About Me

My photo
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

Monday, April 28, 2008

INDogs trained as sniffers in Chhatisgarh

Thank God somebody finally had the sense to recognize the potential of INDogs/pariah dogs! Click here to read about the training of our desi dogs in explosives detection by the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Chhatisgarh.

Let's hope others catch on soon and go the same way. Thanks, Ketayun Sethna and Sreya Roy for mailing in the story.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Deepa when we first brought her home

Settling down

Deepa today

It was on Diwali night on the way back home, driving my old Fiat Padmini, that
I saw something really small running around in the middle of the road on the
opposite track. I made a U turn to see what it was and stopped in the middle of
the road, with cars and motorbikes horning loudly. There was no other dog
anywhere around but this small one, not knowing how to escape the traffic.

I took her into the car and my husband asked, where do we let her out?

At home of course, I said.

He wasn't very happy initially about our new family member but that changed within the
first week, and now he loves her as much as I do.

She was extremely hungry and thirsty, full of ticks and fleas, and had
a small injury near
her eye.
Someone had put nail polish on her head.

I called a veterinarian who promptly came and checked her. He guessed
her age to be about three or four weeks at that time and afterwards came regularly to see

Deepa is such a great dog. She likes visitors a lot and soon brings some toys
(sticks and so on) as soon as someone enters the house. But outside she can be
very protective and barks if anyone comes close to me. She is very scared of
other dogs, maybe because she has grown up with only us around. So I always take
her by car a little out of the locality to open fields where she can walk and run
freely. (Doesn't sound like Mumbai, right? But Kharghar is fortunately near hills and fields).

I thought meeting some people with the same type of dogs would be nice for Deepa, as she
never has contact with other dogs and she might learn not to be so scared of them. If there is
anyone in Navi Mumbai who would come for a walk sometimes, do get in touch.

Nicole Poyyayil
Navi Mumbai

Rajashree's note: If you would like your dog to meet up with Deepa, mail me on
rajashree.khalap@gmail.com and I'll put you in touch with Nicole.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The first photo is of Natasha, my puppy for two weeks.

I met Natasha one night in December 2006, while taking a walk down the lane near my house in Nagaon. She was just about five weeks old by the looks of her. She was running out of a hut yelping, pursued by an old woman who was hitting her hard on the head with a broom.

Of course I asked what the pup had done - in a mild and moderate tone, incidentally; I don't believe in unnecessary aggression, especially when I am hopelessly outnumbered.

The old woman's family were offended and aggressive, they felt they had a right to beat pups if they wanted, the pup had entered their house and dirtied it, I had no right to tell them what to do...blah blah blah. I told them they were the first bad people I had met in the village, scooped up Natasha and took her home.

An agitated and emaciated toffee-brown bitch emerged from a nearby lane and followed me for a few seconds - obviously she was Natasha's mother - but when I looked at her she took fright and disappeared.

Natasha soon forgot her early unpleasant experience of humans and started enjoying herself. Lalee didn't much care for her and avoided her, so did Lucy. But Bandra quite liked her and put up with her non-stop pestering with amazing tolerance. She certainly wasn't plump but neither was she particularly skinny, and she wasn't a bit weak. My servant told me there had been five pups in that litter but the others had all died.

A few days later the party came to an end. Natasha vomitted up roundworms.

I had intended to get her deworming medicine when I returned to Mumbai, which would have been just a few days after her adoption. Obviously she had a very heavy load of worms, too much for her little body, and they were multiplying fast.

Well, we brought her to town, and to cut a painful story short, deworming and medication didn't help. The worms had reached her central nervous system, causing very violent seizures some of which actually flung her several feet across the room. I tried to hold her through some of these fits and one time she bit me badly. She had strange unnatural moods, depending I suppose on which part of her brain was activated by the worms. Often she would scream and back away in terror from things which weren't there. She would try to run away and hide. Sometimes she'd be in a rage, with her tiny jaws snarling and snapping. Even worse, at other times she would start playing some mad nightmarish game, her now skeletal frame frisking like a marionette in a grotesque mockery of the games she had played before. We could only watch in horror; nothing seemed to help for long. She would improve and behave normally for a while, raising hopes of a complete recovery...and then relapse again.

After five days of this, mercifully she died. Or rather, her tortured little body gave up. The real Natasha had vanished long before, when the brain started collapsing.

I had her cremated and took the tiny handful of ashes back to Nagaon. We buried them in her favourite spot behind a traveller's palm in the garden.

Sorry for the melancholy mood...but there is a happy ending to this story.

