About Me

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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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The sweet 'mistakes' of my life



Like it's always been, my two new dogs found me. I didn't go looking for them. In fact, I was busy muttering to myself: No more dogs, no more dogs. But in November last year, in the freezing cold, came in a puppy, all of a month or so old, materializing literally on my doorstep, braving the wrath of Older Dog (the terrier named Yoyo). He was promptly adopted, as there was a slot free, with Senior Older Dog Snoopy having passed on some months ago. We named him Jugnu (which means firefly in Hindi/Urdu).

A month later, a creamy white creature, all of two months old, stuck to me on my walk. I firmly avoided eye contact (that really does you in)...and even vaguely shooed him away. But he walked so firmly with me, that it was clear he had a clearer idea of destiny's game-plan than I did. I made the mistake of looking at his eyes. They were the cutest jet black buttons, full of urgent hope that I would recognize him as my own!

This one was named nothing for a while, because we sort of fooled ourselves that we would fatten him up and give him to someone. Looking in their eyes and naming them - sure way of being hooked. And hooked we are. So this one is Bertie (as in Wooster, don't ask why...later I thought of Masoom and Rumi, or Toby but by this time Bertie was answering to his name). Yoyo wasnt pleased at all, but Jugnu was thrilled - as you can see from this photograph, Jugnu really took him under his wing! They are about ten months old now, and do not fit into that chair together anymore.

Having them has meant realigning my life, adding a second gate so that they dont rush out into neighbours' homes, cooking vast quantities of food, having favourite footwear, artefacts, plants, furniture, etc chewed up, major maintenance work like brushing, bathing, walking, vet visits...I didn't plan to get so tied up again, for sure. But as they say...Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. I'm not complaining!

All my dogs have come to me in this pre-planned manner - meaning they and their Maker plan, and I fall in line - the first one many years ago came by plane, the other one came off a rubbish heap, the third one (current eldest) literally jumped into my car via the window, and now these two.

Gouri Dange
Pune

Friday, August 22, 2008

Luciano Gheerotti





This beautiful, elegant INDog just joined the Club. He lives in Mumbai with owners Sanjay Nair and Maya Menon.

Luciano was born in the garage of their building just over three years ago. Puppies there often take shelter under cars and get run over accidentally, which is why at an early age Luciano was left with no siblings. Before long he too met with an accident and both his hind legs were injured, leaving him semi-paralysed. Sanjay and Maya rushed him to a vet for treatment, and after ten days of physiotherapy and home care the pup was up and running around again.

Since both Sanjay and Maya are out at work for several hours a day they decided they wouldn't be able to keep Luciano at home, and made many attempts to put him back in the building yard. But Luciano kept coming up to their flat, and finally started actually placing his head in front of one of their car tyres to prevent them from driving away! He did this more than once, so it certainly was an intentional act whatever his thought process may have been.

After this display of uncanny intelligence the couple naturally succumbed and Luciano moved into their home permanently. For a dog with such a "gangster" kind of name he certainly has a very angelic expression (of course it's also an "opera" kind of name!) A brief translation for those unfamiliar with Indian cuisine: "ghee rotti" means clarified butter with Indian bread - one of his favourite snacks. Carrying on the culinary theme, he was given the nickname "loochee," a Bengali delicacy this time!

Mumbai

Photos: Sanjay Nair, Maya Menon

Kutti Boy



Dogs like Kutti Boy are common in plantation areas, where irresponsible owners let their purebreed dogs mix freely with the local INDogs. This not only mongrelizes the native dog population, it creates a host of unwanted puppies who are then heartlessly abandoned to their fate.

This endearing young mix-breed had a very sad life until dog-lover Peggy Rustomji came to his rescue. He is now living with her on her coffee plantation in Kodaikanal, and has two other dogs for company, Gilly and Minnie.

Peggy tells us his story:

Who can account for a twist of Fate? Is that how Kutti Boy and I came together? He was for sale as a “jadhi” (purebred). Rani came to me with this news one morning adding a sad tale of his present condition. Yesu to whom he had been given to sell, could not look after him. His diet was left over sambar and rice, and his accommodation the goat shed.

I have never bought a dog in my life, and those I have kept through the years have all been of the Heinz 57, mutt variety. However, even without seeing him, something touched my heart and prompted me to succumb. The next morning, money paid, Rani brought a furry, bedraggled, confused dog into our lives, name not known. He was being called Kutti, the all purpose appendage to an unknown dog. I added BOY to give him an identity.

This is Kutti Boy’s story. One day a young girl on her way home found a young puppy whining in the gutter. She picked him up and brought him home. For the next nine months he was her pet, and whatever name he was then given, it spelt comfort.

