A pet is a part of the family for many of us. We know how painful it can be to leave someone behind when we go on vacation, but when that someone has big, sad eyes and a tilted head that’s wondering where you’re going, the feeling can be downright gut-wrenching.
I don’t have the privilege of having a pet in Mumbai (yes, having a pet IS a privilege), but that didn’t stop my friend and Youtuber Beverly Dee and I from heading to Phoebe’s farm one weekend, where 60 wagging tails waited to greet us!
Phoebe’s farm is located in Khopoli, around a 20 minute drive from Imagica. You can find directions on Google or the resort owners will be more than happy to help you find it. Expect to be completely cut off from mobile network and wi-fi during your stay. All you’ll have is some quality time with the family, no work emails, no conference calls, no social media… – sounds like heaven already, doesn’t it?
P.S getting tickled by 6 dogs was heavenly too!
Phoebe’s Farm is a ‘human friendly pet resort’ that’s been founded and run by major dog-lovers Manoor and his wife, Anajli. Inspired by their late pet dog, Phoebe, it’s designed to have everything a pet could ever want – open spaces, sunshine, lots of grass to roll in and a bone-shaped doggie pool, to name a few!
But it isn’t just for people with pets. If you don’t have one, you can still stay over and play with one of many pooches on the farm.
Apart from being a resort, Phoebe’s farm is also a canine rehabilitation centre. Manoor is a dog-behaviourist and looks after as well as treats dogs with issues like anger management, excessive timidity, anti-social behaviour and more. Again, he credits Phoebe for teaching him everything there is to know about handling dogs of all kinds.
The resort has a little stream nearby, and if you love nature, I suggest you take a walk and soak in the sights and sounds of the gurgling water, chirping insects and magnificent butterflies. There’s also a man-made pond containing koi fish and turtles. One of the best things I enjoyed was sitting here, having breakfast with a dog in my lap, relishing the silence. If you aren’t reeeally into nature, you’ll find board games and card games to play with!
Everything at Phoebe’s farm has a personal, homely touch, from the wind chimes hanging on the trees, to the food that’s cooked under Anjali’s supervision. Beverly and I instantly fell in love with its rustic charm.
Our room was one of seven tents that surrounded a lawn. By looking at the tents from the outside, you’d never guess that it has a queen sized bed and bathroom squeezed in! There isn’t much to talk about since the room is fairly quaint and simple. Apart from a standing fan, lights and a comfy bed, there isn’t anything else that the room contains. You’ll find ample charging points to charge your devices, not like you’d need them anyway.
If you enjoy roughing it, or ruffing it, if I may say so, you’d enjoy the minimalist room as much as we did. There may not be 24 hour hot water supply and air-conditioning, but then, you get that everywhere!
The menu for the day is pre-planned. It usually includes a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian dish, rice, a curry and rotis. A dessert follows; and over the course of our stay, we enjoyed some fruit custard, gulab jamun and rabdi. You know I have to give you guys the deets on the dessert first! The rest of the food is so darn tasty!
The dinner and breakfast that was arranged was quite poetic actually! On the cold winter’s night that we stayed over, Manoor organized a barbeque for the guests by the lake. We sat on mattresses around the fire pit, watching the cook skewer marinated meat and taking in the tantalizing smell of meat over a flame. We met the other guests – bikers from Nagpur on their way to Goa, which was really nice! Here we are, warming our frozen hands
Breakfast was had under the shade of trees that surrounded the lake! We had simple, good ol’ omletes, bread, butter and parathas. With Manoor’s dog, Seva for company, we sunned ourselves on these comfortable mattress-sunbed thingies!
WHAT WE ALSO DID!
This review wouldn’t be complete without telling you all the wonderful things that goes on at Phoebe’s Farm!
Every morning as per custom, the dogs are brought out to play to the playground that’s at least double the size of parks in Mumbai. At first, we were a little intimidated to watch them rush in like a flood. Rotweilers, labs, cocker spaniels, indies, daschunds… even a great big St. Bernard. They were so excited that they didn’t even notice us for a while. Within a few minutes, they came over for an inquisitory sniff. What was surprising was that none of them fought with each other or even growled. They got along beautifully!
Manoor told us which ones we should not pet because of how they may react, but after a while, they all warmed up. We sat side by side with the ones that didn’t like affection and they didn’t seem to mind at all.
The next morning, we watched them have a ball of a time in the pool! We knew their names by then. Veer wouldn’t let go of the ball; Cuddles wiped himself off on my track pants after every dip; Joey, Ross and Rachel (do those names sound familiar? Suitable for Phoebe’s farm, eh?) barked all through and Buzo, the St. Bernard swam without making a splash! We loved every minute of our time here!!
One of the dogs on the farm, Mocha, a chocolate coloured cocker spaniel cozied up to us all weekend. Her family visited her while we were there and we later found out that she had Cocker Spaniel Rage Syndrome, a serious behavioural condition that affects purebred cockers. Like epilepsy, this uncontrollable fit of rage can turn a dogs personality from mild to aggressive and back within minutes. It was a rollercoaster of emotions for us to see Mocha’s frenzied excitement on seeing her family, the cuddles she got and then the painful goodbye as they left. A lot of families visit their pet in rehab once a month, and I’m so glad they do.
If you’ve got a serious soft spot for canines and felines, head over to spend a weekend at Phoebe’s Farm, even if you don’t have a pet. Manoor and Anjali are among the best people I’ve met – and I’m amazed at the work, dedication and patience they put into the farm with no investment or support. One has to have a pretty big heart to do what they’re doing!
If you do have a pet, don’t keep them home on your vacation. Cancel the pet sitter, pack the treats and hit the road towards an experience you wont forget.
You HAVE to check out our whole weekend on Beverly Dee’s youtube channel!
Warning – cuteness overload!!
Do me a favour and share this with all the pet parents you know! I’m sure their pets would love it, and I’d personally be delighted to know that Phoebe’s Farm is a huge successs!
Book your stay here at Phoebe’s Farm here!
Till next time!!