See that toffee-coloured bitch in the second photo? That's Natasha's mother.

I met her last month while we were vaccinating dogs in the village (her picture is also in my recent post about our rabies control drive).
She now lives at the house of a nice old lady close to where I first saw Natasha. Four other dogs live there, well-fed and contented. It was so satisfying to see them sleeping peacefully in the sunny yard, under the coconut trees.

Her pup from last year's litter lives near there too. He looks like Natasha, but is healthy and about four months old now. Somebody likes him: a string has been tied around his neck.

I wish all this had happened earlier...if the mother had been stronger at that time, perhaps little Tasha would have been healthier, with better immunity.

The same silly irrational question comes up with every dog and with death after death: What did she do to deserve this?

Like I said, it's a silly question.

Fluffy the Second

This little monster was rescued by someone recently and is currently being looked after by some people near Bombay House, Fountain. She has been named Fluffy, like a puppy who was featured here earlier.

Anyone interested should contact Ketayun Bamji on ketayunb@gmail.com


Rabies control drive in Nagaon

These photos of pet INDogs were taken by Rohan Mukerjee on our recent trip to Nagaon to vaccinate village dogs against rabies.
As Rohan is a professional (and obsessive!!) photographer, our vaccination drive was punctuated by frequent photo sessions, some of the results of which I am posting here. Many of the villagers keep INDogs as pets, but like all village dogs they are free to roam as they please. The two females in the second picture appear to be INDog-mix - this hybridization is getting increasingly common in the Alibag area, which is touristy and is also full of city people's weekend bungalows.

Coming to rabies, this is a very real threat in rural areas. Last year a rabid dog entered the village and bit several dogs, some of whom got the disease. My aunt's dog Lucy was also bitten but I immediately brought her to Mumbai for a post-bite course of injections.

On March 26, Rohan and I went from house to house immunizing all the dogs we could catch. I am hoping to vaccinate more dogs with his help, over one or two more trips. Rabies is incurable and victims, human and non-human, die a horrifying death as their central nervous system degenerates. Canine victims are almost always clubbed to death by locals, while humans suffer from hallucinations, agitation and hydrophobia and die without a shred of dignity in hospital isolation wards.

All this tragedy can be easily prevented by vaccinating dogs, the main vector of the disease in our part of the world. What a shame that rabies eradication is so completely neglected in India. South American countries have done a great job of controlling this disease through dog vaccinations - why can't we do the same?

Photos: Rohan Mukerjee

How green is your dog?

Ever thought about the impact your dog has on the environment? I must confess I hadn't, until Shirin Merchant of Woof Magazine sent me this questionnaire. Do spend a few minutes filling it, this is important. Click here to open the questionnaire, and mail it to Shirin at k9cancare@hotmail.com


"I'm two months old today!"

Bozo sunbathing

"Lemme relax..."

She was born on the 15th of December 2007 in a park just behind our flat in Lajpat Nagar. She was one of four pups. One of them died right after its birth but thank God, the rest did fine. We used to watch the pups following their mother from our second floor balcony - it was so amusing seeing their games and fighting tactics!!

Two of the three pups eventually got lost and one fine morning (it was on January 26) while I was taking driving lessons on the main road just behind our colony, my eyes suddenly fell on a small round puffball lying still in the middle of the road. My heart took a leap as I anticipated the worst and immediately stopped my car. I got down just to find a very bewildered and trauma-stricken pup; I checked immediately to see if she had been hurt but luckily she was all right. If you have any idea of '
dilli ki sardi' (Delhi cold), you can imagine what she was going through. January 26 was one of the chilliest days of this season and due to cold and shock the fragile little thing couldn't stop shivering! The moment I put her in the back seat of my car and started the heater she immediately fell asleep.

First I thought of taking her back to her mother and leaving her there. But after I reached our colony, parked the car and put her on my lap, I saw her sound asleep like a small baby...and I felt a strong affection for her. I have always been an ardent animal lover - there was a time when I had fourteen cats in my home and when I was a kid we had a German Shepherd too. All those old feelings got revived at her touch and from that moment onwards she has been the little and invaluable jewel of my life. Since all the clinics were shut on January 26 for Republic Day, we took her to the vet the very next day and got her vaccinated. So that's how we adopted our Bozo.

