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.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Phoebe: The Hippie, the Streetie, the Unendurably Mild(!) Just the same, a miracle to her mums

It wasn't a choice for me whether to adopt Phoebe or not, or so it felt.

She landed in my apartment thanks to my sometimes-generous roommate who rescued my little darling from pouring rain - and, well, left her in the balcony. It was like 10 p.m. when I got home and it was empty except for this tiny, wet, dirty and shivering ball of fur in the balcony. The rain was beating in to the balcony and she had nowhere to hide. The moment I took her into my arms, I just knew she was mine whether I liked it or not.

Above: Day 1 - Clean and warm under my petticoats

Of course I wasn't going to let my roommate have her after the way she had treated the poor pup and (ironically) mercifully, it wasn't her plan to keep Phoebe either. A one-time playmate was the designated role for the street pup. But me? Me, a mother? Me, who lives in the dream of entrepreneurship while living on scrapes of freelance jobs? Me, 21, with no career prospects, lifestyle of a nomad and purely nocturnal existence?

I was a horrible mother. Horrible beyond imagination. I was never up before 12 and was hanging out (working rarely) all evenings, so there was no question of walks. I had to lock her up in my hot room because the roommate and sparingly educated family weren't too happy with the dog. Though to give them some credit, they raised the issue of genealogy only once or twice (Thode paise logaoge tho market mein woh safed balon walla kutta milte hai, pata hai? - "If you spend a little money you can buy a furry white dog from the market.") And the worst part was I used to forget feeding her and then wake up in horror at 2 in the night and do it.

But Phoebe never demanded, never complained, never disobeyed, in fact she never uttered a sound nor offered token resistance. It was like she was sitting there silently with her warm eyes, knowing it all and waiting for me to grow up!

Above: It was I who did the littering and she the prompting for me to clean up!

Above: She chewed on me and not my computer wires (did she know they were important to me?) till I unglued my head from the monitor and mixed her some Cerelac.

She made me want to come back home on time, wake up early and run around with her on the terrace, taught me what responsibility is and made me think about other beings (animal and human) than myself for the first time in my life.

Above: Penance for this one time I yelled at a boy who was helping Phoebe out when she was stuck in the gate - thinking he was trying to kidnap her!

She made me move on from past failures and moved with me and my best friend/partner (who also adopted her) to Hyderabad in hopes of better opportunities.

Above: 12 hours in the train and not a peep from her. It it weren't for my mild-mannered sweetling, we wouldn't have made the journey 'coz we couldn't even afford to bribe the TC!

She made me want to be a better person and this is no cliche because it is the unerring faith my dog showed in me that is responsible for this change. No human is capable of the same.

Early days in Hyderabad. Above: Me and Phoebe
Below: Me, Phoebe and Satya

Above: Loving her new digs, meeting family and friends (well, grannies and aunts!)

Above: A tad overweight at present, having been pampered too much (I should stop atoning for my past sins!)

Story and photos: Sneha Koilada

Connect with Phoebe and Sneha on Facebook: Phoebe's page, Sneha's profile.


charu shah said...

such an awesome story! i helped sneha adopt a kitten a few weeks back :) got to know her thro facebook.

Anonymous said...

This is Sandhya Acharya. Thanks for the story, made pleasant reading. My heart went out to Phoebe who is always calm, understanding and sweet :)

Anonymous said...

Now that was very sweet always am a pet person and used to tel you that they would teach responsibility but. never ever in my strangest dreams did think that it could make the word be uttered from your mouth ha ha ha ha nice da.tho the story is gud, cud have done better with my skills ha ha ha ha

kameshwar said...

hmm......great story... interpretng an animal's feeling is truly an amazing gift....reminds me of my dog pluto

snehakoilada said...

Stop making a fool outta urself in public rohith! N if u r wonderin bout it d hahahas gave u away mr.anonymous!

@Sandhya...totally. I saw Marley n Me yestday n was thinkin how Phoebe's d strangest dog ever just like Marley was d worst! D kitten Charu was talkin bout is quite a terror though :P d tiny lil thing jumps on Phoebe's head n scratches all over but my darling doesn't even growl. She was ever so gentle from day1 tryin 2 hold d kitty by d skin @ d neck lik her mum wud. Our terrified screams made her gave up on dat though!