About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation.

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.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Tommy Diaries

One day at a traffic signal…

When Tommy was nine months old, he was badly bitten
in the rear by another dog and had to be neutered immediately. The vet warned us that Tommy shouldn’t lick the wound as it might become septic, so we put a muzzle on him. But he could lick even with the muzzle on, so we put a cotton net inside the muzzle so that his tongue couldn’t come out of it.

After all that exercise we finally got into a taxi, with my mother next to the driver and Tommy and myself in the back. Like all dogs Tommy loves breeze on his face, so I kept the window pane rolled halfway down. At the Bandra signal – the one where you have to decide if you want to go to Bandra East or West – a small red car with a lady driver came close to our cab. The lady was looking at us and gesticulating frantically. We could understand her queries: What’s happened to the dog? Why is he muzzled?

Our cab driver too noticed that the red car was coming closer. Within seconds the window glass was lowered, and believe it or not, it was the actress Rekha. She asked why the dog was muzzled, and if he could breathe through all the complicated things tied around his mouth! When I told her about Tommy’s accident, she said “So sad!” She said Tommy was very cute and asked me to take good care of him!

Then her car took the left turn for Bandra West, and we went straight. My mother was looking at me, as if to confirm that she was really Rekha? The cab driver was smiling!!

So that’s how it happened that I got to talk with the great actress…all thanks to poor Tommy’s mishap.

Who’s that strange dog?

We were first-time dog owners, so Tommy’s operation and recovery period was a very testing time for us. Since it was a repair operation it needed more stitches than normal neutering, and the vet repeatedly warned us that Tommy should not lick the wound. So I bought an ‘Elizabethan collar’ for him: it’s a plastic cone-like thing worn around the dog’s neck, so that the dog cannot lick any part of his body. It’s also used for dogs with ear injuries to stop them from scratching themselves.

Tommy’s operation ordeal was not over with this. I had to take him for his walks with the collar attached. All the dogs would start barking at the sight of such a strange dog.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, during one of our walks two school kids passed by. One of them spotted Tommy and screamed, “LOOK, A DOG WITH A LOUDSPEAKER!!”

The raincoat

I had just bought Tommy a raincoat. After a lot of effort I managed to make him wear it. It had four strings which were to be tied to the four legs, and a scarf-like thing to cover the head, with a string which was tied under the lower jaw. He reluctantly came with me downstairs for his evening walk. The first reaction of all his stray friends was to start barking, trying to guess what kind of dog he was. Once they had come near and sniffed and confirmed that it was Tommy, of course they stopped.

More fun followed. Tommy daily marks at every tree, but today he would just go near and stand, then look at me. Initially I could not understand what was happening. After a few minutes I realised that because of all the strings tied to his legs, Tommy had become doubtful as to whether he could possibly lift his leg to relieve himself! After a lot of encouragement he first did it in puppy-like position, then slowly started lifting his leg!!

Summer fun

When Tommy was a puppy he used to go to the terrace and run, even in the height of summer. Then he’d become exhausted and
drink lots of water. There was no way to stop him from running. I had read somewhere that we should give dogs ice cubes to lick, to pacify their thirst and at the same time prevent them from drinking too much water. So one day after he had raced a lot I put four or five ice cubes in front of him.

First he was curious, as he was seeing ice for the first time. Then he
licked the cubes, then started playing with them. He liked making the cubes slide in all directions on the floor.

After a few minutes I heard him barking excitedly. I went to see what had happened. Guess what? He was barking angrily at the fast-melting cubes! Obviously he did not like his new toys just disappearing one after another!

Such hilarious moments with my dogs…

A horror story!

From the start Tommy had the habit of trying to pick up smelly things on our walks. On one such occasion, he spotted the dead, rotten corpse of a rat lying near the gutter. Before I could do anything he had grasped it! Imagine Tommy with that stinking rotten corpse of a rat in his mouth, tightly clenched!! I started scolding him, commanding him to drop it. He was in no mood to give away his delicious smelling find.

People gathered around to find out why I was screaming. It was the first time in my life I had touched the corpse of a rat. I had no
option, I snatched away the rat by opening Tommy’s jaw with full force. Finally he let go the corpse.

Speedily I rushed home and washed my hands thoroughly with Dettol, and also washed Tommy’s mouth, now stinking, with Dettol mixture. I don’t know if anybody else has had such a disgusting experience.

Manik Godbole


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Vishakha said...

Hilarious Tommy :D

I justttttttt loved him for all his actions.. Hhehe barking atmelting ice, while reading i could visualize the scene too. Dog with loudspeaker heheheheheheh ..
God bless tommy with good and healthy life.

Rajashree Khalap said...

The raincoat incident reminded me of Lalee - she has a yellow one with a hood and belt and she absolutely HATES it. The first time she went downstairs dressed in it there was a storm of barking from all the dogs around, and even her best friend Rani (the building dog) refused to come near her. Poor Lalee was extremely glum at first, but later the dogs got used to it and stopped reacting.