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, July 17, 2014

Some little dogs - Arunachal Pradesh and Assam

My first trip to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh was in March this year; and I managed to click some lovely village dogs in spite of all-day birding and wildlife-watching. 

Earlier in this blog I've posted photos of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh dogs clicked by Gautam Das and Kiran Khalap.

Assam INDogs are somewhat shorter and smaller than the dogs in the peninsula (which also vary in height). There were also some distinctly short-legged dogs that may not have been mixed with any other breed. I've seen a very few natural 'dwarf' dogs in Mumbai over the years, but the trait seems more common in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh than in the rest of the country. I remember 
seeing similar short dogs in Thailand and Cambodia many years ago. Their heads, ears, coats, tails and everything else were the village/pariah dog type.

His tail was lowered because I was staring at him and clicking his photo

In Arunachal we were in Tenga Valley and went up to Eaglenest. The village dogs look like mixes of INDog and some other breed/s with heavier coat.

I'm only putting the short dog photos in this post; I saw and clicked others too. 

His name is Ankit and he lives near some army quarters. He and his family are looked after by staff who seem very fond of them.  
I'm not sure what will happen once these particular personnel are posted elsewhere.

Ankit with family. The one in the foreground got burned when he sat on the hot embers of a bonfire. 
The army people medicated the burn and he had almost healed up when I saw him.
One of a litter of pups near the Jia Bharali river, Assam. All attached to a tourist resort nearby.

The pups near the Jia Bharali river

From the Jia Bharali river family

Assam - Sonitpur District
Arunachal Pradesh - West Kameng District

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Boo and Choco

Are puppies capable of rational decision-making? Do they intentionally seek the protection of certain humans? Or do they just follow those who show them kindness, without any thought of the future? 

We know for sure that Boo sought out her humans; what led her to do so may always be a mystery.

The story of Boo and Choco, by Caitlin Jackson: 

Boo was born a street dog on a beach in Varkala, Kerala, sometime in early 2014, to a beautiful elegant black INDog with large ears and a curled tail. She was born a near carbon copy of her mother, but with the long sporty legs of her probable father.

A few months later I arrived at the beach. The last two weeks of our three month trip to India were supposed to be spent relaxing, but instead they turned into a rescue operation.

I played with Boo's mother on the beach, as well as the other street dogs who hang around the resort. My boyfriend Chris spotted Boo later with her mother, and we were able to pet her briefly. She was thin and seemed weak and afraid. She cowered in the presence of adult dogs. A few nights later, Chris and I heard whining outside our cottage door. We opened t to find Boo there, whining and cowering. I sat down with her, and she crawled into my lap and fell asleep. Chris went and brought some milk for her from the resort kitchen, and later a resort employee brought a few pieces of bread with honey. She drank the milk and some water and ate a few bites of bread. She was so afraid. I knew right then that I needed to help her. While she slept on a mat beneath my patio chair, I began doing research on how to bring her home to Canada. The information was overwhelming. Go here, get those papers, don't forget to do this! I wasn't sure how I would ever be able to make it work. It was then that I found the email address of animal activist Lisa Warden, and emailed her for help and advice. Lisa had helped a Canadian couple adopt an Indian street puppy called Hugo in 2009, and also has Indian dogs of her own. 

When I checked my email the next day, I found that Lisa had emailed me back with the most encouraging message. She told me not to give up, that even though time was short, there was hope for getting Boo home. Later she told me, in an email that made me cry, not to forget that God loves all His creatures, and will bless our efforts to help them. There is always hope.

The next morning Chris and I came out of our cottage to find Boo's mother dead on the beach. We have no idea how she died but, unfortunately, Kerala has a history of violence towards dogs. She could have died any number of ways; by poisoning, from a rock thrown at her head, disease, infection, starvation or dehydration - the list goes on. Life as a street dog in India is not easy. Dogs may be beaten, poisoned, even shot by people who see them as vermin. In a country that is home to as many as 30,000,000 street dogs, what's the life of one dog? In some cities the lucky street dog is one who is not beaten daily. 

Over the next two days, Boo saw two different vets. She had a badly infected ear, large infected bite marks on her neck, and was severely malnourished and frail. We were also told that it's possible that one of her back legs had been injured before by a kick or even a thrown rock. 

