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

Monday, December 10, 2012

Champ and Jebo in Goa

Two pictures of Champak Lal and Jalebi from their recent Goa holiday. 

Chilling at a cafe

Champ ecstatic after a beach run

These two pictures are not from Goa. I just posted them because they're beautiful!

Read the earlier Champ and Jebo post here.

Photos: Neha Arora

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LittleDog Brand

Cute INDog-mix LittleDog belongs to Dominique Brand.

"My husband and I are British, recently moved to Kolkata and before we knew it we had rescued a little Indian street dog," writes Dominique. "He was about six weeks old but weighed only a kilo. His five other litter mates all died. He had over 300 ticks and was covered in fleas. He was so weak he could hardly stand." 

"This is from when he was 13 weeks old (roughly) and thriving. He's very clever and is learning new things every day with training. He has become a local celebrity in our neighbourhood with his training tricks."

Little Dog's mother is a very shy dog who lives on the street near the Royal Calcutta Golf Club. LittleDog has the same colouring as her and his grandmother. The dogs are fed by a kind lady every day.

LittleDog's mother

This is his grandmother below.

"I thought I would show you a photo of me with my human mummy out in the rain in Kolkata. I hate the rain and prefer to shelter under the umbrella...although my humans tell me that I should try to get used to it...I think they'd like me to play in the water but there's a fat chance of that! He he!"

On his recent trip to Darjeeling. Here he is on the train from Kolkata to Darjeeling. "He coped remarkably well with the chaos, but is looking a little worried in this photo, in case he misses out getting a few crisps from me!"

"LittleDog enjoying romping around off the lead for the first time ever, on the river banks (in the valley bordering Sikkim). He never gets to run around off the lead in Kolkata because there are just too many dogs and jackals which are very territorial on the golf course. As you can see, he loved it!"

Another from LittleDog's North Bengal holiday album. "Since he hates water he needed a little biscuit as an incentive to jump across this tiny stream!"

LittleDog will soon make another journey: he is shifting to Thailand with his human family next month.  Looking forward to posting about his adventures there!

Photos: Dominique Brand


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Sunday, December 9, 2012


Handsome INDog-mix Ramu belongs to a friend in Pune. I love black dogs!

Apparently he's a real softie despite his macho looks. "He spent the entire day yesterday looking tearful because I yelled at him for stealing a choc cream biscuit."

Thanks for the picture, Malini! 

Photo: Malini Nair, Pune

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I have a long list of Indy beauties to feature here, so long I'm almost feeling faint! Serves me right for neglecting the blog for so long. 

So here's the first: Vandana's gorgeous INDog Chocos, in Palakkad, Kerala.

"In February this year two puppies decided to crawl under my car. Even though we had no intention of raising a dog, they managed to melt our hearts and make us let them stay. 

One of them went missing at the time we decided to adopt them, and was later found with a group of gypsy duck owners. He seemed very happy with them.

The one we kept, it turned out, was a girl and for a long time she was afraid to come anywhere near us...

Here are a few pictures. She makes every day so cheerful!"

There's more to the Chocos story. She used to jump over the wall and wander off, though later Vandana started restricting her movements and keeping her indoors. She had been gaining weight for some time, and in the last week of November she had a litter of three puppies, though the vet had assured the family that she wasn't pregnant! 

For the birthing Chocos had picked a low shelf in the kitchen, like a little cave. 

"She's like, 'I got this,' " says Vandana. "She isn't ignoring the pups or anything. Tore off the placenta, cut the cord, kept the puppies' face and nose clean." 

These are her puppies. One of them looks quite a lot like her!

Photos: Vandana

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kimaya has a mood swing, or two

Hello, we are back!

And sorry for our loooong absence from this blog! It's inexcusable but I have two excuses anyway. I've had to work quite a lot on my other blog (about tiger conservation). And of course the Facebook INDog page swallows up a LOT of the time I have left.

There are many Indy beauties from FB that I have to introduce here; but first a longish update about us. It's a bit of a homily on canine loyalty as well, so skip the text if you don't like that sort of thing! But don't skip the pictures, they're quite nice!

It's actually about our human ideas about canine loyalty. We had this phase in our lives when Kimaya became disloyal to her former best friend. I meant to post this long ago but wasn't sure how to write about it without letting some very human disapproval show through.