The time came for the family to leave, and leave Kutti Boy. He now had to become street-smart and a survivor. Garbage was his diet and home. He was found snuffling in it when the garbage van came to collect it to be taken away. The question is, was he thrown into the van intentionally, or landed there to be tipped out onto the garbage pit in the village, where the driver of the van had a brother. When he saw this dog, who with a stretch of the imagination could be passed off as “jadhi,” he was quick to see the possibility of a quick buck.

We discovered Kutti Boy’s “jadhi-ness” was threefold, which put together made him into a handsome dog. His hind legs are slender and not at all strong, he expands upwards into a barrel chest with a neck supporting a collie head. His colouring is divided into black, brown and white. He has a bushy white tail that is his “crowning” glory! Half of one ear has been cut off, and he has lost some teeth. What other traumas he has known we shall never know. But with care, love, security, and a lady playmate to boot, we hope he will continue to bond. He is already taking on his responsibilities as a caretaker and friend, and he is generous with his love.

He is a gift.

Peggy Rustomji
Kodaikanal



Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Indy and the cat













This one's for cat lovers! Delightful pictures and a video film of Yvonne de Kock's sixteen-year old red Persian Apollo playing with Leela. These two adore each other: Apollo is always near Leela, and recently when she was taken out for several hours he waited for her near the door.

Click here to watch
the video - it's a guaranteed mood-upper!
Video and photos by Caroline Walker
NYC, USA

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mumdi joins the Club



This is Mumdi, the newest member of the Club. He is ten years old and lives in Mumbai with Aditi Raut's family.

Mumdi was abandoned by someone near Aditi's house when he was about five months old. It was raining heavily and people were being cruel to him. A kind man saved his life and started keeping him as a semi-pet, but as his house was very small he couldn't keep Mumdi inside at night.

Meanwhile Aditi had been trying to persuade her mother to adopt the pup. After a year and a half her mother finally agreed. That's how Mumdi became a full-time pet dog.

His original saviour comes over to walk him every day, so this lucky dog is always surrounded by people who are crazy about him!

Mumbai

Photo: Aditi Raut

Mix-breed pups for adoption, Delhi















These cuddly mix-breed pups are being looked after by Namrata Pahwa in Noida. Two got good homes earlier and these five are up for adoption. Their mother Julie is a lovely docile dog and the pups seem to have inherited her temperament. They are healthy and have just been vaccinated. If you'd like one, please contact Namrata on namratapahwa@gmail.com

Delhi

Pups for adoption, Bangalore



These lovely pups live at 1st Cross, MES colony, Konnena Agrahara, Airport Road, Bangalore-17. If you'd like to adopt one (or more) of them, please write to Anushree at anushree.kalmegh@gmail.com

Bangalore

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Young Lalee



A picture of my Lalee in her youth! She's seven now. Those lovely batwing ears became droopy quite recently because of haematomas.

Mumbai

Monday, August 11, 2008

INDogs of Daman





Kiran Khalap photographed these beautiful Indis in Daman last week. Both display the long-term pariah morphotype, the appearance common to primitive dogs worldwide (see my May 11, 2008 post).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Capital punishment for an Indian dog



This news item was forwarded to me recently by some animal lovers. If you click on the image and enlarge it you will be able to read the article by Giridhar Jha of Patna, Bihar. It's about a seven year old Indian dog called Chhotu who lives in Purnea district, Bihar. Chhotu is actually facing legal proceedings and a death sentence for defending his elderly owner Rajkumari Devi against goons in her village who want to grab her property. It seems the villagers have declared him a "mad dog" (whatever that is supposed to mean) and a death sentence has already been awarded. However, he recently appeared before the Sub Divisional Magistrate, who did not find any signs of mental instability. In fact every morning Chhotu leads his owner's five goats to the fields to graze and then brings them home again: hardly the behaviour of a "mad" dog.

Chhotu's next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow (August 5). In spite of being impoverished Rajkumari Devi has hired a local lawyer Mr Dilip Kumar Deepak to represent the dog. If he fails to prove Chhotu's innocence or get the death sentence revoked, Chhotu will be put down.

The following appeal is from Mr Rishi Dev, a Delhi-based activist (rishidev000@gmail.com) I must repeat his request to use a polite and non-confrontational tone when communicating with any of the officials listed.

Rishi Dev:

At this juncture prospects for Rajkumari Devi and Chhotu seem dim but if you agree that Chhotu's "Right to life" shouldn't be toppled by a bunch of goons then now is the chance to make your opinion count. All I ask of you is that you contact the following dignitaries and Heads of Offices in Bihar, for they hold the key to averting this impending tragedy.

A call, an SMS or simply an email from you to the concerned authorities can bring respite to this ageing widow and her four-legged son.

