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.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ghattu, victim of an inferior INDog-owner

Amid all the happy INDog stories, let's not forget that the third-rate low-life kind of dog owner is still flourishing all over the country (and of course the world), and many unlucky dogs of all breeds suffer because of this rubbish class of people.

It's a sad coincidence that this incident took place in Ahmedabad, because similar things happen everywhere after all. However, Ahmedabad seems to be particularly full of tragic animal stories, many about dogs and others about the mass butchering of birds during their famous kite-flying festival. Gandhi would have been proud of this city, wouldn't he?

Here's the story of Ghattu's sad little life, reported by my friend who witnessed it.

"It's a happy thing when a street dog becomes a pet dog and gets a loving home....but too sad when a pet dog gets abandoned and is forced to live as a street dog again.

"This happened to poor Ghattu....our 'animal-loving' neighbours' dog who was living with them since she was a small puppy. They'd been planning to move to Canada for a long time, and sometimes they talked about taking Ghattu along, and sometimes they said that a relative with a farm house will take care of her. I stopped asking them what would happen to Ghattu when they leave because I had the impression that they will take care of her or at least find her a place.

"On 4 December, the woman of the family asked me in the afternoon whether I knew anyone who would take Ghattu. She said she is worrying about her because they are leaving for Canada on the 5th evening. How stupid is that??? Hardly 24 hours before departure, it came into their minds to think about their dog....I couldn't believe it! When I told her that the idea of finding her a new home had come just a bit late, a day before leaving, she just ignored it and the next day, none of them said good bye to us."

"And Ghattu was on the road now. The very next morning, the grandparents kicked her out, kept a water plate and food plate outside the gate and locked it. That was it, Ghattu was thrown out after two years of staying mainly indoors, or semi-indoors, mostly on a tiny balcony...She was not toilet trained (that's why they kept her always on that balcony) and she was also not friendly with other female dogs, except the one in the colony who was her mother.

"Ghattu tried to enter many peoples' homes the next day, through any open door, she was inside...and was loudly shoooed off.

"Surprisingly, she didn't bark or howl at all after they left and after she was thrown out. I think she quickly realized what kind of people she had stayed with all her life and that they were not worth missing or mourning. The clever girl joined our society dog pack and the alpha male seemed to like her a lot, which meant that within a short time, she would have her own puppies because she was not sterilized. When I went for a walk with my dogs, she followed us but then spent her time on the garbage dump outside the colony gate or roamed around inside the colony. I hoped no-one would call the AMC again."

"And now she has passed away already.

"I hadn't seen her for a few days and when I asked the grandparents of the family, they told me she had had foam on her mouth and died the very next day. May she rest in peace. I hope she'll meet Bandra and other departed dogs and she can forget about the short and sad life she had among careless and hopelessly selfish people who pretended to like her but actually killed her by leaving her out on her own.
"Once again a sad Amdavadi dog story, one among plenty here. Let's hope for justice in 2011 and as you said, more respect for INDogs. But here, it has to start with the very basics such as that INDogs deserve to live...respect, care, recognition are still very very far away in this part of Gujarat...I never came across any Gandhian spirit here, it's nothing but ironic to call this city Gandhi's place."
I'm sure like most Indians (and unlike me), Ghattu's former owners are very religious people, observe all known rituals and consider themselves deeply moral. Here's my New Year message for all such hypocrites.
Read the Mahabharata, it begins and ends with dog stories. If you are barely literate, ask someone to tell you how this great epic ends.

The short version: King Yudhistir reaches Heaven after a long and difficult journey across the Himalayas. His brothers and wife have fallen on the way; his only companion is a dog who has followed him faithfully to the end. But the dog is denied entry. And Yudhistir refuses to enter Heaven because to abandon the creature would be profoundly sinful.

Fortunately the dog is actually the god Dharma in disguise, and this was a test of the king's character.

Would all Indians - god-fearing, scripture-reading, holier-than-thou as they mostly are - pass such a test of character?

Possibly not.
They fail it every day, every time one of them betrays and abandons an innocent animal. I piously pray for the same fate for all such human waste products.



June said...

This is such a sad story. I wont be surprised if Ghattu was poisoned. It reminds me of the time I was leaving India. Friends, even those who knew how much I loved my dog, suggested I give him away to someone with a farm house where he could be a watch dog. I think they meant, he was not suitable for adoption as a house pet because he is an indog.

They called me crazy for taking 3 months to figure paper work etc on how to take him with me. I started his paperwork even before mine was ready! Dogs are not humans but once adopted and raised by humans, abandoning them equals to abandoning an dependent human child.

Loved the snippet from Mahabharat you added.

Rajashree Khalap said...

We need more owners like you and fewer like poor Ghattu's. Picolo's post coming up - I need a mood-upper!

