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.

Friday, August 19, 2011

After Lalee

Lalee is now ashes, and pictures on the wall; but my heart and mind are full of her and always will be.

"Life is like a drop of water at the end of a leaf in the morning."

A blogger friend passed on this thought to me (thank you, Georgia's human). In a strange way it helped.

But I don't want to depress people with this post. I want to tell everyone how we're coping.
Before we lost Lalee, Kimaya had been off her food for two weeks, most probably because of the summer heat. She wasn't finishing her meals, and she skipped some meals altogether, though she was playful and normal in every other way.

After Lalee died, she stopped playing and her appetite almost disappeared. She didn't eat at all some days; on an average she ate one meal in three days. She slept a lot and was quiet and depressed.

This went on for twelve days.

So I pulled myself together so I could pull her out. I took her to an excellent canine behaviour consultant, a very inspiring lady called Shirin. Shirin has advised me in the past about my dogs, and I've always found her advice practical and useful.

She told me Kimaya was picking up my mood. Nothing seemed wrong with her health - the vet had already told me that. She told me some steps I could take to get her back to normal, and also to handle some other problems like mild separation anxiety.

I felt a lot more cheerful after this meeting. And like a mirror, my little dog cheered up too!

I started taking Kimaya to friends' homes, and out shopping with me, though of course on shopping trips she had to stay in the car with the driver. She used to be timid with strangers, but her confidence improved with all these new interactions.

My mother, brother and sister came to visit in June, so she had a month of pampering and non-stop attention that did her a lot of good.

Kimaya clicked by my brother

Then we started obedience training with a behaviour consultant trained and recommended by Shirin. Kimaya's two years of living in Nagaon had made her very independent and completely disobedient, in ways that could put her in danger. The worst problems were: not coming when called on the beach, eating absolutely disgusting things (poop, rotting fish!), and running out of the front door of our Mumbai apartment.

Kimaya took to her trainer immediately, and after the first lesson she bounced back to her normal mood and started eating properly again! Her training sessions were like games and she just loved the focussed attention, being treated and told she was a good girl every few minutes (she doesn't get called that a lot, normally).

She's not an early riser at all, but she'd bounce out of bed for her training sessions at 8 in the morning.

By the end of a month she had made a huge amount of progress. Friends have noticed her improved behaviour; she walks nicely on her leash instead of pulling, and though she still isn't obedient on the beach, she is definitely better than before and returns to us instead of behaving as though we don't exist.

We went to Nagaon in early July, but it wasn't as much fun as usual, because there were no other dogs to play with.

For the first time Kimaya and I were alone on the vast grey beach.

We hadn't gone there all of June; and Brownie's visits, from being a daily affair, had become increasingly infrequent. He must have thought Kimaya wasn't coming back. So he "adopted" a family living down our lane, because their dogs were his friends already. More about that in the next post.

With the pragmatism of all dogs, Kimaya has adapted to the new situation and doesn't wait for him like she used to. Life is short, every moment counts and there is a whole lot of running and playing to do!

People (domestic helps, friends, the building watchmen) sometimes call Kimaya "Lalee" by mistake, and then they quickly correct themselves. These things take time.

Above: Kimaya clicked by Kiran - favourite sleeping position
Below: With Kiran

Three months have passed since it happened...

Lalee, wherever you are, if you are indeed anywhere at all; if you are still Lalee or even if you are not -

You were my golden girl and all dogs will forever be compared to you.

Our decade together is over, the best decade of my life. I should let you go in peace instead of hoping you'll come back. I am trying.

Meanwhile, Kimpy and I miss you but we are doing all right, as well as can be expected.

For all the joy, the fun, the new doors we opened, the wonder of new worlds discovered, for the many glimpses into your mysterious doggy mind, for the zillion wags of your doughnut tail, for the funny squeaky noises you made when I came home, for your patience with all other creatures, for the warmth and comfort at my feet, for the afternoon-dreaming in a patch of sunlight, and above all for the deep peace of living with you - thank you, my beautiful red dog.

I love you always, always, more than words can say.


Sarah said...

Sitting at my desk. bawling my eyes out. I know how much you miss her. Lovely tribute.

wandereress said...

Can't stop the tears... So moving. I do sincerely hope that you and Kimaya get more peace in living a new life with Lalee as she exists, only not as her body.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Thanks Sarah and Juhee. It would have been much harder to cope if we hadn't had Kimaya. She's a young dog trying to be happy and normal, and I was preventing that. So focussing on her really made everything more stable. One morning I woke up and my first thought was not of Lalee's death. Kimaya turned things round. As long as we have animals with us, we do get healed eventually.

doggylove said...

hi rajashree!
when i read, kimaya turned three?!! i went down the memory lane.u remember youvanne had come to mumbai, and she had spotted kimpy and her brother,at sahar airport, myself and pooja had gone to vaccinate their mother,prior to sterilisation.youvanne, wanted to take with her kimaya's brother, but felt his sister,ie:kimaya will be left alone, and didnt have a herat to do so, but couldnt take both with her. it was then, u decided to adopt kimaya!! years have passed by so quickly. i can feel now, tommy too is growing old, his activities have reduced.it took him whole 9 yrs to walk beside me!!otherwise it was always he pulling me all the way.sweet memories,these dogs leave back with us!!

Rajashree Khalap said...

Yes time really flies :-) I often think of Kimaya's mother and wonder what happened to her. Wish she could have been found. She was such a sweet little thing. Do you come to my side of town sometimes? Do visit us and meet Kimpy! I wonder what would happen if she met Tommy and Chinky - possibly Chinky wouldn't like to meet another female?