About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. I'm also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai for 14 years.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Teddy, soft toy-cum-therapy dog



Meet Teddy/Puppy, our live "soft toy," the like of which you will never get at any swanky Mall in the world.

This unexpected "gift" was actually thrown by somebody into my garden here in Jogeshwari, alongwith his brother and sister, when they were a few weeks old and barely able to stand. My daughters Kainaaz and Khushnam immediately fell in love with them and we fed them milk and arranged for water to be available for them in the garden. However, since we could not keep all three, we decided to keep little Teddy as he was always getting attacked and shooed away by the other two siblings. So we sent away the other two to nearby housing societies.

Initially we kept him in the garden and he would sleep in my garage as the garage door was slightly broken and he could squeeze in from the broken area. But he would happily come running when we came to check on him a few times, toppling over cutely while running on his podgy little legs, which made him all the more dear to us. Then as time passed we decided to take him into our house, which he carefully inspected with his powerful nose. Never once did he dirty the house, he seemed to have been born house-trained!

He is very playful and very intelligent. My younger daughter Khushnam has declared herself to be his mother, so that makes my elder daughter Kainaaz his doting "masiji" (aunt). And my wife and I his grandparents!! We all adore him. I feel he is some past ancestor of ours who has come in this form. I sometimes see him looking at me with such love and affection in his probing brown eyes, as if trying to jog my memory into recognising who he is, and I just go and hug him for a few moments, which also gives me some kind of heartfelt satisfaction which cannot be explained. Even though he often shakes himself vigorously after a hug, as if some dirt has got smeared on him! Talk about insults!

When we come home he comes halfway down our steps to give us a warm welcome, tail wagging away furiously. He has been a great form of healing therapy for us through all the problems we have faced in our life.

We have a nightly after-dinner ritual: He religiously comes and gets the inaccessible parts of his back scratched by me with the help of a broken footruler. He simultaneously lifts up his hind leg and starts scratching himself wherever his paw can reach. If I stop scratching for a moment when some interesting news comes on NDTV, he waits for few seconds and then nudges my hand with his cold nose to remind me to continue scratching. My girls enjoy this reaction from him. But once he is satisfied he quietly walks away to his bedding, sometimes leaving my hand mechanically swinging away with the footruler in the air as if I am painting, much to my family's amusement.

These two pictures are more than two years old. He has now turned five and is much fatter.
We all wish that our pet dogs had a longer life to lead instead of just 15 or 18 years.

Rusi Mistry

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