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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shanti's last journey

In January 2011 I posted about Shanti, Scott Rothstein's beautiful INDog rescued from certain death on a Delhi street. Read about her in the post INDog in the East. 

Shanti passed away a few months ago.

"She had a pretty remarkable life," writes Scott. "Found almost dead on the streets of Delhi...brought back to life then ends up living the life of a diplomat. Three years on the US Embassy compound in Delhi, moves to a high-rise in Tokyo, then moves to a diplomat's apartment in Bangkok.

Everywhere she went, she was totally loved by everyone who met her.

















My wife finished her post in Bangkok (in mid-2012). We moved from Thailand back to the US. We wanted to take Shanti back with us, but I was very concerned that the trip would be too much for her. She would be in a crate for as long as 30 hours. We don't really know how old she was...in that when we found her on the street, the vet thought she was between one and three years old. So at this time she could have been 11 or 13. But in fact she could have been older. She had been looking/acting pretty old.

This transition was on my mind for a long time. My Thai housekeeper knew my concerns and told me I should leave Shanti with her. We had talked about this three years ago. From that time on, she took the position that Shanti was staying with her. She totally LOVED Shanti. Her real job was not so much a housekeeper, but as the person to take care of Shanti when we travelled. My wife was travelling about 40% of the time for work.



















So we decided it was best for Shanti to stay. My housekeeper was so happy. She was 70 and was retiring herself. Shanti would probably be the focus of her life at this point. 

She has a nice little house in Bangkok that she shares with her son and granddaughter. Shanti had already spent time there, was totally at home and everyone loved her. 

Needless to say, it was very hard for us to leave her. But it was what was best for her and we had to put her needs before ours. 

A year later Shanti became ill and it was determined that she had advanced cancer. We think she was about 14.

When all this was playing out, our Thai housekeeper informed us that Shanti needed a proper funeral. Like many Thais my housekeeper loved dogs and animals in general.

The day Shanti passed away, she was taken to the Wat (Thai temple) and given a formal Thai funeral. 

Somehow I think she must be the only pariah dog to leave the world in this way.

These pictures were taken at her funeral. It's pretty moving to see the respect given to her."





























Story and photos: Scott Rothstein
Thailand

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Lucky, with love

Stuti Jain's touching tribute to a beloved family member






















This is about my little brother Lucky. He is no longer with me now...but he will be in my heart forever. 

He was by my side when my human best friends left me alone...His licking my face, the wag of his tail, his bark made me feel happy about my life during some bad days. I guess all dogs are cute but Lucky was the most handsome dog I ever came across. He had the cutest and most innocent face a dog can ever have. But his acts were not that innocent (!) Once he ate the shoe of a guest who came for dinner to our place. He ate almost everything, from curtains to my expensive shoes to chair legs...everything. He had those chewing toys but he was rarely interested in playing with them. He just loved spoiling things in his free time. It was tough to punish him because of the guilty look he gave afterwards.

My brother and I rescued him from a street near my house after he and his mother got hit in an accident. His mother was dead by the time we noticed them. We kept the pup with us. He was the most pampered child of our family. And of all the members of our family, he was closest to me. He never left me alone. My brother used to call him 'didi's tail' because he always followed me. No-one had the guts to yell at me when he was around!

He was a cute spoiled brat...my favourite little guy!










































Five or six years ago I was seriously ill and in bed rest for almost five months. I remember he never left me alone all that time. He slept in my room throughout. I had a problem related to my digestive system, so my appetite was very poor. Normally he never missed his meals for anybody. He was a big foodie and simply loved milk and malai kulfi! He used to bark like crazy whenever the kulfiwala passed our colony. But during my illness he would only eat after I had eaten. That was a good blackmailing tactic for my mom and dad to make me eat my food!

He always slept with his head on my lap, like this.






















My parents used to tell my Lucky stopped eating after I moved to Hyderabad for further studies. I'm living in a hostel so it was not possible to bring him with me. I thought he would be okay in a few days. This was not the first time that he was grieving in my absence. He did the same thing when my brother went to a hostel. But he was back to normal in a week or so. But this time it was not normal. I should be happy to be one of those few lucky people on earth who come across such true friends - but instead I am sad because his devotion to me was the cause of his death...

