About Me

My photo
Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier and birder. 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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rocky



This handsome INDog-mix is the latest member of the Indian Pariah Dog Club. Rocky is eight and a half years old and lives in Navi Mumbai. Believe it or not, his first owner abandoned him. My guess is she's a lunatic, but I may be wrong. I can't think of any other reason for abandoning a pet though. Luckily Amita Sawardekar took him into her home, and that's where he's been living ever since.

(Thank god there are so many kind people out there to offset all the inferior ones. I know I'm rather harsh on people who abandon pets...but I really think it's as sick an act as abandoning a child. If one really can't keep one's pet for some valid reason, there is always the civilized option of looking for a new home with the help of NGOs and other dog-lovers. What kind of human discards a living creature like an unwanted piece of junk?)

Navi Mumbai

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The long-term pariah morphotype

We all know our dogs are partly or wholly Indian Pariah/Native Dog, or as we prefer to call it, INDog.

And we all know what INDogs are, right?

It's time to get more specific!

Primitive dogs across the globe have a generalized typical appearance known as the long-term pariah morphotype (LTPM). This is well documented and you can read about it in a number of sites, including The Canine Information Library and The Carolina Dog To quote Dr I Lehr Brisbin from the Carolina Dog, the type is characterized by a "wolf or fox-like appearance, with sharp-pointed, erect ears, a long, pointed muzzle and a long, fish-hook shaped tail..." Dogs showing this appearance include the Australian Dingo, the Canaan Dog, the Basenji, the Carolina Dog and of course the Indian Pariah Dog (INDog).

The INDog is part of the history of the dog, as well as of the dog-human bond, without which human life would have developed along a very different path. It is an important part of India's natural heritage. Today this unique race faces the threat of disappearing due to increasing hybridization with western and other dog breeds.

Pockets where pure INDogs thrive continue to exist, mostly in the more remote and secluded parts of the country. Take a look at my INDog photos (the lower screen), taken in the course of several trips in 2008. Also Aditya Panda's INDog album, showing dogs living with aboriginal peoples in the forest areas of Orissa. Click on the photo below to start the slideshow.



Bliss!



For my Lalee, heaven is a very messy place...

Coco











Rochelle Vaz's Coco displays all his best poses, expressions and his Indian Pariah Dog Club tag for the camera!


Mumbai

Notty







Notty is not my first pet. I had a pomeranian sixteen years ago. We used to live in Indore in a spacious house which had a big backyard for the dog to move around in and play. We had to give him away since we were going to shift to Bangalore and stay in a flat with limited space. For all these sixteen years almost every day I had been pestering my parents and trying to convince them to get me a pet..and now finally I managed to get one in March 2008. It was unexpected and the best gift I could ever have, 20 march being my birthday!

I have been religiously feeding street dogs, puppies, and kittens till date, but I never really thought of adopting a street dog for a cause! Like most of us even I wanted a pedigree dog. The reason I went for a mix-breed dog is that it was easier for me to convince my parents to get the pup home now.

But let me tell you I never thought I would feel so good about owning a mix-breed. Everyone in my family feels proud to say "Humne adopt kiya!" ("We adopted him"). And I wouldn't say that I have given Notty a loving home...he has made my "home sweet home" sweeter and more loving!

Aarti Subramaniam
Mumbai

Notty is one of the pups Charu Shah put up for adoption.

Sophie





This is Sophie, a pretty little INDog-mix from Bangalore. She was adopted when little over a month old by Sunaina Kodkani. Sophie has just become a member of the Indian Pariah Dog Club.

Bangalore,
India

Orbit





This is Orbit, a beautiful INDog-mix belonging to John Kerr and Kim Chung.

Orbit was born in the Filmnagar neighbourhood of Hyderabad in the early '90s. Before his adoption at the age of 3 months he lived in a construction site. When he was three years old he shifted to Washington with his owners.

"Washington is a dog-loving town," John writes, "We couldn't walk more than a block without someone stopping us and telling us what a beautiful dog we had and wondering where they could get one like it."

Orbit is now fifteen and a half and lives in East Lansing, Michigan. I love these photos of him posing with tulips and clematis.

Michigan,
USA

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The good life!



These lucky INDogs are Lali (not my Lalee!) and Shutki. The names mean "red" and "skinny." They live with the Chaudhuri family in Kolkata. A third dog, Sundari ("beauty") lives there too though she was lolling around elsewhere when this photograph was taken.

