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. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Puffy








In June 2003 we moved to the neighbourhood of Kothrud, in Pune. When we shifted here we already had a 13 year old, ailing cocker spaniel, Inochi. She had been battling cancer since January of that year. We kept our hopes alive until the day she started getting convulsions and stopped any food intake. Sadly, she had to be put down in October.

Then followed eight months of dogless days and pining for Inochi. Post Inochi's loss I was in such a state of mind that made me resolve to never get another dog (so that we never again have to experience their suffering up close). Of course, there were always the street dogs that lived in our lane and where I work. I could take comfort in caring for them and be content with just that. But I must admit that deep down, I was miserable.

As it turned out, destiny had other plans for me. One day, back from my work when I turned into my lane, I saw a group of children from my society gathered around something by the side of the road. It turned out to be an injured and cowering puppy. I recognized the puppy as one of the litter of a pariah female that had made an under-construction building next door her temporary home. The mother was totally wild, distrustful of people (can't blame her - we invaded her territory, didn't we) and completely avoiding human contact.

I guess a little background of this puppy is in order here.This very puppy, when it had barely started walking, had been handpicked by another resident of our lane for the future role of guard dog. As this house was at the entrance of the lane, I often used to see the sorry sight of this tiny little thing being tied up in the front porch. Catch them young! Imagine! They had christened the pup Puffy. I used to often come across Puffy in our building because it so happened that the owner's child and some children in our society were friends. In fact I even stopped and cuddled Puffy a couple of times.

Unluckily, or eventually luckily, the owner realized that the pup was a female. The abandonment was immediate. They didn't even bother to remove the tiny collar.

Coming back to the accident site, Puffy the puppy was lying injured after being abandoned. I HAD to do something. Doc said she had a broken leg joint (right hind leg) and that nothing can be done, but if given enough rest, the growing bones would fuse. So, that's how Puffy landed in our lap, complete with a name!

Of course, initially I told myself it was only until her leg healed. So as not to get attached to her, I even stopped myself from taking any pictures of her (which I regret to this day). When she started walking around I even made a sincere attempt to put her back on the street. What made me change my mind was the way Puffy reacted to vehicles. By then she was about two-and-a-half months old..she was TERRIFIED of any vehicle. So I picked her up and decided then and there to keep her at home with us. In June 2010 we will have completed six years of togetherness.

Even though she had a lot of contact with humans early in life, she's outright unfriendly with strangers. Doesn't allow anybody to touch her. Her first instinct when she sees a stranger approaching her (as in a lift) is to growl. I put it down to her mother's inheritance, and have given up on her ever becoming a socially adjusted dog. Of course, that doesn't diminish my love for her even by an iota.

Even though I decided to keep Puffy around mid-July, the earliest pictures of Puffy were taken when she was three months old (that was because my hubby and I had a difference of opinion over the adoption of Puffy and two precious weeks were lost there). Puffy was in the house all right but I was hardly in a state of mind happy enough to record her cuteness. Now my hubby loves her too though he is never the demonstrative type. And the funny part is, Puffy goes overboard when showing affection to my hubby, but me, she takes for granted!

I have both Puffy's and Inochi's videos on YouTube. Do check out this playlist http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=LakshmiRavishankar#g/c/C1BB696873E8E357

Update: Up until May 2008, when she was neutered, Puffy was sleek to the point of looking emaciated, with that taut upcurved belly outline. She was so fleet-footed you'd never have guessed she had a history of a broken leg. Of course, the right hind leg is still stiff but she has long since learnt to run without its help.

Post surgery, she has been gradually gaining weight and presently she is almost unrecognizable but for her eyes. She has some fat pouches even on her face. People who haven't seen her in a while seriously ask me if she really is the same dog?

One picture here is of Puffy with Rock, our neighbour's labrador. Rock is one of the only two dogs she adores. Gattu aka Dakku, a stray, is the other lucky guy. All other dogs without exception she hates on sight...In spite of unfriendly signals from her, another stray whom I have named YT tries to be friends with her but Puffy always wrestles him to the ground and walks away without so much as a glance towards him.

Lakshmi Ravishankar

Pune

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