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.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kaalu

The Sethi family have been trying to adopt Kaalu as a complete house pet, but there's one problem: Kaalu isn't co-operating! Deepak Sethi's story of this gentle and lovable canine. Here's hoping Kaalu will permanently join their household some day.









From Deepak:

I really wish that we could have Kaalu live in our house some day but my repeated attempts to make her stay in the house have failed, which is why I can't really refer to her as adopted. Still, me and my family consider her as our own! She is an absolute sweetheart and though her name represents black, she has filled our lives with colour!

My parents live in New Delhi and I have been in the US for sometime now. I've always thought of getting a four-legged pal but due to education and work commitments I would take a step back thinking I would not be able to give enough time and attention to my new family member especially since I stay away from family.

In November 2008, one day while talking to mamma, she mentioned that lately there's a street doggie who follows my father to our house every day on his way home from his morning walk. I thought God had finally answered my prayers!! And I was supposed to visit home around the same time for an extended period of time. As soon as we reached home from the airport, I was greeted by this lovely tail wagging baby, KAALU! Shiny black coat with amber eyes!!

Initially, my father thought Kaalu was a he until they noticed it was a she. However, Kaalu and we have gotten so used to her name that we wouldn't want to change it to something else. Kaalu is a gentle and friendly dog; it took me some time to really observe and get to know her. To understand her better, I got this book "How to speak dog" by Stanley Coren which talks about understanding a dog's body language and behaviour and that was really insightful.

Kaalu has been on the street since her childhood, I guess along with her mother and a brother. I was told by neighbourhood people that she and her brother were once taken away by the municipality. Her brother never returned but Kaalu was left back on our street again after a year. But ever since then, Kaalu has been extremely submissive and quiet; she rarely barks. Most people who visit our house get scared of her sitting in the lawn area due to her size and color, but she's never barked or bothered anyone.

The two things Kaalu loves most are milk and sleep!!

Every morning Kaalu waits in front of our gate to get in and have a bowl of milk for her breakfast. I tried to have some other additions to her diet like roti, bread, banana, biscuits, apple but she does not seem to like any of those. Hence, I finally just stuck with milk which I can see she really really enjoys!!! She then sits close to my dad's feet while he reads his newspaper and afterwards takes a long nap under his divan in the lawn. Late afternoon is when she gets up and starts stretching and wagging her tail. By the time it gets dark, she's ready to go on the street again and then return later to have dinner. This is something I tried to prevent so that she could stay in the house with us but to her the street seems to be her territory rather than the house. She would let out these tiny howls if I didn't let her out and would sneak out as soon as the gate opened for someone to come in.

Apart from her likes I also noticed over a period of time that she is probably scared of or dislikes water a lot. If I ever tried to water the plants, Kaalu would think she would get wet, and she'd immediately get up and hide underneath anything that she could find to protect herself. I have been really trying hard to find a way to give her a bath as she gets so dirty laying around in the street and it's probably not good for her skin too. However I just don't want to scare her and cause more agony. I once tried to wipe her a little with a wet tissue while she was relaxing but even the touch of wetness bothers her and she ran away again.

Kallu gets anxious with a lot of things which is why we always have to be careful about reading her body language. Since I knew that the municipality had once taken her away, I thought it would be a good idea to put a collar round her neck. With this, even though she roams on the street, people would think she is a house dog and wont take her away thinking she is a stray. I tried to introduce this with some treats so that Kaalu wouldn't get scared but as soon as she saw the collar, the poor thing immediately went into the submissive puppy pose. Hence, we always think twice before introducing anything new to her.

We always wait for early morning to go open the gate and meet Kaalu, her tail wagging is absolutely adorable! My sister was never a dog enthusiast and at first couldn't understand why I would always bring Kaalu up in my discussions and miss her so much when she wasn't around. Finally on her visit to Delhi when she met Kaalu, she's gotten so fond of her.

It's almost been a year and a half since Kaalu has been a part of our lives but I really hope some day she will trust us more and become a part of our house too!

Deepak Sethi
New Delhi

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