Today she is a completely spoilt brat nearly four months old. She has been a bundle of joy for us. Although her favourite food is dry food, she simply can’t resist raw carrots and tomatoes. There have been numerous funny incidents when I found these vanishing from my vegetable basket (!!) and had to start keeping them out of her reach. With summer approaching I started giving her curd, she loves that too. Any kind of fruit and juice is appealing to her but banana has remained her favourite.
Lately she has developed a new habit of growling at strangers, but once her typical formal introduction is over, she is an overtly friendly dog.

Sreya Roy

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pepper, Kali, Creme and Coco need good homes, fast

These adorable pups are called Pepper, Kali, Creme and Coco. They appeared here in an adoption appeal with their mother Cleo on February 25, 2008. All of them are being looked after by Charu Shah of Mumbai.

Charu writes: "All these puppies (four females), their mother Cleo, and a male dog Max, are very playful and loving. Their owner was going to abandon the mom and the pups on some open ground at Dahisar on Monday. Somehow I have managed to put three of the pups at a kennel. Both the older dogs are still with her, but she may leave them on the road any time, if I don't get them out of her house.

The pups and mom were kept locked on her balcony all day and even at night. One fell from the balcony on Monday and died. One more also fell from balcony and has got a fracture. The other three pups are safe at the kennel, but I can't afford to keep them there for a long time.
The pups are two months old now, and the older dogs are one year old. They have had their vaccinations, and will also be sterilized at my expense. So if anyone is interested in adopting them, please contact me at shahcharu76@yahoo.com I can manage to keep them at the kennel only till end April, after that they may have to be put at a shelter. They have never been anywhere except a house, so it will be very difficult for them to survive anywhere except in a loving home.

Please pass on this message to anyone you know and help in getting these innocent kids a home, in Mumbai!"

Charu Shah

Friday, April 4, 2008

INDog-mix pup for adoption, Mumbai

This beautiful male four month old pup is being looked after by Ritu Saluja. He has a wonderful temperament and will make a perfect pet. He's had all his vaccinations. If you'd like to adopt him, please email Ritu on 1ritusaluja@gmail.com, or call her on +91 9833271714.


Thursday, April 3, 2008


My family and I have had a lifelong love affair with pariah dogs. We have the rare luxury of a garden in Mumbai which by default is a pariah dog magnet. We've fed and sheltered many canine heroes in the twenty years we've lived here. One such pariah used to eat from the garbage dump near our home and of course my mum and I couldn't bear to have this situation so we started feeding him separately and slowly he became part of the family and our house dog. We named him Brownie. Sadly he passed away two years ago at the age of 14 and is sorely missed.

Last year, after a long period without a dog in our midst, I was at Barista one evening when there was a little wet nudge under the table. Always the doggie sleuth, I peered under the table only to find this cute female dog, barely a year old, lying on her back motioning me to scratch her stomach. I was happy to oblige and we spent the better part of our evening together with her enjoying the belly rub. She started to follow me home and uncannily walked right in (one thing I've learned about pariahs is that they will make friends easily but are not easily convinced to enter a closed room/door for fear of being trapped inside). She had no inhibitions. She walked in, head held high, scoped her surroundings out, found the mat at the base of my bed and went into a deep slumber only after giving me a look to say, "I have now chosen to adopt you, you will obey me." Thus started our life with this adorable dog.

When it came to naming her after her shots were given, a friend suggested I name her "J-Lo" since her derriere resembled that of the Latin Pop star/actress. I of course was too bashful to be running down the street calling out a name like "J-Lo." So I adapted it to "Jello," since when she is happy she wags the stump she calls a tail (she came to us with this little stump so someone had obviously cut her tail as a pup) and she looks a bit like a mound of jelly!

Erica de Souza

Milo needs a home

This lovely little dog is INDog-mix Milo. He's five months old, lives in Delhi and is looking for a good, committed owner. Anyone interested should contact Malleka Gupta at guptamalleka@gmail.com

The caring brother

As I wrote earlier, my Rick and Spike are two brothers who just cannot stay apart from each other. They are really inseparable and love each other a lot.

One more incident of Spike showing his devotion to his brother Rick...It was a Sunday, and we had just returned from our weekend home (they love it there). They were both very tired and were sleeping. They have a habit of coming and sitting in the kichen at 8.30 p.m. in the evening to wait for their dinner.

That day as expected Spike came but Rick was so tired that he kept sleeping. When we were just about to give them their food bowls Spike realised that Rick wasn't there. Normally Spike jumps up for his food as he loves chicken. But this time he went running to the room where Rick was sleeping, nosed him awake and almost seemed to whisper something to him! The drowsy Rick got up and followed his bhaiyya (brother) to the kichen for his dinner, which they both guzzled happily.

Prerana Sawant