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, December 20, 2008

Deepa and friends

Above: Deepa

Above: Shyla

Above and below: Deepa approaches Shyla

Above: All dog-owners know that this kind of sniffing is an important canine ritual

Above, below: Friends

Above: Deepa and two males - INDog-mix and INDog

Above: INDog

Pariah-type dogs are extremely gregarious and love interacting with other dogs and being part of a group. In fact, I believe such interactions are the high point of any dog's life and those who aren't allowed to socialize are missing something very healthy and enjoyable. The anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas writes that what dogs really want is to be with other dogs, and that we humans are a substitute for the canine company they crave (The Secret Life of Dogs). In India we often don't give enough importance to this need, mostly because of fear for our dog's safety or fear that our dog may injure others. If pets are well-trained and encouraged to spend time with other dogs from an early age there is no reason why there should be any risk on either side - at least that's my experience.

Nicole Poyyayil has been looking for friends for her Deepa for a long time. Here is her account of Deepa's first interaction with another dog.

May I introduce Shyla, Deepa's first friend. Finally! I've already given up the idea of finding her an "owned" dog as friend since most people don't release their dogs from the chain outside and the ones we've met so far were not friendly to other dogs so she could never go near them.

Shyla is not a pet dog and was first terribly scared when Deepa approached her, which you can see from some of the pictures. Deepa's first dog-contact was very exciting for me to watch. She behaved very friendly and I could see that she was really happy to play with a dog for the first time in her life. But it was not easy for her to convince her shy skinny friend to run around with her. But after some time, they understood each other and ran and ran...

Shyla just lay down, I guess to show Deepa that it was enough for the day. This irritated Deepa so much that she kept walking in circles around her until she got up again.

Today, we brought biscuits for her and they played again, but with less running than yesterday. I called her friend Shyla because she is extremly shy; never came close to me and carefully watched me from a safe distance.

(I think I'll bring her a deworming tablet next time, she looks too thin, maybe due to worms).

I think Shyla belongs to no one, at least for sure to no one who feeds her. If anyone would like to take her home and take care of her, I guess she would be happy. She seems to have no company, always sits there alone on the construction site outside Kharghar, even if there are plenty of other dogs around in that area.

But since she is extremly shy of people, I'm not sure if she would be okay indoors.

Last week, we met another one, but I didn't release Deepa from the chain, since a real strong male INDog watching carefully what was going on. The smaller one was more interested in chewing on Deepa's chain than playing with her. But that one was not at all shy and he tried to jump right into the car after I sat down.

If anyone likes dogwatching (as an alternative to birdwatching maybe), Kharghar is the perfect place to do that. We have dogs in all colours, sizes and shapes. Especially now you can see small ones on almost every footpath here. I guess most are mixed-breed ones but I think the majority outside the city could be showing the "pariah morphotype."

Nicole Poyyayil
Navi Mumbai

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