About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a spider enthusiast and amateur arachnologist.

This blog is for aboriginal dog enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah Dog) and INDog-mixes (Indies) 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 landrace village dog of the Indian subcontinent. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too. Also see padsociety.org

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Today's special!

Meet Goblin, the newest and youngest member of the Club! Goblin and his handsome "elder brother" Rocket belong to Anuradha Gupta and Sanjay Sarkar.


An early morning sojourn with Rocket brought us face-to-face with another scrawny, ugly, very tiny puppy. He was underfed and all alone and Anu’s heart melted at the sight of him. She made up her mind to bring him home (though at that time she assured me it was only for a few days – to feed him and nourish him and give him a better chance of survival). Goblin decided right from the first moment that Rocket was his “big brother” and decided to follow him EVERYWHERE much to Rocket’s annoyance. We had a tough time naming him (and went through scores of names) but finally decided on Goblin because he looks like one. This is one tough cookie and he has wormed his way into all our hearts – including Rocket’s. After many unsuccessful attempts at finding him a home, we decided one morning to let him go. Unfortunately this led to so many tears (Anu’s) that finally we decided to keep him. Goblin loves food. You can make him do anything as long as you dangle food in front of his face. He pretends to be really brave (and he yelps and barks unlike his big brother) but separate him from Rocket and he cowers in a corner. He now sleeps curled up next to Rocket (yes, on the bed) and they have become (much to our relief) inseparable. Although we call him Goblin we think he’s beautiful. Once again – no regrets.

Sanjay Sarkar


Rocket came to us when he was about 6 weeks old. He was tiny and very very scared and could barely stand on our tiled floors let alone walk. Anu named him Rocket as a joke and now 8 months down the line he lives up to his name, shooting off at breakneck speed every chance he gets. Rocket sleeps between us curled up on our pillows (usually with his backside sticking into my face). He loves people and is afraid of other dogs (including little pups) and is a real fast learner (he learned “sit” when he was just 8 weeks old). He never barks and often stands at the window or sits in the balcony ruminating like a poet. He is extremely gentle and has the most beautiful, soulful eyes you have ever seen. Once a day he goes completely mad and runs from the bedroom through the corridor into the living room onto the sofa and back in a mad frenzy several times over before flopping into a corner in sheer exhaustion. He loves to sleep on his back with all four legs outstretched and is the funniest sight at these times. He is also a fighter. He has been given local anaesthesia twice by the vet. Both times the vet assured us that he would sleep for several hours but he has been up and about in an hour. Rocket came like a ray of sunshine into our lives and we have never for a second regretted bringing him home.

Sanjay Sarkar

Rocket and Goblin

Anu and I got married two years ago and we both happened to be dog lovers. In fact, in our early dating stages we had even come up with a silly plan to “share” a dog. Imagine, living in separate flats and “sharing” a dog. That too in Bombay!! Thankfully, that never happened and we just got married to each other. Anyway after we got married we started discussing getting a puppy. We spoke to many of our relatives, friends and acquaintances who either had had pets or were experienced in raising dogs. Almost everyone we spoke to dampened our spirits by sharing with us well-meaning warnings:

“Your social lives will be over.”

“It’s a crime for working couples to keep a puppy.”
“All your good furniture will be history.”

“It is a huge 12 year responsibility, you can’t get out of halfway.”

“The house will become hell.”
“You can’t travel, blah blah blah.”

