About Me

My photo
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, January 5, 2008

Nagaon dogs: Brownie

Indog-mix Brownie (can anyone tell me what breed he is mixed with?) was left on my street in Mumbai in March 2007, and after a month of running around and fighting with the local dogs he entered my building compound and started living there.
(I had absolutely nothing to do with this!)

Brownie loves both people and dogs, and soon became a favourite with many people – the watchmen, many of the building adults and kids. One kind lady tried to adopt him as a house pet, but Brownie scratched the polish right off her front door, tried to jump out of the window, chewed up his collar and leash, and managed to escape so many times that she finally gave up the unequal struggle and settled for feeding him several large meals daily. Most of the day he would spend racing around the neighbouring park and seaface with his three dog friends. Most of the night he would spend organizing concerts with the same three dog friends. Brownie would do the lead and they would do backup.

Unfortunately our building has its fair share of people who are seriously scared of dogs, even the harmless bunch of dogs we are blessed with. (What is it with Mumbai people by the way – why on earth are so many of us so completely disconnected from animals and nature?) Brownie’s outgoing personality did not make him as universally popular as one would have expected. In the wee hours of one fateful morning he made the mistake of barking at a young man returning home up the building driveway. This is perfectly normal dog behaviour at 2.30 a.m. – it is in fact very useful dog behaviour - but the man was extremely frightened (will someone please explain to people that barking is not a sign of aggression, growling is?) The next day there was this stern letter up on the building notice board, saying that some dogs had “attempted to bite” members of the Society – quite a different version of the event from the one given by eyewitnesses by the way. I thought it best to whisk poor Brownie away to a place where he would be better appreciated, and even decided to adopt him myself for the Nagaon house if nothing else worked out, though frankly I am not looking for another dog.

Within two hours of reaching my house he had chewed up the telephone wire and started work on one of the desk legs. At this point my caretaker Gharat became very enthusiastic about searching for a nice home for him. A local gentleman named Rajaram Athavale was called over to see him and took a great liking to him, so with a certain relief we handed Brownie over. Mr Athavale owns a little tourist cottage and a farm, and he lives very close to my house. Although he is a strict vegetarian he has arranged to have chicken cooked for Brownie every day. Best of all, his children adore Brownie. Give me rural people over city people any day. Not all villagers like dogs, it’s true…but they certainly don’t squawk or climb up the walls every time a dog passes by.

Brownie has been there for two and a half months now. I meet him often on the beach, racing and playing with a pack of beach dogs he has joined. Brownie runs like the wind, faster than any dog I’ve ever seen. The dog he is racing in the beautiful sunset silhouette photo (taken by Rohan Mukerjee) is the local alpha, whom I’ve known from a puppy and have named “Star of Nagaon.” The collared dog on the left in the last photo is our Lucy.

His owner has only one complaint about him, though he loves him dearly. Brownie isn’t aggressive enough. He makes friends with everybody and doesn’t bark at anyone.

Strange! The same dog was considered a grave danger by some of my Mumbai neighbours. Poor Brownie…can’t seem to please anybody.

Rajashree Khalap

Sunset photo: Rohan Mukerjee


Vishakha said...


WHy does Brownie have to please anyone.. Why cant he be the way he is and not be the way humans want him to be.

I get so irritated with the fact that we humans want pets, animals the way we want them to be. DOnt we have unruly kids, ill tempered husbands, dominating relatives ;-) and dont we accept them bcoz we love them.

Brownie if u can hear me, do whatever u want to do dear :) :)

Rajashree Khalap said...

Hi Vishakha! Actually the owners love him a lot...but you are right, dogs are not allowed to be themselves, in fact most of the time they can't even just do normal "dog" things without getting into trouble. Either we humans try to fit them into some silly cliches of our own, or we pretend they are humans. But I can assure you this dog is having a blast and is not a bit bothered about any expectations people may have of him!