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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Indian toon dog!



Did you know that the ubiquitous Indian street dog is represented even in the cartoon world? Thousands of Indians already know Rocket, the faithful companion of the much-loved comic strip character Chacha Chaudhary. Here's one of the book covers.

Mridu Minocha (Sonu's owner) drew my attention to Rocket and she tells me that his look has changed - earlier he had shorter fur and a pointed tail.

I think we can safely describe him as an INDog-mix!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Deepa in Christmas card country













I am always fascinated by pictures of our Indis in snow.

Such unlikely scenes are more common nowadays thanks to American, European and non-resident Indian dog lovers who have adopted pets from the streets of India.

Last year I posted photos of Lisa Perrine's Otis and Rhada in their snowjackets, and quite recently of Yvonne de Kock's Leela and little Rishi playing in an icy NYC dog run.

The latest to shift to colder climes is Nicole Poyyayil's Deepa.

Two months ago Deepa was taken to Nicole's family's farm in the beautiful village of Doerflingen in North Switzerland. She is living an enviable life there and seems to have adapted effortlessly to temperatures which drop to -15 degrees Celsius.

Looking at the obvious discomfort of many Eurobreeds in our sweltering Indian summer I had assumed that INDogs would be equally miserable in cold countries, but now I think that was an incorrect assumption.

Of course when it's really cold Deepa has to wear a thick coat. INDogs are practically hairless on the stomach and it is important to keep that area covered.


Look out for more pictures of this elegant dog in her new home!

Photos: Nicole Poyyayil
Doerflingen,
Schaffhausen,
Switzerland



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Goodbye Lucy



Yesterday we lost our dear friend Lucy, my aunt's pet and Lalee's longtime companion in Nagaon.

Lucy was over thirteen but very healthy until her sudden severe illness just a few days ago. Sadly I was in Gujarat at the time and she died before I returned.


Lucy was a very cheerful little dog. I'm trying to remember her happy life and all the fun we had instead of grieving over her final sad days.

This is one of the last pictures I took of her, just two weeks back, standing between Kimaya and Lalee on the beach.

Goodbye Lucy. We'll miss you...Nagaon will seem very empty without you.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Please look out for this missing dog







Scrappy has been missing since February 14 from his home in Mahim, Mumbai. He had recently had an operation on his ear flap and was wearing a ruff. Owner Amfrid Sequeira says Scrappy left the house to go downstairs and never returned. He's searched the city street dog shelters but hasn't found him yet. Please look out for him if you are in Mahim or the neighbouring areas, and do spread the word. If you spot him, call Amfrid on 09833187929.

Mahim,
Mumbai

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

INDogs of Orissa
















Last month I went on a week-long trip to Orissa with American anthropologist and photographer Heather Fener. Heather is in India photographing indigenous dogs for a very interesting project. Orissa's remote tribal villages are among the best places to see pure pariah-type dogs so we decided to head there. We were accompanied by Diptiranjan Patra, an enthusiastic young wildlife conservationist who works for the NGO Wild Orissa.

We had some unforgettable experiences including wading across the Khairi river over slippery stones and rocks to reach a village on the other side. And shivering all of one night in a forest lodge thanks to the hopelessly inadequate blankets! Met some memorable characters both human and canine. Like the INDog pair Kuna and Kuni and their owner Arjun. And our extraordinarily garrulous chauffeur who could speak some aboriginal languages as well as Oriya and turned out to be an excellent interpreter. A tribal lady who offered us the local beverage "handiya" (Diptiranjan and I politely declined but Heather drank it and said it tasted like rotten wine!) A group of ex-poachers who have given up their former profession and now work as tour guides in the beautiful birding hotspot Chilika Lake. INDog Tibbu, his goofy girlfriend and their two lovely pups at Labangi in Satkosia Tiger Reserve. Tibbu's owner works at the forest resthouse there and Tibbu is devoted to him and rarely leaves his side. You can see some pictures of him here.

Discussing conservation is not the purpose of this blog, but I must mention that Similipal Tiger Reserve is hardly worth the long journey for people interested in seeing wildlife. Cows, goats and humans seem to be the most numerous and visible species there and they far outnumber the few and petrified wild animals. The impact of humans on the forest is easy to see. The Labangi area of Satkosia was much more rewarding with its magnificent herd of elephants! We were told that the pet dogs bark as a warning when elephants approach the tiny hamlets.

Orissa has an astonishing number of dogs who display the "long-term pariah morphotype." Oddly enough, many such dogs live on the highways not far from Bhubaneshwar. I would have expected to see a lot of mixed-looking dogs so close to Orissa's capital city.


These are some of the pictures I clicked in villages just outside Similipal Tiger Reserve. Some more of my Orissa pictures are in a recent post on male parental care in INDogs - click here.

I can't wait to see Heather's pictures...I'm sure they'll be gorgeous!

Near Similipal Tiger Reserve
Orissa

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mumbai pups need homes
















I am a dog lover staying in Charkop-Kandivali West. I have a number of dogs in and around my row house. I take care of them along with a friend of mine/

We have a small ground opposite my place and a female gave birth to eight pups there a few weeks back. A few days ago the mother dog disappeared and now there is no-one to take care of the pups.

If you can help get these pups adopted by someone it would be great. Already in my small lane of forty houses we have around 25 dogs, or else we could have managed to keep the pups here.

The pups are around 1.5 months old now.