Rajashree Khalap said...

And yes, I don't think there's any doubt at all that Ghattu died of poisoning. Whether she was intentionally or accidentally poisoned, we shall never know.

wandereress said...

what a heart breaking story! i pray that she rests in peace in heaven and her owners rot in hell.

Anonymous said...

I am now calm and finally able to compose my words on this keyboard after non-stop WEEPING for the past 15 minutes.

Ghattu, Ghattu, Ghattu! WHY??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY was this done to you????? You gave your heart, your trust, your LOVE and for WHAT??????????? TO DIE ON THE F**CKING STREET???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This my dear friends, is the worst...WORST, that can be done to one of God's creatures. To PRETEND to love, and to care, and to protect, and then to have it all taken away with such vicious carelessness. Ghattu died in pure and simple AGONY, not from her illness, or injury, or whatever physical demise she suffered, but from a BROKEN HEART! As she laid down, taking in her last miserable breaths, struggling for life, there was only one, ONE single thing on her mind, "Where's my family???" This, in my opinion, is nothing but pure evil.

They say what goes around, comes around. I'm not the kind of person to wish malice on anyone, but in this instance, I would be more than happy to have KARMA teach those sad, PATHETIC owners a thing or two.

And this message goes from me to all NRI's and foreigners staying in India who are thinking of taking in a street puppy as a pet, "Don't f**cking do it if you cannot OR wish not to take your pet back to your own country with you!!!!" Just LEAVE THEM ALONE!!! What happened with Ghattu is she was not able to learn her street dog survival skills and her immune system was not trained to live on the trash and other waste that street dogs eat everyday. Taking in a street puppy for your stupid 6 month vacation is CRUELTY if you cannot take full, 100% responsibility for your pet for the rest of its life. And finding someone with a "farm-house" to take care of it after you go, is spure 100% BULLSHIT! I hear that and read that all the time and it just makes me sick. Again, if you are an NRI or a foreigner, unless you absolutely intend to give 100% care to a street puppy, just look the f**k away! I am being very, very blunt here. Unfortunately, my bluntness is already TOO LATE for Ghattu.

Ghattu, my dear, dear, sweet kutta...you are in my prayers.


Gino Santistevan - San Francisco, USA (a very proud owner of TWO Indian street dogs from Hyderabad, Rico and Lucky, both of whom now call America home).

georgia little pea said...


when i read your description, i thought it sounded like poison. i see others do too.

thanks for sharing the dog love in the mahabhratha. i read it a very long time ago and didn't remember that bit. it was a good way to end an otherwise sad post.

have a good day ms khalap xox

hack said...

I have been a regular reader of your blog though I've never commented. I come to your blog after especially hard days at work, because I know reading about the dogs here and about dogs being happy in people's homes will make me happy again. I miss my dog, a desi one, very much indeed. She is with my mother in Kolkata, while I am in another city for work. Reading about the dogs here gives me faith that she is happy and well-cared for. I don't really have a point to make. I cried a lot just now and I am not sure how to handle the death of a dog. One of my street dogs in Kolkata, one I had spent a lot of time taking care of, sterilising (her stitches opened four times at the hospital because of the attendants' callousness) her, taking care of the baby she rejected - vanished one day. I never found her. I think she came under a vehicle. I don't think about her, because I don't know what I'd do. This was one such.


doggylove said...

hi! i feel, ghattu's tragic end,
was a boon in disguise, she didnt have to suffer for many long years, adjusting to survive on her own, having and raising puppies!may her soul rest in peace!

Swati said...

I was shocked to read this story, but not surprised. I've come across many such hypocrites all my life.

When we were in the process of getting the paperwork sorted for Puppy before bringing him to Canada, most people we knew expressed intense surprise, and a thinly veiled, "Are you crazy?" attitude. To all those people, we replied back asking if they would abandon their child if they were moving elsewhere. And then they had the gall to feel offended by our replies.

Even though I'm not religious, I'm a firm believer in universal justice, and I have no doubt at all that someday, the callous owners of Ghattu will certainly end up sowing what they've reaped.

Swati said...

Of course, I meant it as "end up reaping what they've sowed"! (I was trembling with anger when I typed the above comment, so even the words got jumbled in my head...)

Anonymous said...

Who just stands by and watches as a poor helpless dog suffers like that? I really don't think you are one who should be passing judgement on the matter

Rajashree Khalap said...

Anonymous: The person who witnessed this has two rescued dogs already and could not take in another one. She tried to get the dog adopted but no-one was interested. She's also one of the few people in Ahmedabad who tried to expose the criminal action of the corporation in leaving street dogs at the Pirana dumping ground. So let's have fewer judgmental comments about 'passing judgment'.