My parents didn't tell me about his death for one month. They knew it would disturb me. And yes, they were right. It's like I have lost my little brother. He was always there when I needed a friend. I regret not being with him when he needed me the most.

No human can ever love anybody as dogs do. Dogs are the best creation of god. I don't know if anyone can ever take the place Lucky had in my life. I'm sure nobody can ever love me and care for me as he did.

Stuti Jain

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Radha

Radha is a very cute INDog-mix from Chennai, who recently got adopted in the US. 

Owner Constance wrote in about her:



























I live in San Francisco, California. I was looking for a mix-breed dog to adopt. I was on a local website called 'Grateful Dogs.' There was a photo of Finnegan, a mixed hound dog from South India. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had just returned from Tamil Nadu and Kerala a couple of months prior to this. Tamil Nadu holds a special place in my heart. I have visited India four times, twice to Pondicherry to visit Sri Aurobindo's ashram.

I emailed Shannon McDonnell, the contact person for Finnegan. She telephoned me right away and told me Finnegan was no longer available, but was I interested in hearing about another dog, Claire? As it happened Shannon and her husband, Tim Cloonan, lived in Tamil Nadu for six years for Tim's job, and brought their dog, a female boxer with them. Tim and Shannon rescued six Indian 'country dogs' with the help of their boxer, who was 'mommy' to them.

Claire was four months old when they adopted her. She was given cow's milk by someone and got a calcium rush to her front legs. Her feet became misshapen and she was rejected by her mother and could no longer nurse. When Tim and Shannon found her, her ears were studded with ticks. They took her to a veterinarian who treated her well. When it was time to return to the USA, Shannon and Tim got all the dogs health certificates and were allowed to bring all six back to San Francisco.



















We renamed Claire "Radha". She is four years old and I love her like crazy!



































































Text and photos: Constance G. Hills
San Francisco
USA

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Goldi


This handsome INDog-mix belongs to Birgit Drawe and her family. He was adopted in Tamil Nadu and now lives with them in Spain. Birgit sent me his story:



For the past two years I've been the happy owner of Goldi.

Goldi was one of seven puppies born at a church in Kottivakam/Chennai. One day my neighbours decided to take him to their place in Akkarai.

When they realized the dog was damaging shoes and stealing food, they chased him out of the compound. Happily our caretaker's dog befriended Goldi when he was lonely, sitting by the side of the road.

Step by step Goldi entered our hearts. Now a life without him is unthinkable.
























Last year our company shifted us to Spain. I was not sure whether he would adjust to his new life, but he managed perfectly.


























































In Spain you find dogs with features similar to Goldi. They are called Podencos.

Often people tell us how beautiful Goldi looks, and they ask us whether he is a Podenco or an Australian Dingo.

Then I tell them very proudly, no he is a natural dog from Tamil Nadu.

Photos and text: Birgit Drawe
Spain

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Bhuku

I've been admiring Bhuku for a long time on our Facebook page. She's a beautiful Kolkata INDog owned by Arup Chatterjee and his family. Lots of funny expressions and of course those gorgeous INDog ears! I asked Arup for some more photos of her. And here they are, along with her adoption story: 



My wife and son rescued a street puppy that someone left in front of our gate. She was extremely ill. Almost paralyzed and could not stand up or even raise her head to eat any food. We started treating her. After seven days she could stand up a little. And with continued treatment she is fit and fine.






















She is extremely naughty and playful. She runs with such speed it always amazes us (we didn't think she'd ever be able to even stand!) Loves to eat and play.






























The way she greets me when I return home from work fills my heart with joy. She is like the daughter to us that we never had.