I would also appeal to all who are considering writing or calling the following dignitaries to be judicious and decorous with them and only implore them to mediate. Please avoid confrontation at all cost.

In addition making plentiful calls to the local media would persuade them to publicize this issue and garner sentiments in favour of Chhotu.

Remember Chhotu faces his "judgment day" on August 5, 2008.

People to whom you can appeal to mediate:

Ramnarayan Mandal, Minister for Animal & Fish Resources, Bihar, Tel (0612) 2230496

Bhanu Pratap Sharma, IAS, Principal Secretary M/o Animal & Fish Resources, Bihar, Tel (0612) 2226543 email ahd-bih@nic.in

Dr N. Saravana Kumar, IAS, Director M/o Animal & Fish Resources, Bihar, Tel (0612) 2224962 Mobile 09430903553 email dirahd-bih@nic.in

Brahmchari Chandra Shekhar Prasad, Joint Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Mobile 09431852255

Dr Ram Swarup Ram, Addl Director, Animal Husbandry Directorate, Bihar, Mobile 09304268336

Dr Ram Narayan Singh, Joint Director, Animal Husbandry Directorate, Bihar, Mobile 09835069240

Dr Ramlakhan Prasad, Regional Director, Animal Husbandry Directorate, Purnea, Mobile 09939732313

Dr Vashishth Ram, Regional Director, Animal Husbandry Directorate, Purnea, Mobile 09430935128

Dr Ram Naresh Prasad Singh, District Officer, Animal Husbandry Directorate, Purnea, Mobile 09334637973

Shishir Sinha, Secretary to Ramji Rishidev, Minister for Environment & Forests, Mobile 0983522925

Maheshwar Singh, Special Secretary, M/o Environment & Forests), Mobile 09431017500

MJ Mishra, Wildlife Warden, M/0 Environment & Forests, Mobile 09431815965

Shri Sridhar C, IAS, District Magistrate & Collector, Purnea, Tel: 06454 242599/242503/242501

Commissioner Purnea Division, Tel 06454 242246/243199/242246

Secretary to Commissioner, Purnea, Tel 06454 243199/244141

Shri Bhupendra Kumar Singh, Additional Collector, Purnea, Tel 06454 242520/242510
P.A. to Collector, Purnea, Tel 06454 242370

D.I.G. Police, Purnea, Tel 06454 243156/243126

Smt Rashmi Verma, IAS, Chairman, Bihar State Tourism, Tel 0612 2222622/2215531, Telefax 0612 2234194, email secytourisbihar@yahoo.co.in, bstdc@rediffmail.com

Shri Nitish Kumar, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Bihar, Tel 0612 2223886/2224784 (office), email cmbihar-bih@nic.in

Raghunanthanlal Bhatia, Hon'ble Governor of Bihar, Tel 0612 2226207, email governorbihar@nic.in

Shri Sushil Kumar Modi, Hon'ble Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar), Tel 0612 2227894 (office), email dycmbihar@yahoo.com


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rocket and Gobbers: the terrible two!











If you've been coming here for a while you'll probably remember these two. Last year (October 30) I posted photos of young Gobbers, then known as Goblin, sitting inside a soup bowl. Also the first photo here, of him sleeping snuggled up to Rocket. Well, as expected Gobbers has grown rather a lot since then and has also grown really superb-looking. I hear from his owner Anuradha Gupta that his behaviour is, er, feisty, but then he is still very young and will perhaps calm down over time.

I love the totally different expressions and body language of these two dogs as they look out of the balcony. Gobbers absolutely alert and watchful - has another dog dared to enter his territory? And Rocket soulful, gentle and meditative as always.

Photos: Sanjay Sarkar, Anuradha Gupta

Mumbai

Wolfi















He was abandoned by his mother on the streets of Delhi and caught my brother's eye while he was roaming around the hostel my brother lived in. My brother fed him for a few days and then decided to take him in.

Everyone in the hostel loved Wolfi and would play with him. But after about ten months the pup had grown quite a bit and the hostel authorities told my brother to put him back on the streets.

Of course my brother loved Wolfi too much to do that. Also since he lived in a hostel he had bought the pup non-vegetarian food like chicken from a hotel nearby. Because of this Wolfi would not eat anything else, not even bread or rice.

My brother then called up my mom and told her the situation...and within two days Wolfi was at our Mumbai home!! Over here we had some problems as he would not eat anything but eventually he learnt to drink milk and eat some rice along with meat.

Now after three years Wolfi has become very friendly with us, has learnt to eat different things and lives on happily!!!!

Tejas Redkar
Thane, Maharashtra

Sonu revisited













A peek at Mridu Minocha's pretty mix-breed Sonu, who was featured here on May 3.

Delhi