About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation.

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

When dogs seek out dog-lovers - Episode 2: The dog at Rekha's

This series of posts is about injured dogs who seem to have deliberately approached humans for help. This kind of thing usually raises a storm of protest from "rational" people who, without proper evidence or research, believe that dogs and other mammals are not capable of any level of rational thinking. I've heard of and experienced several cases in which an animal in distress seems to actually seek out an animal lover and ask for aid. I don't think any of these cases can be attributed to mere coincidence. Read them and judge for yourself.

The dog in this picture appeared in my friend Rekha's house out of the blue yesterday.

He is a neutered male (his ear is notched) and Rekha had never seen him before, though she walks her three dogs around the neighbourhood every day. His right ear was infested with maggots and bleeding. He climbed to the first floor landing and sat there quietly till she noticed him.

She called the first-aid team of a local organization (WSD). When Pooja and Joanna arrived, the dog allowed them to muzzle him and treat his wound.

Had he noticed Rekha on her walks and guessed she would be able to help him? How did he know where she lived? She notices street dogs (all her dogs are rescued from the street) and she swears she's never seen the dog before and has no idea where he came from.

I know some sceptical readers must be thinking: some human must have brought him and left him there. Well, perhaps, that is a possibility though nobody on the street seems to have noticed such a thing. BUT, this is an adult dog we're talking about, and one well able to walk. Why would he just stay there and not run back to his own street, wherever that may be?
This is a neutered dog so he has been in a kennel at some point in the last few years. He has probably learnt that humans can help him.

Footnote: The monkey who visited the doctor

Yes, I know primates and dogs are very different from each other, but this incident is similar and interesting. Years ago I read in the magazine of the Animal Welfare Board of India about a wild monkey at a veterinary clinic in Guntur (I think that was the place). This monkey had a wound in the arm and he came all by himself to the clinic and stood in the queue outside, with all the pet animals and their owners. When his turn came he sat on the clinic table and allowed the vet to treat his wound. He returned on the next two days at the same time for treatment. After that he must have felt much better because he stopped coming. I remember the black and white photo that accompanied the article, of a monkey sitting on a table.

Perhaps he was once a pet and had escaped later - perhaps he remembered being healed by a human earlier - but for a wild animal to seek out humans and accept handling is surely rare and remarkable.



charu shah said...

1 of my office dogs lucky, was limping one day, and since boss was not in office, i went to check her. her paws seemed alright, and i was almost turning back thinknig that it may have been some stone or something which may have caused temporary limping, when out of the blue, lucky lifted her paw and put it on my hand! she is very friendly, but she had never ever lifted her paw and placed it on my hand, so i was quite srprised at her love. when i was going in, i saw the blood on my hand and realsied that lucky was showing me her injured paw! luckily there was a vet clinic in our compound, so with help of the peon, i cleaned her wound and applied medicine and dressing. after a couple of days medication, she was totally ok, and in past 4 years of being with her, she has never repeated what she did that day!

Rajashree Khalap said...

I had the same experience with a cat once. She had a bad stomach upset and I don't want to go into unpleasant details here, but she drew attention to her problem in a very dramatic way! But these are still animals that have experienced our care and come back for it. What puzzles me is how some animals approach complete strangers who just happen to be the "right" people to help them. Coincidence, or some other level of observation or instinct on their part? The white dog in Nagaon didn't know me at all.