Baroda, dapper and reticent, “It all began with this eight-year-old beauty of mine when he fell ill and I was left feeling inadequate in offering him the best care for his immediate treatment and recovery thereafter.” So, after careful analysis of the veterinary services at the disposal of a pet parent in India, trips to the UK and back, discussions with the like-minded and more, Crown Vet was envisioned and materialised hence. One among these like-minded, scouted on a lucrative trip to the UK, stands as the face of the practice, the brain running the motor, with a skilled team to assist.
Head Veterinarian Dr Billie-Jo Chambers is bubbly, dexterous and hands-on with every patient that walks in, with a specialised vet nurse from UK and three junior vets from India to form the medical team at CV. Smiles Billie, “The veterinary practice here is different from UK, where we have breed-specific treatment areas and pets are brought in on a regular basis for checkups. Here there is a vast array of breeds and we have a thorough system in place right from consults to surgeries and post care.” While the doc takes us around the impressive arena that is CV, Chevvy is by her side, the affinity possibly stemming from common British roots, we quip! “He is a people’s person and very sensitive,” shares the charming, prim and gracious mother to the Dane and
Director/Communications Manager for CV, Dr Praggyashree Raje Gaekwad. “For his birthday on the 15th of January, I bake him a cake while Pratap loves to cuddle with him and take him for walks (on most days).” Pratap cuts in, “He is a creature of habit, has set a seamless routine for himself which includes his walk time, meal time, nap time. He gets very upset when we leave him though. Which might be why he loves travelling this much. And yes, he is very protective of Praggya.” Not so much a surprise, as much as the titbit that the imposing Chevvy is afraid of little ants, and not very sociable with other dogs.
But yes, with people, you can see for yourself. “He speaks to me with his eyes,” says dad Pratap, “I can sense what he wants, very human in his ways.” Given that both Praggya and Pratap are from dog-loving families – Praggya, the daughter of Nepal’s former Chief of Army Staff Pyar Jung Thapa with her Lhasas and Pekingese and Pratap with larger breeds – Chevvy is an adored one, certainly the inspiration for Crown Vet, right down to its logo.
“Crown Vet keeps us busy, on our toes,” said the Bombay-based couple. “We wish to expand to other cities soon and offer a training ground for vets from over the country. To which effect we also run an eight-week programme for new entrants – the Continued Programme and Development – by which it is ascertained whether the individual is qualified to meet with a client and function as part of the Crown Vet team. Only the best of the best when it comes to the four-legged. And nothing less.