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. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Caste, Race and Puppies

Don Basko, a pub friend in England nearly thirty-five years ago, was a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. He was named after the Basque region where his ancestors were bred (the arguably better known Don Bosco was Piedmontese). Basko was large, and owing to youth and insufficient training was given to jumping on his human friends and placing his front paws on their shoulders. He never knocked me down, but a swipe of his tongue across my face often had me washing my glasses.

I was reminded of this old friend last week, when an adolescent St. Bernard named Chaplin jumped on me as Basko had done. Chaplin's owner was profusely apologetic, no doubt worried that his pet might have damaged the grey old coot who was silly enough to play with big dogs.

Chaplin's nervous owner also refused, initially, to permit him to play with my Pappu, who is fourteen weeks old and is what I describe as a Pedigreed Mongrelus Gangeticus. Pappu is a quarter the size of Chaplin, and the man was concerned that Chaplin might sit on him and so cause what is known in the trade as Sad and Untimely Demise.



The youngsters are now good friends, and they play together when their walking times coincide. It took strenuous persuasion, but in the end the argument prevailed that puppies know a damn sight more about romping and tumbling than adult humans do.


Alas, Pappu cannot play with another fellow puppy, Boxer, which is a confusing name for an Alsatian. Boxer is walked by a woman whose nose is elevated because of the price she paid for her possession. She speaks of it far more often than she does of Boxer's destructive achievements, as ordinary owners of ordinary puppies do. Boxer is her possession rather than a pet, in the same class as her motor car and her jewels and her chiffons.

A group of small girls plays with Boxer every evening. They had taken to playing with Pappu too, but that stopped abruptly. I could not understand why children who had once come rushing to us began running the other way when they saw us.


Then the littlest little girl, my special friend Sam, let slip the truth. They had been told by Aunty, she said, that Pappu was a stray; he was not from a respectable family. I tried to argue that Pappu was not a stray but a pet, and held up the leash in my hand as evidence. I added that he and Boxer were children just as she and her friends were children.


Sam would have none of it: "His mummy was a stray, so he is a stray. He mixes with other strays. Boxer is a German Shepherd Dog and can't play with dirty strays."


Racism, as the human world practises it, is thrust upon the canine world; and the foul notion of ritual pollution embodied in the word "dirty" - Hindu India's most notable contribution to the planet's bilge - creates castes and untouchability among the furry.


Pappu is a pariah, in every sense of that word. For that I hold him a bit closer when he sleeps with his head in the crook of my arm.


Mukul Dube

Delhi

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

INDog-mix prevents a robbery!!

Amit Parmar's young Indi Lucky recently foiled a burglary attempt! Read Amit's story below:



My family and I adopted Lucky, an INDog-mix, around six and a half months ago when he was just a three-month old pup. I adopted him from Malika in Dadar, with the help of Charu Shah, who is a friend as both of us work for animal welfare.



Lucky is a pampered pup and extremely smart. He is very good with kids and every day plays with the building children and has never harmed anyone. When he goes out for walks with me or any family member, he is very friendly with everyone on the road and doesn't bite anyone. But at the same time, if a stranger comes home, he becomes alert and barks a lot. At times he also gets aggressive if he sees a new face outside our house.

Even the vet, who came for his vaccinations, is a little scared of him and has suggested to us that since he is a very alert pup he will be a good watch dog, better than a German Shepherd or a Labrador. He had advised us to keep him at an office or factory, as Lucky would be a very good security dog, but we refused as he had already become a family member and we loved him a lot.

Lucky proved his guard dog skills this Sunday, 20 February, 2011. All our family members had gone to attend a wedding and I had gone out on some work. My younger brother Piyush had stayed back because his board exams are approaching and he was studying. He had Lucky with him.

Piyush had been studying since early morning so he was drowsy around 3 p.m., and he lay on the sofa with Lucky beside him. Just before lying down Piyush had taken Lucky for a walk and after coming back had given him a chew stick, which he was busy nibbling on.

After some time Piyush heard a hammering sound, but he ignored it thinking that some work was going on in the neighbour's house or in the neighbouring building. But Lucky went into the living room and started barking loudly at the front door. Since Piyush was sleepy, he didn't realize what was happening and he went to open the front door. As soon as he opened it, Lucky ran out and started chasing the man outside. He bolted after him and also bit him on his hand. The man had an accomplice waiting on a motorbike outside the gate. They finally managed to get away with Lucky chasing behind them. After running behind them for almost 300 feet or so, Piyush called Lucky and he came back. Only after he went back home did he realize that these men were professional thieves, and they had managed to open both the locks! They were about to enter the house when Lucky's barks woke Piyush up.

