About Me

My photo
Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. I'm also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai for 14 years.

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.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The INDog meeting in NYC!























Lovely photos of two overseas Club members, Leela and India, at their first meeting in New York City!

Leela and India loved each other and played for almost three hours. Their mums Yvonne and Caroline are going to make sure they meet regularly.

Wouldn't it be great if some of our Mumbai members could meet and play too? If anyone has any suggestions on how to organize this, do get in touch - email me on rajashree.khalap@gmail.com





Tommy, Blacky and Chinky


Tommy, Blacky and Chinky at a recent photo session at Dr Manik Godbole's house!




Chinky (the beautiful brown one) is still up for adoption - please spread the word around. She is just over a year old.
























Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hari

This is Hari, a pariah (or perhaps pariah-mix) dog from Sri Lanka. Her full name is Harriet, but the short form, Hari, means "OK" or "very" in Sinhalese.

Hari is owned by
Beatrice Hannah, who was living and working in Sri Lanka last year. As a tiny pup she was thrown at Beatrice's door from a passing motorbike. After being cured of mange she grew into a beautiful little dog. The picture on the left shows her covered in neem oil.

Hari is now eight months old and is living in her new home in Bristol, UK
- in fact she has only just got out of
quarantine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The INDog in New York, Part Two: Settling down




On the flight home, mom was by the window seat and I was stuck and compressed in the bag under the seat. I was only 12 weeks old, very lonely and sad, but I didn’t make a peep. Then, the lights went down and mom reached for me and took me out of the bag and put me on her lap (under the blanket). I felt so luxurious and spoilt. Mom praised me for being so good on the flight back. Even the man sitting next to us commented on how well behaved a little puppy I was.

When I arrived at JFK, the customs man said that all of my papers were in order and I breezed through immigration. Mom didn’t take me straight home, though. Instead, we went directly from the airport to the vet, Dr. Campbell. She examined the mange on my tail, declared that I was worm-free, and gave me a medicated bath for the fleas that made the trip with me. Dr. Campbell also tested me for worms – and I was parasite free (contrary to what most Indian street dogs would have).

Mom’s husband was not initially supportive of my coming to live with him and the two elderly cats. But I knew I would win him over. Now he completely adores me and I have nestled a permanent place in his heart and in his bed. He even shows my photo to friends and colleagues all over the world. Now that I had won dad over, I had a few things to learn: how to walk on the leash, how to manage my toilet training, and how to

interact with different types of dogs (big, small, aggressive, passive, shy, afraid – from Chihuahuas to Irish Wolfhounds and from Pit Bulls to Rottweillers). In fact, I was so clever that it took only four tries for me to learn how to ring a bell to alert mom that I needed to go out and relieve myself.





Living in a concrete forest has brought out some eccentricities in my personality. Instead of howling at the moon, I now howl at the unending stream of sirens that reverberate through the streets of New York. When mom takes me for walks on the street, she is constantly stopped by strangers who ask, “Excuse me, what exotic breed is that?” Then when mom says, “Leela is a street dog from India,” people think that she is joking.

One of the recognized characteristics in dogs like me is our innate ability to use clear signals in communicating with other dogs. A trainer once remarked that it was quite evident that I am very comfortable in my own skin. This ability has enabled me to make many friends who I still enjoy seeing everyday in the park and in the dog run. And my new cat companions were immediately fond of me too, as I endeared myself to them with my charismatic personality. When I was seven months old, Nikita, one of my cat companions, died at the age of 15 ½. So now, it is just the four of us in the pack. Each night, we all huddle together in bed. And I simply can’t fall asleep unless I am cuddled up with one of my pack mates!

I am now almost 16 months old, healthy and happy and love my new home. While mom is a vegetarian, she respects my carnivorous nature and feeds me a raw food diet of meat and vegetables. I even have a fresh raw marrow bone to chew each day.

Today is a big day for me. I just learned this week that there is another Indian pariah dog living in New York. Her name is India and our moms have arranged for a play date at 1 o’clock today. I even had a bath this morning (I love baths) so that I would look my best.
We’ll let you know how it goes!