We named her 'Bhuku' - seems strange? The reason is when she was small she used to bark with that sound, 'bhuk bhuk' - so the name!















































































































































Photos and text: Arup Chatterjee
Kolkata

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Koel's family





In the winter of 2010-11 Koel Chatterji rescued seven beautiful INDog pups in Kolkata. 
Here is their story:

"It was the morning after Christmas, 2010. I woke up to my aunt Moon Moon's call: she lives a few houses away from me. A bitch called Leju had given birth to a litter of six pups on the ground floor of a house that was under renovation. My aunt had named her Leju because of her incessant tail wagging - lej means 'tail' in Bengali.

Leju hadn't been doing too well and my aunt wanted me to check on her. I found the dog roaming around restlessly, unable to sit for more than a few minutes at a stretch. In spite of the obvious pain and discomfort she was in she kept going to nurse her pups. My friend Indranil, who currently has 15 INDogs at his home, arrived and managed to catch Leju, while I bundled up the pups, three boys and three girls, in an old bedsheet much like Santa's sack of gifts! And then I brought them home.



We started Leju on IV fluids. She calmed down considerably once she was settled under my staircase with her pups next to her. Later that evening, while I was putting up some makeshift curtains to cordon off the area, Leju passed away in her sleep. I turned around to find her lifeless body, with the pups, blissfully unaware of the world, sleeping all huddled up together near her tummy.

We brought out my daughter's discarded playpen, layered it with newspapers and blankets and put all the pups in it. 

The next few weeks passed by in a blur of feeds, pee, poop and cleaning! Since the pups had been born in a construction site, I gave them all Bengali names for construction materials. They were named Shurki (powdered brick), Bali (sand), Eety (from eet = brick), Kurni (trowel), Kodaal (hoe) and Paatkel (broken bricks).  

I put little cloth ties around their necks, with name tags made of paper wrapped in scotch tape. I kept these on for about a week. In this one week Bali managed to remove his tie at least a hundred times; thankfully he was the only brown pup in the litter so he was easily identifiable. My cousin brought in another pup from the street in January, to add to the set. He couldn't find her mother anywhere. I named her Kaankor (stone chips). 

We lost Eety a few days after Kaankor joined the brood. She stopped feeding one morning and passed away the same night. 
























Kurni and Bali















Paatkel



Bali chewing on the news...



























Paatkel trying to get Chocolate the black lab to play. Chocolate is my older dog.










My daughter with Kaankor just before her adoption...sad to part with her, but she's very happy with her new family








































































Bali and Kaankor were adopted by the families of two men who work in our company. Kaankor was the first to be adopted, because the other five were shunning her and ganging up on her. I have often wondered whether that was because they knew her to be an 'outsider' even at that early age. Her adoptive family renamed her Kaankon (bangle). I get regular updates on Bali and Kaankor, and see them once in a while. Kaankor came to stay with us for a few days when her family went on a holiday last year - it was wonderful! 

Kodaal was adopted by a rickshaw-puller, who later gave him away to a relative from a nearby town (without informing us) because his landlord wouldn't allow a pet; we haven't seen him since."

Shurki, Kurni and Paatkel were kept by Koel. Here they are, all grown up!


Shurki
Kurni
Paatkel
 
Paatkel with his 'nanny' and biggest fan, Ritu

Kurni, Shurki

Paatkel
















Koel has three more dogs, INDog-mixes Golu, Molu and Jeroo. Coming up soon in another post!

Photos and story: Koel Chatterji
Kolkata

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Prey drive

INDogs have high prey drive and were in fact used for hunting by villagers - mostly aboriginal peoples - for hundreds if not a few thousand years, judging by rock art hunting scenes. They are still used for poaching in areas where law enforcement is weak. They are also used for livestock-guarding in large parts of rural India; and in those areas village dogs rarely attack goats or other domestic animals, even though they kill wildlife if they get the opportunity. Click here and here for images of flock-guarding INDogs.

When dogs aren't socialized to livestock this is what happens. Kiran saw this incident a few days ago in Assam. Luckily his companions shouted and chased the dogs away. 

This kind of behaviour does not make free-roaming dogs popular and these two might well get poisoned by villagers if they make a habit of livestock-killing. In this case the goat lived to be killed another day, but possibly not by dogs. (Reminds me of the Don Marquis poem 'aesop revised by archy'.)

































Photos: Kiran Khalap
Assam

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