The former best friend is of course our beautiful Brownie, of whom much has been written in this blog. 

I've mentioned before that Brownie decided to change his residence sometime last year. He was always friendly with these two dogs belonging to a bungalow near ours. The owner lives in Nagaon most of the year.

Brownie used to visit them quite often and one day he decided to start living there, instead of with Mr Athavale, his original owner. 

He still drops by at the Athavales sometimes, but it's no longer his principal home. 

I'm very happy for him. His new home is perfect. There are at least seven canine members, and that's just what Brownie likes - lots of doggy company.

But...this created a rift with his former best friend Kimaya. 

Kimaya is petrified of Brownie's friends. They've never tried to harm her, but she's scared of them anyway. She's scared of all pet dogs. 

Last October the fluffy one ran up to her and tried to make friends. Well to be honest he wanted to check whether she was neutered or not, but he didn't threaten her or touch her at all. Their family servant grabbed him and took him away. 

Kimaya took it badly. After that she didn't want to come to the beach at all for the next few months. If she saw these dogs even from a distance, she'd try to run back home. 

On another occasion an ownerless brindled dog growled and snarled at her, and that was the last straw. Our beach walks stopped altogether. 

I dragged her out on a leash a few times, but she was obviously so terrified I gave up. We would just sit on the steps for a while, but even from that safe place, the sight of Brownie's new family far away would scare her and she'd want to go home.

Kimaya can be a little dim-witted sometimes, specially when under stress. She associated her poor old friend with all these scary experiences. She didn't want to play with him any more. Look at her in these pictures, just wanting to go home and refusing to interact with Brownie.

Brownie understood the problem and explained to his friends that they shouldn't come anywhere near Kimaya. I don't know how he did it but he did. So we'd find him and his friends romping on the beach, and he'd come and join us and his friends would quietly turn around and go home. I'm not exaggerating at all. This is exactly how it happened.

You'd have thought the rift would have healed at this point. But then - along came Kiba.

Kimaya completely shifted her loyalty to Kiba. This is probably very moral from a dog's viewpoint. When Brownie came over for dinner, she'd stand between him and Kibby and bark loudly to protect the puppy. I was quite proud of her. But then she started growling at Brownie and clearly discouraging him from coming to the house. That's when we humans (specially the husband) started thinking her a bit nasty. And disloyal. After all Brownie had taken such good care of her the two years she lived in Nagaon. 

Finally poor Brownie just stopped coming back with us from the beach. He'd come and say hello to us, try unsuccessfully to play with Kimaya, and then trot back to his own family. I was convinced he had a sad expression.

That hurt. I knew Brownie before Kimaya was born. He's very much part of our lives in Nagaon. 

Thankfully, once we started taking Kiba to the beach (in May) things began to sort themselves out. 

Kiba is no longer an idiotic blundering puppy. He knows how to interact with other dogs now. He made a few attempts to bully Brownie's younger family members. Luckily there was enough space for him to run away when they retaliated. And luckily he runs quite fast.

Kimaya would still growl at Brownie occasionally, but that lessened over time. On our last trip she was actually glad to see him. He came home for lunch one day, and dinner another day. 

He and Kiba won't ever be friends, because they're both the bossy type. But that's okay. At least he and Kimaya are friends again.


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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Champu and Jebo


To provide some context, I live in Pune but my family also owns a house in Goa which we often visit. On one such trip, my parents decided to let me adopt a dog. Something I'd wanted all my life. It just took about 26 years of persistent nagging.

So that fateful weekend in Goa my parents and I trooped into a Rotary shelter, determined to bring home a canine companion. A visit to a dog shelter is always overwhelming – this one particularly was a cramped space with over 50-60 dogs and a few cats. Amazingly the cats seemed to have a more generous space with soft bedding; none of the dogs had that luxury. Feeling extra-generous towards my mum, I let her do the choosing. Anyway I would have been completely useless in this pursuit; there wasn’t one dog I saw that I did not want to take home.

