About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a spider enthusiast and amateur arachnologist.

This blog is for aboriginal dog enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah Dog) and INDog-mixes (Indies) 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 landrace village dog of the Indian subcontinent. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too. Also see padsociety.org

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Another happy-ever-after story! Beautiful IND0g-mix Mira was born in Kochi, taken to Delhi and then homed in the US through Knine Rescue.

Here's her story by owner Brittany Powell.

My partner and I had been talking about rescuing a dog for a few years now and kept waiting for the "right time."

I work at an art museum in Baltimore and he is an engineer. We live in the city about two blocks away from my office and there is a small park near our apartment that is always full of dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Every day I would look out of the window of my office and imagine walking a dog in the park, running together, or snuggling with our own dog.

We decided that we definitely wanted to adopt a pet from a rescue group or shelter and we found out about Mira through www.KnineRescue.petfinder.com We were enthralled by the photos of the adorable pups and didn't even realize they had come all the way from India. We worked with Chris Biscardi and after a few days we went to meet Mira and her brother Cappuccino.

With Chris Biscardi of the rescue organization

We fell in love with Mira instantly! She was super-energetic and at 12 weeks old she was very sweet and playful. She is the runt from her litter so she was a bit smaller and skinnier than her brother Cappaccino. But she is getting bigger everyday.

We didn't think that we would be taking a puppy home that same day and were not prepared. We walked into a nearby PetSmart carrying our new pup and said, "We need EVERYTHING!" The staff were super helpful and even gave us some tips on crate training, teething, and helping her to learn to walk on a leash.

Mira is a very fast learner and after just 24 hours she was getting used to walking on her leash, the sounds and smells of the city, and crate training.

Since I work so close to our apartment I am able to go home at lunch and take Mira for a walk and play for a bit.

About a week later she was totally crate trained and even started letting us know when she needs to go out by sitting by the door. At first she would bark or yelp when we would crate her, but now she knows that we are never going for long.

She already knows how to "sit" and we are working on other commands like "stay" and "come".

She is very very bright and we are thinking about working on training her to be a therapy dog. Dogs must be at least a year old to take the test, which consists of several commands and behaviour observation, but we think that she has what it takes to volunteer with Therapy Dogs International.

Mira is still a puppy and every day she is learning and growing, but she is also very sweet and loves to snuggle on the sofa or play with a toy.

She has been wonderful around other dogs of all sizes, adults/strangers who want to say "hi", and even children as young as three years old!

She also gets along great with our seven year old cat. She will snuggle on our sofa with my partner and the cat to take a nap!

She is certainly everything we'd hoped for and we are so excited that we were able to be a part of rescuing her. We love her very much and look forward to lots of exploring and new memories with her in the years to come.

Text and photos: Brittany Powell

INDog-mix pups for adoption - Delhi

An appeal sent recently by Shampa Dasgupta of SPCA Noida/Happy Tails adoption group.

I do not post all the appeals forwarded to me but that doesn't mean there are no pups for adoption. There are scores at any point of time!

Please go through the list of links on the right side of this screen. There are websites of many organizations and individuals who are working hard to get street pups adopted. You can make their work a bit easier by sharing their appeals every now and then.

From Shampa Dasgupta

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

INDog Tommy is now a Therapy Dog

Remember Tommy, obedience champion and Canine Good Citizen? You may have read about him in this August post.
Tommy was born in Goa, adopted by Monique Nerman and taken to the US, and is currently with her in Italy.

While in the US Monique not only signed him up in two obedience classes, she also enrolled him as a Therapy Dog.

I've been nagging her to write about it for this blog (thanks Monique!)

Here's her account of how Tommy entered this wonderful programme:

Tommy is now the proud owner of the "I am a Therapy Dog" badge and ID card.

What is a Therapy Dog?

"The primary objective of the TDI dog and handler is to provide comfort and companionship by sharing the dog with the patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions and wherever else the Therapy Dog is needed. This is done in a way that increases emotional well-being, promotes healing, and improves the quality of life for the people being visited and the staff that cares for these people.

"The volunteers in the program and the dogs who visit with those in care facilities do make a difference in the quality of life. Real therapy is provided between animals and people." - From TDI - Therapy Dogs International - presentation on Therapy Dogs.

TDI, the first Therapy Dog organization, founded in 1976 in New Jersey, USA, is a NGO and through them you can test your dog.

There are no schools to train the dog - it's very much a "you either have it or you don't."

Therapy Dogs are expected to give emotional support and compassion not only to their owners/ handlers but to whoever is in front of them.
They need to have an outstanding character and personality.

To be able to test Tommy we had to take the Canine Good Citizen test and then on a very hot August day we had the Therapy Dog test.

Ever since I decided to adopt Tommy, I had had a feeling he would be a perfect Therapy Dog. Now was the time to see if he really was ready to do it.

The evaluator had us walk past food without touching it, not react to wheel chairs or objects being thrown on the floor, people hugging him forcefully, sitting on a chair next to a handicapped person and waiting patiently while being touched.