My first word of advice to those who are in similar situations – don’t listen to anyone who says any of the above. We have two dogs now and NONE of the above has come true and I am tired of waiting for any of those to come true. Dogs adapt beautifully as long you adapt to their needs in some way. We both work, we stay in a typical fancy apartment and our dogs are not unhappy. We travel – we just dump them in our gaadis and take them everywhere. They are absolutely fine and so are we. They have NOT destroyed our newly polished furniture either. Whatever little mess they make is very handleable even for a working couple like us with no 24 hour domestic help.
Another thing was the decision about what puppy to bring home. I was very clear in my head that I wanted a “proper” breed – a beagle or a boxer actually. Having lived overseas all her life, Anu felt we should adopt a stray as they are the ones that NEED a home (the pedigree puppies get homes easily anyway). So this was another thing we were a bit stuck upon. Finally we decided to postpone this dog thing for a few years. Then on a very ordinary day as I was driving into the basement parking, something that looked like a huge rat scuttled under my vehicle. I jumped out to see what it was and from between the wheels came out this scrawny little ugly brown thing – wagging a diseased threadlike mangy tail! That’s how Rocket came into our home and our lives eight months ago. He has grown up to become the most handsome dog I have seen. Strangely, everything about him has changed my way of thinking about pure breeds totally. Today I can’t even think of choosing a pedigree over a pariah. So much so that three weeks ago we again brought home another little fellow from the streets outside our (new) apartment.

Sanjay Sarkar

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dealing with your dog's fear of firecrackers

Let’s face it, for most of us Diwali is an occasion to be looked forward to with dread more than any other emotion. The sight of one’s pet trembling, hiding, refusing food, trying to run away and generally getting stressed out of his mind does not inspire joy, to put it mildly.

We asked canine behaviour consultant Shirin Merchant how to make the whole experience less traumatic for our dogs (and ourselves!) She sent us an excellent chart which I’ve posted here. I’ve added a small note on homeopathic medication.

• It is not uncommon for dogs to be hesitant, or even frightened by loud noises.

• Often a dog will react to a noise as a direct reflection of his human companion. If you show fear, act nervous or scared of a loud noise, your dog will pick up on your subtle signals and learn that loud noises are to be feared. It can take only one incident for a dog to get scared of loud noises. A dog’s ears are sensitive, and loud noises can hurt them.

• Do not praise your dog when he shows fear of loud noises. If you do, you are not only praising him for being frightened, but you are making it more likely that he will be frightened the next time a loud noise happens. Many well-meaning dog owners increase their dog's anxiety by stroking, cuddling, and saying "It's OK" when their dogs act nervous. Instead spend some quality time with your dog being fun and playful. Try and distract him away from the noise.

• If your dog is already afraid of loud noises, then a process of desensitization will help. Desensitizing your dog involves exposing your dog to low-volume noises. Gradually increase the noise level while giving him something pleasurable such as praise and a food treat. Over a period of time your dog will get used to the noise. This process is best carried out under the supervision of a canine behaviour counselor.

• Dogs instinctively seek out confining spaces when frightened. If your dog hides under the bed or behind a cupboard don’t drag him out in an attempt to comfort him. Instead put some clothing or towels with your familiar scent next to the dog for reassurance. It would also help if you play soothing, easy listening music relatively loud to help drown out the fear-producing noise.

• In severe cases of the dog being frightened, drugs and homeopathy can help your canine companion. You MUST consult your vet before attempting to give any drugs to your dog.

• Firecrackers can harm pets. Be extremely cautious when lighting firecrackers around animals. The gunpowder in firecrackers is potentially toxic to pets if they eat it. Also, there is always a danger of a dog getting hurt or burned if fireworks are accidentally shot at them.

For more information contact “Canines Cane Care” at k9cancare@hotmail.com

Try this homeopathic remedy

Borax 1M can help your pet deal with his fear of crackers and loud noises. Buy it in liquid form, preferably as a sealed bottle from a reputed company such as Shwabes India or Dr Reckeweg.

One dose is 2-3 drops in one tablespoon of water. If your pet has a very extreme fear of crackers, start giving one dose a day about two weeks (or even three weeks) before Diwali. As the Big Noise Day approaches, increase to two doses daily (morning and night). On Biggest Noise Day, give three or even four doses depending on how scared your dog is. Discontinue once the crackers stop.

As with all homeopathic medication, you have to leave an hour’s gap before or after your pet’s meal. Store the medicine away from strong light, heat or strong-smelling substances like food or perfume. Never touch the medicine directly with your hands – use a clean spoon or syringe to feed it to your dog.