Lucky has not been trained as a guard dog, but he had powerful instinct which saved our house from burglary, and probably my brother's life as well!

We went to the police station and registered a complaint. Two policemen came to inspect my house and they confirmed that someone had managed to break the locks and open the door. When the policemen came home Lucky was a good boy and greeted them warmly.

One of the policemen offered to adopt Lucky from us, saying that he woud take him along for patrolling at night, but of course we had to refuse them.

As you can see, INDogs are the best and superior to any "pure" breed. At the age of 9.5 months Lucky did all this even without any sort of training. He has become the hero of our house now!!

Photos and story: Amit Parmar
Vile Parle
Mumbai

Read more incidents about Indis as security dogs here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter pups in Goa

These lovely pictures were taken by Lindsay McFarlane and Su on their trip to Goa in December. I met Lindsay and Su because they had made an absolutely beautiful and award-winning short film on tiger conservation for us at Satpuda Foundation. Of course I was delighted to find they are dog lovers as well!

"Su and I fell in love with some puppies on the beach where we were staying," Lindsay writes. These were in Palolem. They were due to be taken to an animal rescue shelter after being weaned, so let's hope they have good homes by now. As Lindsay said, Indian dogs are beautiful animals and in the UK would seem quite exotic as they are different to most of the breeds there.













I mentioned in the last post that most INDog pups are born in winter because of the synchronized seasonal mating in the late monsoon. Here's another example. I believe that free-ranging females observed to be in oestrus at any other season would probably be mix-breeds.

Photos: Lindsay McFarlane
Palolem, Goa

INpuppy and boy near Pench



Not a very good picture, but the pup was very cute.

I was sitting in a house in Sawra village, where I had gone on work. The village is near Pench Tiger Reserve in Central India and the inhabitants are mostly, or perhaps solely Gond tribals. I saw two little boys passing along the main street of the village, one of them carrying this sweet puppy.

Of course I immediately went out and asked if I could click them. That was a mistake because they became self-conscious and stiff. Unlike our city kids, village children do not get photographed much. Worse, two men immediately stepped forward and asked if they could also be in the photograph. I politely declined and took this picture quickly before any more unwanted models turned up.

This is "puppy season" for native dogs by the way. As mentioned in the INDog site in the article by Gautam Das, aboriginal dogs usually have seasonal breeding which in India is during the late monsoon. Also see the paper by Dr S K Pal on reproduction behaviour of free-ranging rural dogs (link in the same site).

Sawra
Central India

Scooby needs a home - Delhi

This adorable INDog-mix needs a home soon. Appeal from Shonit Biswas below:





"I stay in Noida and have adopted two Indian dogs.

Since everyone is aware of the brutal winters of Delhi, one can imagine how harsh and painful it is for the
desi canines to stay out in such conditions. I happened to come across a cute, white, furry mongrel and picked it up from the ground where it was roaming alone. His mother was nowhere in sight and I could not stand his plight and decided to take him home to save him from the severe winter in January.

However, since he came home my other dogs have become very jealous and are sulking all the time, so much so that I can't let the pup roam alone in the house or else he will be bitten and killed by my other dogs. So given the circumstances I cannot keep the pup despite my wish.


I request all dog lovers to spread the word about Scooby. I'm sure there are kind-hearted dog lovers out there who will give him a new home. His details are:

Gender: Male
Age: 1.5 - 2 months
Colour - white"

Contact: 91 9811366101

Shonit Biswas
Noida/NCR

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sam



Beautiful Sam belongs to Mansi Yalamalli Jaysal and her family. Another lucky pampered Indi whose owner realizes her worth and is proud of her origins.

"I love her to bits," writes Mansi. "I have never ever missed having a purebred dog and I am as proud of her as my neighbour is of his rottweiler. "

Sam shifted with the family from Bangalore to Chandigarh, and is now ten years old.

Photo: Mansi Yalamalli Jaysal

Haseena the belle

Aptly-named Haseena ("beautiful girl") belongs to Shafique and Zeisha and has just joined the Club.

This lovely Mumbai INDog-mix joined the growing ranks of pampered pet Indies in March 2009, when this kind couple
stumbled upon her in a car junkyard-cum-garage.



"We found her as a 4-week old puppy sitting in a junk car's body in Kurla," writes Shafique. "I think her sibling was run over and she was abandoned by her mother maybe."



Haseena now lives like a princess, as she and all Indies deserve. "Very loyal, loving, possessive, jealous and extremely naughty...Hangs out with our cats and loves going for long drives and to the beach."



Looking forward to more pictures of this lovely girl, and many more happy-ever-after stories like this one!

Photos: Shafique
Mumbai