He passed all these tests and the evaluator joked that "of course he has to be used to commotion - he is from India!"
So Tommy passed the test and then we went to the vet to get the veterinary certificate, and then to take a passport photo for his ID card.

Two weeks later I had found an assisted living center so off we went, with the bandana, the tag and the ID card, for the moment of truth. Would Tommy be able to handle the hospital environment? Would he be loving to complete strangers who were ill? And what was I supposed to do?

We met David and Miles, a very big field Labrador, who were going to be our buddies: they belong to Delta, another Therapy Dog NGO.

Our task was going to be to visit 25 rooms with two patients in each room. Help!

Miles and David helped us get started - four minutes in each room.

Tommy wagged his tail cautiously and looked at me with concern - but after a couple of rooms he got the hang of it and wagged with more confidence and bravely went up to all the patients on the "go say Hi" command.

He stood patiently by the wheelchairs and let himself be touched, didn't freak out by the oxygen machines or the amputated legs.

He really liked it when he had to lie on some of the patients' beds. Comfortably lay down, stretched and closed his eyes for a snooze!

After a few visits we became popular with the patients and we could hear from the halls "Are Tommy and the big dog here?"

The hardest thing is to not show how emotional this type of volunteering is. Seeing the smiles and the joy on the patients' faces and how Tommy understands the importance of what he does brings tears to my eyes.

I am so proud of my little INDog who just a few months earlier was living on the streets of India chasing cars and cows!

After leaving America we went to Italy, and started doing Therapy Dog visits in a day care center for adults with intellectual and relational disabilities (e.g. Autism and Down's Syndrome).

It's an amazing facility with so much love and hope. Tommy walks in to the center like a pro and understands at once that this is important stuff!

The patients know Tommy well now and try to teach him Italian.

One young woman who was scared of dogs and has speech and movement problems, was introduced to Tommy - and after one visit now spends time with him petting him and brushing him.

Tommy stands patiently next to her and doesn't move when she is next to him.

The other week Tommy was lying in the middle of a circle of ten people, stomach up, eyes closed and paws in the air, being petted and pampered by everyone.

This is an amazing way to help people. We volunteer one hour per week.

It shows that dogs have outstanding personalities and that they have compassion and so much love to share.

Tommy's job is to help people feel better and he really understands that he is part of something bigger.
I feel honoured to have him in my life.

Story and photos: Monique G Nerman
USA & Italy

Therapy Dogs International (TDI) - www.tdi-dog.org
Please do not use images/content from this site without permission and acknowledgment

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Kiba: his life and times

Baby INDog Kiba has been with us for two months exactly. His age is now three months.

I really meant to write about him much earlier, but the problem was choosing which picture (out of hundreds) to post.

My final shortlist is 31...
obviously way too many for one post. Here's a random selection. Still a photo-blitz, but please bear with his besotted shutterbug bore of a mom!

Above: Soon after arrival, 24 October 2011. He weighed 1.7 kilos.

Above: The first day

Above, below: The day after adoption, the games begin. Kimaya was initially nervous of him, but she soon got over that.

Above: Trophy - a fallen leaf from one of our teak trees

Above: Doing the patio steps on his own on his second trip to Nagaon. When we adopted him he still couldn't gauge distances or depth so we used to carry him up and down.

Above: Meeting with Brownie. A very important occasion. Brownie marked many sofas and curtains after this historic event. He's never done that before and I'm rather hoping he won't do it again.

Above: Kimaya, Brownie look into the middle distance with noble expressions. Kiba looks only at the dried leaf he is guzzling. Noble expressions appear later in INDogs.

Above: Between six and seven weeks. His first collar! Also the day of his first distemper+parvo combo vaccine.

Above: Ears lifting...

Above: Play bow. They both love tug games. Kiba invites Kimaya to play by picking up one of his toys and wagging it about in front of her. Several toys have been dismantled and unstuffed during their tug games. These are some of the few that have survived.

Above: They love each other, they really do.

Above: The blue giraffe was still intact when this was clicked, but it's kind of prophetic that you can only see its head in the picture. Because some weeks later its head, body and insides were all separated from each other with surgical precision. Like Humpty Dumpty it could never be put back together again.

Above: Nagaon, 30 November, 9 weeks old

Above: 5 December - one ear up

Above: Snarls and growls

Above: This morning, 26 December. The right ear has been up since yesterday, with just a little bit still to firm up near the tip. Is this a noble expression, or am I just partial?

Above: I made goat-noises at him to get this expression.

How he was adopted:

We wanted a companion for Kimaya, but this time I was determined to adopt a highway pup or a village pup. I make a lot of road trips and there has rarely been even one on which I didn't see road-kill. I wanted to take at least one dog away from that dangerous life.

Since INDogs have seasonal synchronized breeding during the late monsoon months, winter is "puppy season" and there are dozens of little ones all along the highways. On 24 October Kiran, Kimaya and I were on our way to Nagaon when we saw a brown nursing female standing next to a modest roadside shop, one of those shacks that sell biscuits and potato chips. It was right next to the Alibag bypass road.

