Paws for breath: India’s pampered pooches get clean air as people choke on smog

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TopDog is a luxury pet resort in Gurugram, India. (Reuters)
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The resort offers several amenities for pets. (Reuters)
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Owners bring their pets to the resort, and spend time with them in the grounds. (Reutere)
Updated 14 November 2018
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Paws for breath: India’s pampered pooches get clean air as people choke on smog

  • The air in the pets' rooms is cleaned by purifying machines
  • For those unable get their pet into TopDog, a pollution mask for dogs, which its makers say is a world-first, will soon be coming to India

GURUGRAM, India: While most residents of the Indian capital Delhi choked on toxic air this week, the dogs of the city’s elite were enjoying ambient music and purified air at a luxury resort for pets.
Pollution in the capital rose to “severe” this week after revelers let off fireworks to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali, adding to the heavy smog caused by crop burning, vehicle fumes and industrial emissions.
Delhi’s air is among the worst in the world, although many in the city of more than 20 million are unable, or unwilling, to protect themselves from the cocktail of gases and particles.
But at the TopDog Luxury Pet Resort, Gautam Kari, the chief operating officer who studied animal behaviorology in California, is offering relief for posh pooches.
Rooms at the site, next to an organic vegetable farm in Gurugram, one of Delhi’s satellite cities and an IT hub, start at 2,000 rupees ($28) a night — more than five times the average daily wage.
The canine guests — many owned by politicians, diplomats and business figures, the resort says — have had their outdoor time reduced during the bad-air days of Diwali.
The air in their rooms is cleaned by purifying machines made by American manufacturer Honeywell.
“We don’t want them out smelling the air for more than 45 minutes,” Kari said.
Kari said clients brought their dogs for training and the resort’s other luxuries, including food imported from Canada and music more commonly heard in high-end spas.
But air pollution is also a concern for owners.
“I think the air purifiers ... are as relevant to dogs as well as to human beings,” said Vineet Durani, an executive at US software giant Microsoft, who was collecting his Siberian husky Juno.
“It’s hard to breathe.”
Other guests include a trio of dogs owned by Japanese diplomats, and two Portuguese water dogs, Peanut and Snicker, from the Dutch embassy.
The resort’s presidential suite — named after former US President Barack Obama’s dog Bo — is occupied by a pair of street dogs adopted by an employee of the World Health Organization, the agency that developed international standards for monitoring air quality.
For those unable get their pet into TopDog, a pollution mask for dogs, which its makers say is a world-first, will soon be coming to India.
The K9mask, that costs $39.99 and promises “easy air intake for resting or panting,” is looking for an Indian distributor.
“India is definitely a place experiencing air quality problems that will benefit,” said Kirby Holmes, managing partner of the Good Air Team, which manufactures the masks.


Karl Marx memorial vandalized in London for second time

The bronze bust on top of the monument at the tomb of German revolutionary philosopher Karl Marx, a Grade I-listed monument, is seen in Highgate Cemetery in north London on February 5, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2019
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Karl Marx memorial vandalized in London for second time

  • German revolutionary philosopher Marx moved to London in 1849 and lived in the city for the rest of his life

LONDON: The memorial of German philosopher Karl Marx has been vandalized in London for the second time in two weeks, the cemetery that manages the site said on Saturday.
The words “architect of genocide,” “terror and oppression” and “mass murder” were written in red paint on the grave in the capital’s Highgate cemetery.
“Doctrine of hate” was also scrawled on the memorial, among other slogans.
The grave of Marx, who developed the theory of international communism, was also attacked on February 4 when it was seemingly struck several times with a blunt metal instrument.
A marble plaque with the names of Marx and his family — the monument’s oldest and most fragile part — was repeatedly hit.
“Vandals back at Marx Memorial, Highgate Cemetery. Red paint this time, plus the marble tablet smashed up,” tweeted Highgate Cemetery on Saturday alongside photos of the memorial covered in red paint.
“Senseless. Stupid. Ignorant. Whatever you think about Marx’s legacy, this is not the way to make the point,” it said.
German revolutionary philosopher Marx moved to London in 1849 and lived in the city for the rest of his life.
His theories became the basis for communism. He died on March 14, 1883, aged 64.
The granite slab monument in north London, 12 feet (3.7 meters) tall and topped with a bronze bust of Marx, was funded in 1956 by the Communist Party of Great Britain.