Pets are family too, says designer with three 'furkids'


Sarla with her 'boys' Bairou and Tingku. Photo: N. Sarla Devi

For designer N. Devi Sarla, family is all about having a sense of belonging, trust and unconditional love. The 43-year-old from Klang, Selangor, reveals that her family doesn’t just consist of her mum and dad, brother, sister, and two adopted brothers. A major part of her family are her three furkids: two dogs and a cat.

Sarla with her 'boy' Gokul. Photo: N. Sarla DeviSarla with her 'boy' Gokul. Photo: N. Sarla DeviSarla is a "pet mum" to an adopted 10-year-old male Jack Russell Terrier called Bairou Kanna, and a rescued seven-year-old male mixed breed called Tingku Kanna. She also has a three-year-old rescued male ginger cat called Gokul Kanna.

“Having furkids is nothing but joy. You can always find solace in them and they’re so therapeutic, ” says Sarla, who is single.

“You may think that animals don’t have emotions, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They have their own particular personality, emotions and expressions, ” she says.


“Bairou is tenacious and expressive, extremely curious and needs a lot of attention, while Tinku (who passed away in Dec 2020) was introverted, independent, and an observer. And, Gokul is affectionate and smart, but doesn’t easily trust other humans, ” she describes.

Sarla says that her three furkids behave “just like human children” and she calls them her “boys”.

“When we come back from grocery shopping, Bairou and Tingku will always come nosing around, wanting to know what we bought for them, ” she says.

“And when we give them new toys, Bairou will want the toy that Tingku is playing with. And if Tingku doesn’t give it to him, Bairou will come and complain to me, ” she recalls, amused. “Pets can get jealous too, so I’ve to be fair to all of them.”

The furkids also celebrate their birthdays and other special occasions like Deepavali together with Sarla and her human family.

“I’ll make them new outfits when it’s their birthday or Deepavali... and they’ll sit by the sewing machine, waiting patiently and expectantly, ” she says.

Celebrating her boys' birthdays is a must for Sarla. Photo: N. Sarla DeviCelebrating her boys' birthdays is a must for Sarla. Photo: N. Sarla Devi

She reveals that both her dogs, especially Tingku, love wearing new outfits, but her cat Gokul dislikes wearing anything.

“The boys are inseparable, especially Tingku and Bairou. When Bairou is taken to see the vet, Tingku will cry until Bairou gets home, ” says Sarla.

“They have such a zest for life and adventure, and they give their 100% whenever they join in any activities, ” she says, adding that Bairou and Tingku will always bring her their squeaky ball for a game of fetch.

The 'boys' all dressed up for Deepavali in the clothes that Sarla made for them. Photo: N. Sarla DeviThe 'boys' all dressed up for Deepavali in the clothes that Sarla made for them. Photo: N. Sarla Devi

They are also the “sympathetic and non-judgemental listener” whenever Sarla is talking to them.

“They will sit and stare soulfully into my eyes whenever I talk to them, ” she says.

Gokul doesn't like his outfit. Photo: N. Sarla DeviGokul doesn't like his outfit. Photo: N. Sarla Devi

She admits that they are “more than just pets, but are a huge part of her life”. Just like human children, caring for furkids is a huge responsibility. If you have a children, you’ve to be responsible for them, and in the same way, if you have pets, you’ve to be responsible for them too, she says.

Her “boys” have their own leisure time, activities, toys, and space at home.

Tingku enjoys his leisure time online. Photo: N. Sarla DeviTingku enjoys his leisure time online. Photo: N. Sarla Devi

“These days, we have more photos with our furkids than with anyone else in the family, ” she laughs.

“Their happiness is a priority and I can always count of them. I can’t imagine my life or home without them, ” she concludes.

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