The first dog that my mum went gaga over – was this tiny, fluffy bundle of white. Barely about two months old, she was hurt, whining and pacing around the cage. The volunteers told us that she was abandoned at one of the busiest intersections of Panjim – obviously, whoever left her there, wanted her to be run over. And she was. However, the man whose bike she got under was kind enough to immediately rush her over to a vet and was then advised to take her to the shelter. She had been here for just over a week, and was undergoing treatment. It was quite a pitiful sight and you really just wanted to scoop her up and never put her down again. But the volunteers were reluctant; they advised that since she was still undergoing treatment, we should look at other 'healthier' dogs.

We continued down the line and asked to see several other puppies – details of which I would rather not get into. We finally got to the dog that we would take home. At first look, there was nothing remarkable about these two lanky puppies in this one cage. If you ask my mum why she chose the one puppy over the other, she wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. Unlike some other pups, who were flinging themselves onto the cage doors in a desperate attempt to get out, this young pup was backed up against the cage, reluctant to get out. When we picked him up it was clear that he was petrified and would much rather be in the cage. But mum decided - this was the one we were taking home.

So with a new brown pup in my arms, we got back home. I immediately named him Champu, short for Champak Lal. To say he was afraid is an understatement. The minute we would put him down he would run away to the nearest corner and cower. Fear spilled from his big brown eyes. After his first bath he even tried to jump off the balcony – it was such sheer torture!

The first corner Champ found at home

While I got busy with Champ and his vet visits (he was malnourished, had a skin infection, refused to eat for the first few days), mum could not stop obsessing over the tiny, hurt, white bundle we had left behind. She couldn’t get her out of her mind. So the next day, she went back to the shelter and took the puppy to the vet to ensure she was getting proper treatment. The feisty little bundle even bit the doc when he dropped her by mistake. My mum was enamoured some more!

Taking her to the vet - broke our hearts to leave her behind

The puppy was dropped back to the shelter, evidently with my mum’s heart. She obviously wanted to adopt her too, but we were not prepared to take two dogs home – not immediately at least. Amidst this chaos, one of the doctors showed concern that Champu could be suffering from parvo virus. This put the house into turmoil. Other vets also showed concern that parvo was a possibility (none of the shelter dogs were vaccinated). So the shelter suggested that I should leave Champu back in the shelter and consider adopting another dog. I wouldn’t have it. Champu was now my dog, and just because he might be sick, I wasn’t about to leave him there to die. Worse still, there seemed to be no test available to confirm that he was sick. Looking back now, maybe that was a good thing; the doubt made my parents let me keep him.

Champu loved to sit on my shoulder and just hide

So there were many ideas being floated around – do we adopt both dogs, do we not adopt Champ or choose the other dog (who was doing much better than before). I kept updating a friend back in Pune on the conversation. My distress was obvious. Then he suggested that he could adopt one dog – hallelujah! With much difficulty mum agreed that Anoop would adopt Jebo, short for Jalebi, and we would keep Champu. Jebo was got home, both dogs were vaccinated, and then we were on the road back to Pune.

Jebo - getting ready for the road trip

Champ sleeping in the car on the way to Pune

However, this was not the happy beginning that we all hoped for. When we got Jebo home, she was, for lack of a better word, listless. She would not respond to any sounds or sights. She would just plop down and not move. If anyone petted her, she would get up and plop down at a distance. She did not like being held – she just wanted to be left alone. She even ignored Champu who was very eager to play with her. She was living with Anoop by then. A string of vets told us that she could be blind 
and/or deaf, or could have irreparable neural damage. Once again however, no one could confirm this.

Jebo at the Goa house. Despite all Champ's attempts, Jebo
refused to play. She actually looked sad.

So it was a wait-and-watch game. And time was very kind to us. Turns out Champu was just weak and malnourished and Jebo was in shock. All the vets were proved wrong. Both dogs are now perfectly healthy and extremely naughty. They love going for their morning walks together, love fighting with each other and rule over our families!

This is the short version of the story. There is so much more to it. The story of how Champu pursued Jebo relentlessly. The story of how of my parents turned into ardent dog lovers. The story of how Anoop’s world changed. And this is just the beginning – the happy kinds. There are so many more stories to come!

Both pups soon after adoption

Four-month old Jebo chewing the iPad. On the screen is her
own first picture!

Jebo baby pics - above and below

Champ - those big brown eyes

Champ in Goa

Champ strutting

Jebo now

Jebo - look at them ears!

Champ - anything for a biscuit!

Story and photos: Neha Arora
Goa, Pune

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