I hopped out of the car to ask the shopkeeper whether the dog was his, when another nursing female appeared, a black-and-tan one this time. The shopkeeper said they weren't his but he was feeding them and both bitches had kept their puppies in a sheltered space next to the shop.

I saw nine pups; the man said there were 14 in all!

Though I prefer females I had to take a male because Kimaya doesn't get on well with females. (Lalee of course was an exception because she was senior and the leader; Kimaya loved her).

I chose a plump light brown male and took him to the car. He was fast asleep and didn't wake even when picked up.

He really looked too small to take away from his mother, so at first I suggested to the man that I could pick him up a few days later on our way back to town. But he and his assistant almost begged me to take the pup at once, and I can't blame them: they were just a few feet from a busy highway. Moreover it was Diwali week, when panic-stricken dogs often dash onto the street and get hit by cars.

The pup looked just about one month old, perhaps a day or two short, so we decided he must have been born around 24 September.

Luckily he could eat soft mashed up solids. Obviously he had never fed himself before, but he learned in a few seconds how to do it. The next day our driver picked up puppy formula milk and vitamin drops from the vet and came down to Nagaon on the ferry, so Kiba didn't have to wait for those.

He was named after a character in the anime series Wolf's Rain. I read that kiba means "fang" in Japanese. And it goes well with "Kimaya" and "Kiran" (the last being the husband).

Of course he has all sorts of silly nicknames as well. A recent one is "Pizzpot Gargravarr." Yes, toilet-training has been a challenge, but we shall overcome in the end.

Kiba has also been a movie star from an early age, so expect a video-blitz sometime soon. But be warned: there is lots of gratuitous violence.

Over to some other dogs now!

Here's an earlier post on adoption of highway dogs.

Please do not use images/content from this blog without permission and acknowledgment.

Monday, December 19, 2011

INDog at Hampi

This beautiful picture was clicked by Kirti Chavan on his recent trip to the ancient temples of Hampi. This was (very appropriately) at the Hanuman temple.

You can see some more "temple dog" pictures through this earlier post.

Photo: Kirti Chavan

Please do not use images/content from this site without permission and acknowledgment.

Jaamu needs a new home

This pretty young mix-breed needs a new home. Please help him by sharing this appeal widely.

From his owner Irina Kharbanda:

"We live in Delhi. We`re going out of India and for legal reasons we`re not allowed to take our dog along. It`s in Australia`s policy that no animal is allowed to enter the country from India (http://www.daff.gov.au/aqis/cat-dogs/countries/cat6?name=India ).

We got Jaamu 2 years ago. He was 1 month old. My husband picked him up on a highway, else he would be crushed by trucks.

He is our family member. He is a non-vegetarian dog and enjoys his chicken very much. He is a naughty, lovable, active and healthy dog. Jaamu likes to run around and to play a tag game. Balcony is his favourite place at home. He likes to bathe in summer. He is absolutely fine with people, never ever bit or attacked anyone, but he becomes very excited and aggressive towards strange dogs. He is okay with puppies and grown-up dogs, if introduced properly.

Health stats: vaccinated, neutered, age: 2 years.

We really would like to give to someone who is an animal lover, will be able to understand Jaamu`s character and make him a happy dog."

Please contact +919873714674 – Irina Kharbanda, +919540331624 – Amit Kharbanda


Irina Kharbanda


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dogs of Cambodia

These pictures were taken by Gautam Das on his recent visit to Cambodia (Kampuchea).
In South East Asia these dogs are called Kampong Dogs.

They live in exactly the same way as free-ranging INDogs here, in villages and cities.

I noticed the free-ranging dogs in Cambodia when I visited the Angkor complex back in 1998, but sadly I didn't click any pictures. There were many with short legs around Siem Reap, a mutation Colonel Das also noticed. Check the last picture here, of the short-legged puppy.

I have known a very few dogs like that in Mumbai, though it's not a common mutation in this part of the country at least. I don't think they were mix-breeds as most people assumed.

Many cats in Cambodia (and probably elsewhere in the region) have an interesting mutation as well: their tails are short with a stump at the end.

Earlier posts in this blog about Kampong Dogs:

South-East Asian Pariah Dog,
Puppy in Ipoh,
Dogs in Sarawak,
Ipoh dogs
Malaysian pups

And here is an interesting post from Lam Chun See's blog about Kampong Dogs.

There are many pictures in this blog of indigenous pariah-type dogs from different countries. Go to "Topics" and open "aboriginal dogs" and "long-term pariah morphotype."

If you've been reading this blog for some time you'll know that Gautam Das is the person who coined the name INDog. You may have read his article The Indian Native Dog in the INDog site.

If you haven't yet looked at the INDog site, drop everything and do so now!!

Photos: Gautam Das
Please do not use content/images from this blog without permission and acknowledgment.