You can get in touch with me on +91 22 28672614 or 09820517857. Or email me on balaiyer@aptlogistics.com

Bala Iyer
Mumbai


Sunday, February 8, 2009

INDogs of Bengal

The pictures below were taken by an animal-crazy photographer friend Rohan Mukerjee, near Shantiniketan, West Bengal. The dogs in eastern India often look very pure-blooded and not mongrelized. Again, perfect examples of the dingo-pariah type or long-term pariah morphotype.

My favourite is the black-and-white picture of snarling dogs. I did have some qualms about posting it here but have done so on Rohan's insistence! Territorial and dominance disputes are a natural part of any dog's life (and of human life too) - so I decided to go ahead and tell it like it is.











Photos: Rohan Mukerjee
Shantiniketan, West Bengal

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Daddy dear









Parental behaviour in INDogs is rarely a topic of interest for dog lovers, and with good reason. Most of us are city-dwellers and the sight of puppies usually makes our hearts sink - so sad and unnatural when you think about it. I mean, babies are usually a source of joy aren't they? It's such a pity that these babies are a source of worry instead..."How do we prevent them from being run over, how do we find homes for them, how do we get the parents neutered?"

Apart from the overpopulation problem, city dogs are also almost always mongrelized, so their behaviour may not be that of pure primitive dogs.

In "normal" villages, by which I mean villages which do not have a booming human population, the number of dogs is automatically limited because of the fixed amount of food available. So overpopulation is not an issue and one can study and understand the true natural behaviour of INDogs, including their breeding habits.

One interesting observation is that some male dogs seem to be monogamous and also share in parental duties. Dr Sunil Kumar Pal researches the behaviour of free-roaming dogs in West Bengal (his papers are published in prestigious scientific journals including Elsevier and Applied Animal Behaviour Science). He has documented incidents of male dogs even feeding very young pups with regurgitated food. I've heard similar accounts from Orissa and no doubt this happens elsewhere too. When the pups are older, a few fathers have been observed bringing scavenged food for them to eat.

I took these pictures in two villages near Similipal in Orissa last month.

The tricoloured dog in the two lower pictures is very tolerant of his boisterous offspring.


The handsome brown dog in the top two phot
os is very indulgent with his pups too, and usually stays with his family. Before you get all sentimental I should point out that his mate is also his mother. It helps to remember that dogs are not furry little humans but a different species with rules of their own. We should love and respect them for what they are...in my humble opinion, this sort of love is more genuine than the kind that projects a human personality on to them.

Similipal
Orissa

Friday, February 6, 2009

Picolo!









Little Picolo was adopted three weeks ago by June Basar. You can tell from the pictures that he's settled into her home very nicely. I hope June will keep sending us photos so we can watch him growing up!

June has kept both Eurobreeds and pariah dogs in the past, and I love what she has to say about the latter: "I have noticed indigenous dogs to be smarter and friendlier than pedigreed versions. They can be social and learn ‘home rules’ and ‘good behavior’ with none or little training. Also their size is perfect. Just right to cuddle and can be intimidating as guard dogs."

Picolo has two equally cute sisters who are desperately in need of good homes. His mother seems to have been poisoned by building residents and a third sister was run over. I posted their photos a few days ago. Please do spread the word among dog-lover friends, and also circulate the photos of all the other beautiful pups who are up for adoption right now.

Photos: June Basar
Mumbai

Rave, Floyd and Max

This interesting pack belongs Omrita and Samar Nandi of Thane. The Nandis are great dog-lovers and look after any sick or injured dog in their neighbourhood. Three of their four dogs are rescued from the street. The fourth is a black labrador.

Max (below), an endearing mix-breed, was the first of the rescues. He was adopted four and a half years ago and is now five. He looks like a small labrador with very short legs - one of his parents was possibly a dachshund.





Next came the handsome INDog Floyd (below). He was a seven month old pup who was abandoned by his original owners sometime last July. The Nandis saw him while on the way to the bank. He had a black collar on and was clearly lost and frightened of the street dogs who had surrounded him. He had fever and the couple put him in an animal hospital. However, they removed him after two days, as there was a risk of his picking up an infection from the other dogs there. He was named after the band Pink Floyd. Floyd is very intelligent and has been given obedience training, so he follows many commands. He also runs very fast...Omrita tells me "Even a cheetah can't catch him!"





The newest member of this lively family is Rave (below). The Nandis were looking after a dog in their building society compound, Clara, and her litter of six. One day they found a new one- month-old puppy placed next to Clara's litter in a basket. Someone must have found him and put him next to Clara in the hope that she'd feed him. But Clara was hostile towards the new pup, and besides, he had a neck injury. So the Nandis took him home to treat him. He quickly struck up a friendship with Floyd. Since they couldn't find a good home for him they decided to keep him. The two dogs nearly wreck the house while playing, but Floyd also takes care of the little fellow and is a very caring "elder brother."








Photos: Omrita Nandi
Thane, Maharashtra

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Three pups for adoption, Mumbai







These lovely pups live in my building compound. They are three months old now and I have had them vaccinated. I have been taking care of them since they came into my building after their mother's death. Intially they were four of them, but one was run over in our parking lot. Sadly, I am unable to adopt them myself though I wish I could. But I really want them to get homes with loving families. I have taken on the responsibility of taking care of them. But our building (in Santa Cruz West) is not very dog-friendly. The residents want these dogs out. They are very friendly pups so they go running to everyone, which I want to stop because there are people who are scared of them, especially a few children and even some old women.

Anyone interested in adopting them should call me on +91 992 027 1922 or email me at aarti_pamnani@hotmail.com

Aarti Pamnani Desai
Mumbai