Yvonne de Kock & C J Lonoff

NYC, USA

The last two photos are of Leela at the Yogathon at the Iyengar Yoga Institute, New York.
She does five yoga asanas on command and is learning more!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

INDog mix pups for adoption, Delhi




Good news! Malleka Gupta found homes for many of her beautiful puppies. Four are still left. Do spread the word around and help her get them adopted. Contact Malleka on guptamalleka@gmail.com or 91 11 26940653.

Goldi and Lessi



I found Goldi in a very interesting way. It was her mother who gave her to me.

Three years ago on a sunny winter afternoon, Goldi's mom, who was a dog of our locality, gave birth to three pups. After a few days some bad boys of our locality was trying to hurt her and her puppies. She was really afraid and running around with Goldi in her mouth. Suddenly she came to my house (she used to come to our house every day because my mom used to give her food), dropped Golu in front of our door and ran away. This is how Goldi (Golu) became a member of our household, the most loving member.

My second dog is Lessi (female) who is two and a half months old. Last month I went to my friend's house in Salt Lake. There I found three unusual pups on the street with very long fur. One of them unfortunately died in a road accident, the second puppy had a large infection on her back and the third one is Lessi. I was going every day to give that infected dog medicine. Somehow or other, I don't really know how, Lessi became an integral part of life and I took her home.



Dwiti Basu
Kolkata

Sonu





This pretty INDog-mix is called Sonu and lives in Delhi. She has been owned by Mridu Minocha and her family since the age of nine months. Sonu just joined our Club.

India in NYC


























I'm a five year old Indian Pariah Dog living in New York City. My mama named me after the country of my birth. She found me in Gokarna, Karnataka as a two week old puppy. I was covered with bugs and she tried to pick as many off of me as she could but then took me to a State veterinarian who gave me an injection to kill all the parasites.

Unfortunately, the vet made a
mistake and gave me a full dog's dose when I was only a small puppy. I became very sick and almost died...my Mama took me to a private veterinarian who treated me for the overdose. She prayed very hard that I
would live...and when I did, we knew we were meant to be together always!

I've spent most of my life in New York City...here people like my exotic look and ask what breed of dog I am. I was kicked out of my first day care for being to feisty but my mama was able to get me into another one where they encourage the rambunctious play that I like. I do many activities such as kayaking, going to the park where I play with children and other dogs, and celebrating the American holiday called Halloween....my Mama likes for us to get dressed up together and enter contests...frankly I hate it, but I do it to make her happy...and we win every year so that means treats for me!

Caroline Walker
NYC, USA

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
NYC, USA

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Benji joins the Club





















Benji was left in Ganganagar by the NGO which neutered him and he wandered into my lane. The poor kid was getting battered by the people in my lane as he wanted to get away from the other strays in our area.


My brother and I could not bear this for long and two weeks after his first appearance we adopted him. I was at first really nervous about this decision but now I feel really lucky to have him. He is so loving and protective, especially about Elsa my beautiful Tibetan Terrier. He is simply devoted to my brother and Elsa and just loves me and my Dad. He has appointed himself his bodyguard and every few hours he will go and see how my Dad is. I am really thankful to have him and really can’t imagine my life without him.


Ashvina Bativala
Bangalore


(Benji is ten months old. His owner Ashvina was a volunteer at WSD even before I joined, way back in 1993! Ashvina boards dogs at her home and Benji is only too happy to have new dogs to play with).

Timu


This pretty INDog-mix is Timu, newly recruited into the Club. He lives with owner Manisha Abhyankar in Vasai. Timu is just under 2 years old.

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

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Nagaon dogs: Zanjeer








































Nagaon is a seaside village near Alibag which we visit very often. In fact it's Lalee's and Bandra's second home.

Last year we found homes for two street dogs there: white INDog-Labrador mix Zanjeer, and INDog-heaven-knows-what mix Brownie. I have to thank my caretaker Gharat for his efforts to find good owners for WSD dogs.

As you can see from the photos in both the Nagaon dogs posts, these two are thoroughly enjoying the switch from city to country living.

Zanjeer lives very near my own house, his owner's name is Pandurang. WSD volunteer Rohan Mukerjee took these lovely photos of him on a recent visit.


Rajashree Khalap

Photos: Rohan Mukerjee