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, January 16, 2011

Sleep, little girl

Early on 6 January, our Puppy drifted into her final sleep.

Too soon, it's always too soon.

I've known Puppy since she first appeared in our street in 1997. So we go back a long way.

I think I secretly always wanted to bring her home, and I think she always wanted to live with me. I'd meet her at our gate, spend some time with her, and then she'd often try to follow me in and I'd have to gently shoo her out again. She was fed by my neighbours and other nice people, but it was understood that she was "my" special dog and that I was the person to call if she needed help.

The best moment of last year was when I finally brought her home with me, with Lalee wagging her tail as we entered the apartment.

My friends remind me that she was 14, that she spent her last days secure and loved as a pet dog and our family member, that her wish came true in the last year of her life, that she would have died earlier if she'd been left on the street, that she didn't suffer for very long. I'm grateful for the messages and I know that all these things are true, and that they will eventually bring some degree of consolation. But words don't mean anything much so soon after the loss. We all know that.

Earlier posts about Puppy's time with us: Teaching a 13-year old Puppy new tricks, The girls, Puppy's silent Diwali.

These are the last pictures we took of her. Of course at the time we had no idea that she had just a few days left to live.

December 14 - wrapped up on a chilly morning

31 December 2010: Puppy and Lalee, clicked by Kiran

Below: 31 December 2010 - Puppy and Lalee, afternoon nap in the sun. You can see the scars from an old burn wound on Puppy's side. She used to sleep under parked taxis when she was a street dog, and she probably got burned from the silencer or some other car part. That was about six or seven years ago.

I miss you Puppy sweetheart. Thank you for being my friend for so many years.

Rest in peace.


Puppy's tick fever titre test had shown positive, and I believe that was the cause of her death: the disease flared up and she showed symptoms in the last few hours of her life. In hindsight I think she had had a mild attack soon after her hospital stay, but it was not diagnosed at the time. In hindsight I feel I would have done many things differently, but we don't always get a second chance.

Lalee also tested "medium positive" for tick fever (ehrlichia canis). Her treatment is going on and her last blood test indicates that she is responding. She has never shown any obvious symptoms.

I don't want to spread alarm, but I urge dog owners not to take ehrlichia or any other tick-borne disease lightly. Dogs don't have to be loaded with ticks to get these diseases: a single tick could infect them. Mumbai has good facilities for detecting the disease, and good vets experienced in treating it. In ageing dogs or others with possibly lower immunity, it might be a good idea to get blood tests done routinely.


georgia little pea said...

Dear Rajashree,

Thank you for sharing Puppy's story. She might have been a street dog for most of her life, but it sounds like she knew she had a friend nevertheless, in you.

I love the pictures. Puppy looked very peaceful, sleeping with the angel dogs on the blankie.

Of course there's nothing that anyone can say that will make you feel better. Healing takes its own time and can't be rushed.

A BIG HUG to you xox love and peace.

Sarah said...

I am so sorry for your pain and loss of your dear friend. Thinking of you during this hard time.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Thank you

doggylove said...

hi rajashree!
did puppy have to suffer? was she on medication?
in my experience of street dogs, most of them die, after they lose immunity due to old age, and 99% of times, chronic tick fever infection,bullies them.i have lost 2 dogs in neighbour hood,old dogs,diagnosed as post tick fever paralysis.it was so wonderful of puupy, to come to stay indoors and settle so well,as if she were part of ur household right from begining.
she was a contended dog in her last days,lucky too! may her soul rest in peace.lalee lost her second companion in short span.how is she? my condolences to u all.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Thanks Manik. She didn't suffer till the last day. She was then sedated and unconscious for the last 12 hours so I hope she didn't feel any pain or stress. Yes, she was on medication in December (Doxivet) but reacted badly to it and we made the mistake of stopping the medicine too early. She had no apparent symptoms so it seemed okay to do that, but now I feel it was a big mistake. I guess though she had become plump and healthy-looking at our place, her immunity had dropped due to age. I think you're right about chronic tick fever in street dogs, most of them would probably test positive as they must have been exposed to it at some point of time. Even Kimaya tested "low positive" early last year.

This time I didn't hide the body in a closed room, or take her immediately for cremation. I left the door of the room open all morning so Lalee could see her body, and I took her for cremation only at around noon. I think this worked because Lalee seemed to accept the loss without much reaction, unlike after Bandra's death when she fell quite ill. I left Puppy's collar on a bench and I saw her going to it and sniffing it. After that I took her to Nagaon as a distraction. We were planning to bring Kimaya to Mumbai later in the month, but we brought her back immediately so Lalee has company.

June said...

RIP Puppy. So she puppy found peace and a loving home in her last year.

Swati said...

I know words don't have much meaning when you're grieving for a dear friend gone, but we all share your loss. R.I.P., Puppy... it was comforting to know that she didn't have to go through a prolonged suffering.

Anonymous said...

Just read this - :-(
i have no words to offer because i know this loss is irreplaceable ..
Hugs and love to you


nazrul said...

Iam deeply saddened by her passing away. Btw did you receive the recent pics of lallu's pups?

Gino Santistevan said...

Dear Rajashree,

I'm very, very sorry to learn about your loss. Puppy was truly blessed to have you in her life...her human guardian angel:) I hope Lalee gets better also.


Gino Santistevan - San Francisco, USA

Rajashree Khalap said...

Thank you everyone for the kind messages.

Nazrul, yes I received the pictures and will post them soon.

Gino, thanks, Lalee's blood report shows improvement and I hope the parasite will completely disappear soon.