We’ve generally had good feedback about this remedy, though there are a few cases who don’t respond. Please let me know if it helped your dog.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

We need a home for Chinky

This elegant little dog is Chinky, female, 10 months.
She currently visits the home of Tommy, Blacky and Dr Manik Godbole for lunch and dinner, but sadly she can't be kept there and has to be sent back to the street after eating.

Chinky is very clever, affectionate and loves human company. She needs a permanent home of her own.

If you'd like to adopt her, please mail me on rajashree.khalap@gmail.com

Mr. Joey Longtail

Mr. Joey Longtail hops across the lane,
Jumping like a kangaroo, (hence the special name),
Runs a mile in half a sec, there, he's coming back
His nails are on the staircase; clickety, click, click, clack.

He's brown with a white muffler, socks and tip of tail,
He could be quite a gentleman, but alas, his manners fail.
Too curious is our Joey and far too impolite,
You cannot eat a morsel without giving him a bite.

Once he was stray pup, then he found me out,
Hugged me with his long arms, pushed me with his snout,
Determined and quite certain, he knew he'd found a friend
Why else would he choose ME and only me to drive around the bend?

Quickly, through the pouring rain he would come for shelter,
Then he'd dance about the house; such a helter skelter
Oh, he's gone, and as I speak, has swiftly made some hops,
And there, he's run to meet the maids coming from the shops.

Someone tried to fend him off with a small umbrella
But Joey snatched it fast and ran, the naughty little fella!
Someone tried to leave his scooter safely in the shade
But in two days Joey showed us of what stuff the seat was made!

The house it bears his marks alright, on table legs and walls
He tried a little curtain but didn't like it's taste at all
They say teething takes a few more months and believe me, I am counting
Because Joey's small excesses get expenses simply mounting!

Sure, Joey gets a ticking off every now and then
And sometimes a smack across the nose, and then he's NOT my friend
He collects his treasures, one red ring and the nighty on the floor
And gives me long, resentful looks and heads towards the door.

He's back in minutes but of course, to start his tricks again
And I'm right there, quite naturally, 'cause I'm still Joey's friend.

Bubla Basu

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tommy and Blacky

This strikingly handsome pair has just been enrolled in the Indian Pariah Dog Club. Here’s what owner Dr Manik Godbole has to say about them:

Tommy, 5 years

I adopted him when he was about three months old.

Tommy has always had an independent attitude, and I had to sweat a lot in order to train him! He likes to make all his own decisions. You can tell from the picture that he’s wondering why I keep pointing that camera thing at him.

Blacky, 4 years

Blacky was about five months old when I adopted him. He is Tommy’s exact opposite both in appearance and temperament. He is so obedient and trainable, he learnt the ‘sit down’ and ‘shake hand’ commands in two days each!

Blacky needs a chew every day, so I always have to keep a stock. He is very possessive of me as well as of Tommy. He yelps and whines if I take Tommy away and leave him behind.

He declines his food, when I board them both at a kennel during my absences from town. The kennel people always tell me, “The black dog missed you more.”

Dr Manik Godbole

Monday, October 1, 2007

Watchdog database: I need your help!

We all know that our desi dogs are alert and brave…but somehow very few written records exist on this subject. I am now compiling a database of real-life incidents in which Pariah/Pariah-mix dogs have proved to be good watchdogs. The data will be used by canine behaviour consultant Shirin Merchant, and will be accessible to anybody wishing to improve the image of pariah dogs. It will also be available online for public reference.

If you know of any street dogs/building compound dogs/pet Pariah/pet Pariah-mix dogs who have prevented burglaries and other crimes, please mail the story to me at rajashree.khalap@gmail.com

If you did not personally witness the event, the story must be from a reliable and named source. Please mention at least an appoximate date, the location where it occurred, and whatever information you have about the dog (age/gender/description etc).

Thanks, Kalpana Talpade, Valerie Tripp, Vivienne Choudhury, Supriya Dasgupta, Aloka Mitter, Vani Jhaveri, Agnese Barolo, Nandita Shah and others for sending in your stories. Looking forward to many more from pariah dog owners and fans.