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, January 7, 2008

The INDog in New York: My Rescue

I was about six weeks old, playing in a very busy street in the mid-morning sunshine and the next thing I knew, this South African woman scooped me up and took me into the slum along the side of the road to inquire if I belonged to someone (as if I could really belong to anyone!) or if anyone knew me. No one had seen me before or seemed interested in knowing or helping me. I was a few seconds from being run over by either a rickshaw, a car or a lorry they later told me.

Yvonne, as my future mom is called, didn’t have the heart to put me back on the street. And then I noticed that she wasn’t alone and had her friend Lee with her. In fact, that’s partly how I got my name. My name Leela means ‘play’ or even ‘divine play of consciousness’ and Yvonne named me in part to honor Lee and partly, well you have to hear the rest of the story.
After nobody would claim me, Yvonne gently placed me in her handbag and she and Lee walked into the local bookstore, where they were headed before encountering me in the street. I looked around me, I was safe and cozy in a dark and warm environment and I immediately fell asleep. Yvonne kept nudging me to see if I was breathing. Somehow, she was worried about me and wanted to find out if I was OK. I think that I had already entered her heart (they say she has a soft spot for strays) and that this would be the beginning of a great connection for both of us.

She took me back to where she was staying (it was my first rickshaw ride – fun!) and she called the local vet who told her to feed me some buffalo milk and rice paste. I perked up immediately. Then I noticed this colorful round thing in the room. It was about my size, so I went up to it to sniff it and say hello. And when I touched it to play, it rolled away. And I couldn’t resist following it. So I touched it again and again and that’s when Yvonne decided to name me Leela, as she could see that I loved to play, especially with a ball.

I sniffed around and got to know my new temporary flat, while Yvonne tried to make me feel at home before going to her yoga class. She made me a little bed out of towels and put down bowls of milk and food. And, she put some down some newspapers, knowing I would have to relieve myself while she was away. She left and there was a huge thunderstorm, so I ran for cover under her bed. After a time, I ventured out and noticed a big bright ball in the night sky. And it invited me to sing to it, so I howled and howled and the moon smiled back at me. When Yvonne came home, I was still howling away.

The next day, I went to see Dr. Pardeshi, my first vet. While waiting for the doctor to arrive, I met a wonderful lady named Corinna, who loved me the minute she saw me. She lived nearby with her family and would help take care of me over the month while Yvonne finished her studies. Dr. Pardeshi described me as a typical Indian street dog. I have tried not to take this personally, as I am too special to be called ‘typical’. He said I was healthy except for mange on my tail. Yvonne also took some deworming medicine home for me.

I continued to get stronger and stronger. Yvonne had told me that we would be making a big trip on a giant bird with stiff wings to go to her home in America and that I needed to be a very good puppy... Over the next month, I got healthier and grew stronger and I felt so loved by everyone. In fact, when it came time to go, I could hardly fit into the bag that my mom’s friend K-Lea brought from America.

Mom (I started to call Yvonne that) and I took a three-hour Cool Cab taxi from Pune to Bombay – which was a real adventure! It was so much fun; we kept the windows down and my ears were flapping in the wind.

To break up our big trip, we stopped at the home of Mom’s friends Jaya and Mohan in Bombay. Hours later, we went to the airport for our 18+ hour journey to New York. Mom insisted on finding an airline that would allow her to take me on board, so that she could accompany me on the long ride and make sure I wasn’t too frightened. It cost her a pretty penny too!

After we cleared passport control (I didn’t need one), I strutted down the long hall to the international departure lounge, my head in the air, confident that I was loved and safe and looking forward to my long trip on the big metal bird.

(Stay tuned for Chapter 2: Getting Settled in New York)

Yvonne de Kock and CJ Lonoff


Bea said...

My own little pariah dog comes from the hill country in Sri Lanka, she was thrown from a motorbike at my door aged about 4 weeks, good news is she came home with me and is now out of quarentine, yay!

Rajashree Khalap said...

Dear Bea,

Great to hear about one more pariah dog getting a good home! Do send her photos, I would love to post them on our blog.


Bea said...

I've emaild some pictures,

Can't wait to hear more about Leela, what a real cutie