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.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chinky's story

Her story begins with her mother, whom I had named Pinky. I first spotted this female, very thin, agile, brown, with wrinkles on her forehead, around the end of summer last year, about ten minutes away from my house near the Eastern Express Highway. I spotted her amidst all the traffic and rush because she was on heat, and a few male dogs were after her, sniffing her. My first thought was to rescue this dog, already so thin, from the clutches of pregnancy. I immediately contacted my friend Chinmayi to discuss what to do, as spaying her too was a risk! At last we decided to try out the contraceptive “Saheli” and prevent her pregnancy. So every alternate day, and then according to the schedule, I used to go, with the tablet and some food for her, to her favourite spot at the bus stop. She was an extremely friendly dog and would follow me even after I finished the course of 21 days. Two or three days later I spotted a change in her activity, her tummy was looking slightly bloated, and her jumping on us had reduced although her walks continued.

Hearing this, Chinmayi went to see her, and gave me the expected bad news: Pinky was pregnant! We felt so guilty about trying to abort her, but that was out of ignorance, she must have mated right before I had spotted her. Then we were worried: Would the tablet have any effects on the pups? We would be the ones responsible!

From that day I started feeding her loads of food every night. Soon after, she went missing and we concluded that she must have delivered and needed our help. In the afternoon of 26 November 2006 I searched all the neighbouring lanes, then an old man pointed out where a dog had delivered pups. It turned out to be a private property. Right inside there was Pinky sleeping with five pups all cuddled up near her. Three were quite healthy and big and two were small. Of the latter one was Chinky and the other was a black and white male. Chinky was recognizable from the start due to her short tail – not eaten by rats, but congenitally short. We were told that the pups were three days old, so I consider 23 November Chinky’s birthday. The owner of the place and the neighbours were not dog lovers and continuously complained about them. By the age of one month they had all grown fat, and my Pinky too had surprisingly gained weight. Two or three more people were feeding her from time to time out of sympathy.

At the age of six weeks Pinky’s eldest son was hit by a speeding car. An x-ray showed internal haemorrhage. He was in intense pain, and in spite of medication that fat puppy was reduced to skin in three days. Finally we could take it no longer, and we took him to the vet and bade him a peaceful goodbye. That very day, a child took away one of the females to keep as a pet, we were told (God only knows what happened). So three remained. Twice a day I would feed them. One day I found the male pup Kalu limping. We were told a man had hit him. We started some homoeopathic medicine, I don’t remember which one right now. In four or five days he was better. One Sunday morning, I went with food and called out for Pinky, Chinky, Dinky and Kalu. Kalu was absent. That night an old man told me that someone had taken him as a pet to Bangalore. Again, his future is not known.

Now two remained. They used to come even if I called just called Pinky!! That ‘ky’ I think was well registered in their brains. By now they were over three months old, so I dewormed and then vaccinated them. Just one week later, after I had returned from feeding them as usual, a man phoned: “Apki kutti ko car ne udaya” (“Your dog has been hit by a car”). I went there - Dinky, the fat spotted pup was lying on the footpath very still. Slowly I touched her, but she did not respond, not even a whine of pain. I concentrated on watching her breath, but no, she was not breathing, she was dead. I felt like crying. She always used to come and sit in my lap to eat the chews I gave them. Just a few minutes back she had had a heavy dinner. I shook her many times, just in case there was the slightest chance she was alive. Pinky stayed with me all the time, sniffing her pup.

Chinky seemed to be upset for two or three days after she lost her companion. Now she was all alone. She was the most timid among them and always used to avoid my touch, unlike Dinky. Actually her cowardice saved her life. All the other pups, being healthier, were more adventurous and tried to follow their mother across the road, thus succumbing to accidents.

Meanwhile, Pinky fell ill with tick fever, and I concentrated on nursing her back to health and then getting her sterilized. Now Chinky was five months old, and was becoming brave. Her mother used to bring her food from bins and so on, so I reduced my feeding to only dinner. All these months were so hectic for me, you can’t imagine. Pinky had become skinny again, almost like a caravan hound. She used to run on highways in the mornings almost like a cheetah!

Now the rains had arrived. Whatever the weather, my sister Gauri and I saw to it that both mother and daughter never slept hungry! Both of them survived some days of torrential rain, but a week later Pinky just went missing. We called out for her everywhere, and I walked the whole Service Road up to Milan Subway, but there was no trace of her. Chinmayi still believes that a stall keeper on that road cooked her up. A saga of one-and-a- half years came to a sudden strange end.

Fortunately because of her new friend, a dog called Rani, Chinky did not miss her mother much. Now she was nine months old. Time for her to come on heat. I arranged for her spaying with an NGO, along with two other females. After eight days the other two were returned, but Chinky’s stitches had not healed because of her friendly jumps I’m told. After fifteen days Chinky came back. She was dropped on Service Road. I wasn’t informed about it, but on our night walk my Blacky kept pulling me towards Milan Subway although I wanted to go another way. Finally I went his way, and to my surprise there was Chinky playing with Rani. Chinky was reduced to ribs now. I started homewards to bring food for her, but this smartie started following me. Never in the past nine months had she attempted this! There were many other dogs on the way, but even to my surprise, she showed her teeth to any dog coming in her way and came to my building. I took food and lured her back to the highway, but at midnight Madam Chinky was back outside my building whining. For the next eight days the same thing happened. After that, I decided to settle her in my lane, but the new problem was that she could come in through a small hole in my building gate! I feel the disappearance of Pinky too had a role to play in Chinky’s following me. So finally now she sleeps in or outside my building at night and all day she is inside my house. I would have liked to adopt her, but my father doesn’t want to keep more dogs at home. He is very compassionate at heart, and himself feeds ten dogs in my colony, but thinks pets are a responsibility he can’t manage. We have had many arguments over keeping Tommy, then Blacky, and now Chinky. Also I have to take care of all three dogs myself.

The thing I admire most about Chinky is that after facing all odds she came to me…She didn’t come for food, she wanted to be with me!!

Manik Godbole

Chinky is a really beautiful and elegant INDog/pariah. She is available for adoption. As you can tell from Manik's story, she would make a perfect and devoted house pet. If you'd like to adopt her, please mail me on rajashree.khalap@gmail.com

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