Kolkata

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sonu's story



I was always fond of dogs but unfortunately my mother wasn't. I had always longed to have a dog as a pet but my wish was never fulfilled. My parents did not even like me feeding stray dogs, and one day I found to my dismay that I was totally cut off from the doggy world. I remembered my heart's desire and felt angry. There were so many people who had happy stories to tell about how their pets had miraculously come into their lives, but I had no such story. If not a pet, couldn’t I just have one dog to live outside my door, was there no dog in my destiny?

I cried, but someone up there was listening... A few months later, while returning from a movie I saw this beautiful little adolescent dog passing in front of my house. I called out to him and ran inside to get something for him to eat. I got immense satisfaction seeing him eat and a few days on I hadn’t quite gotten him out of my head. I deputed my maids to be on the lookout for a little brown dog. Soon my maid called out to me from the balcony and sure enough he was there, my sweet little dog. I called out to him and asked him to wait for me as I ran inside to arrange his food. Then I ran out to see if he was still there. Unlike other dogs who first of all don’t listen to you and even if they do, don’t stay long, my sweetie was sitting there patiently. In fact he looked so sweet that I there and then gave him a name: "Sonu babu." After that I decided that he would be my dog.

For a whole week I used to go out in search of him and feed him and familiarize him with his name. After a week's effort I would come home from the office and there he would be waiting at my door. Then all my time would pass in talking to him and feeding him. What joy to have such a pretty dog! Strangely other people didn't think he was pretty at all. He had hair missing from under his eyes, his ears and tail. He was suffering from a major tick infestation. I knew nothing about dogs or their ailments. Then started my run from one vet to another, one NGO to another, till I had gone to almost half the vets in Delhi. Without intending it, I was gaining knowledge that would help my mission in the future.

One day in early February it was very cold and Sonu didn’t want to return to his home which was a gutter just a few feet from my house. I treasured what time I had with him and didn't want to test my parents on this and lose my dog altogether. So I turned him away but I told my mother he was feeling unwell and wanted to stay in the veranda. My mom said, "You should have given him a sheet to lie on."

And that was it! The next night I gave him a sheet to lie on and Sonu started staying in our compound. It became his base. He would go out for a romp with his friends and make frequent visits to his base. At night we would feed him and he would sleep there. Then I found a great vet who finally diagnosed his problems and cured him. But I still remember the days I used to get up to see Sonu with some new ailment. I used to be visiting vets three days a week. Thankfully those days are over. There was just one episode last winter when he ran away to eat at a wedding party till 3 a.m. and caught a cold. Otherwise I haven’t needed to visit a vet for a long time.


Then one day it was too hot for Sonu to stay in the sun and I asked my mom if he could just come in... he would not be allowed into any room. My mom by now had taken a liking to him and found it very difficult to cuddle him outside as she had to bend a lot. So she agreed as it was more convenient to sit on the steps in the lobby or on the sofa and cuddle him.


Sonu sensitized me to the life of stray dogs, his ailments taught me a lot about dog diseases and NGOs, in short he helped me do what I had always wanted to do - work for stray dogs. He gave me the motivation and courage to do it. I don’t believe stray dogs are all in a deplorable state. Many are healthy and loved, doing fine, as good as any living being can hope to do in this world. But yes, there is still lots that can be done for them and it’s our responsibility to do it. I must confess here that I always wanted a pedigreed dog but my beautiful dog opened my eyes and I now realize how beautiful Indian mix-breed dogs are. A lab is a lab and looks like a lab but an INDog-mix … just see the variety!

Today Sonu's routine is this: in the morning he goes out of the house, meets his friends and barks at passersby who are up and about early. As activity increases in the house he goes in and out with very person who enters and leaves. After he has wagged us good bye as we leave for work, he settles down either inside the house (the lobby being his favorite place) or sits outside the house. When he has had enough of a sunbath he barks to be let inside again. There is not much activity till mom takes him for a walk in the evening. A few more hours of rest till we come home and he welcomes us with tail-wagging and cuddling. He is now free to enter our room and very often sleeps under my bed. Intelligent dog that he is, he never barks or even whimpers when he sleeps in my room, but when he sleeps on the ground floor he barks the night away.

My mother finds him a perfect companion for walks and loves him dearly.

Now when I ask her “Mom, you said you didn’t like dogs," she promptly answers, "Sonu is not a dog. He is a great sage reincarnated."


Mridu Minocha
Delhi

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tommy's pack



Good news from Manik Godbole. After a long drawn-out power struggle, the Tommy, Chinky and Blacky trio have settled into a close-knit pack. This photo is proof!