We began Boo's treatment that evening by administering a deworming pill. The vet had told us to mix it with milk, and so we did. However this attracted the attention of the other dogs. One came up on the patio. She is a big white dog with a similar body type to Boo's. As soon as she saw her opportunity, she attacked. She grabbed Boo by the neck and dragged her across the ground, tearing at her with her jaws as she went. We managed to stop her only by hitting her, and a screaming Boo ran under a chair. When she eventually let me pick her up, I examined her and found that, thankfully, no skin was broken and she didn't show any outward signs of serious injury. She was terrified and shaking, so I wrapped her up in my towel and held her as she whimpered and cried and drifted to sleep. The resort owner came to see what all the commotion was about, so we told him. He informed us that the same dog had attacked Boo before, and that he thought the poor little pup was going to die. The wounds on Boo's neck were the remnants of a violent attack which almost claimed her life. Upon further examination, we found many other healed puncture wounds around her entire neck. The next night, Boo's attacker came back, growling and jumping at Boo, who was in my arms. A day later she came to our cabin door and tried to get in by scratching and pushing it. We started to keep Boo inside, for fear that when we were not around, her attacker would finish what she had started.

Bite wounds on her neck

I think the saddest thing of all is that we can't even blame the dog who attacked her, whom we called White Death. When food is scarce, older dominant dogs see the younger ones as a threat to their food source, and out of desperation and instinct will kill the poor pups. Baby Boo is a miracle dog. She should never have survived the attack on her life, but she did. She is a fighter. She is, for all we know, the only remaining survivor from her litter. But she knew she needed help, so she found us. And it was now up to us to fight for her. 

I typed up Boo's story and put it on Facebook, asking for help from my friends and family. I hated asking for financial assistance, but getting Boo home was proving to be more expensive than I had thought. With dwindling funds, we faced having to cancel our flight tickets and book new, pricier one way tickets and travel to Delhi by train in AC first class, for one thing. But this turned out to be the best thing I could have done! My family and friends were so incredibly generous. They saved us! When I think about it, I'm still overwhelmed by their amazing kindness.

We took Boo on a forty-hour train ride from Varkala to Delhi, and she was so brave through the entire trip! Once she got over her initial jitters, she was content to lie on the bed and cuddle with us as we read or slept or entertained ourselves on our tablets. 

Through Lisa I was able to connect with Dr Premlata Choudhary, an amazing veterinarian in Delhi. She agreed to take up Boo's paperwork and veterinary care. Hearing this was such a relief. When we finally made it to Delhi and met her, I bawled like a baby. It was just so relieving to be in her Delhi office after two weeks of stressful planning. Through a wonderful activist and Indy owner called Sara, I was also able to connect with Sukriti, who generously allowed Chris, Boo and I to stay in her Delhi apartment, free of charge! While staying with her we met Neha and her family, lovely people who insisted on feeding us every day and even took us to see some attractions in the city! Both Chris and I feel truly overwhelmed by the selfless kindness shown to us. I can honestly say that although we found Boo, these amazing people are the ones who truly saved her life!

Our two weeks in Delhi were spent planning, booking flights, and treating Boo for her frailness. She is very mischievous, and once pulled my purse off the kitchen table and ate a bag of banana chips! She vomited for an entire day, and we had to feed her anti-nausea syrup and vanilla ice cream to settle her tummy. 

With Boo and Choco in Delhi

Once all the arrangements were made, Dr Choudhary asked us if we would be willing to bring one more puppy home with us, and we happily agreed. His name is Choco, and he is a beautiful chocolate brown INDog-mix. He was found in the garbage by a little girl in Delhi when he was still very tiny. He was malnourished and almost completely hairless, and what hair was left was matted with filth. He had sores all over his body. The girl brought him to Dr Choudhary, and she treated him. He lived with a wonderful foster mama. She brought him to us when he was about four months old, and he is just an absolute delight! He has a very quirky personality and is very loving and playful. 

Choco and Boo were able to travel to Canada in the same crate. They flew from Delhi to Amsterdam on the same plane as us, and were cared for by the trained professionals at the KLM Animal Hotel during our layover. Then it was on to Calgary. When we saw them for the first time in the airport, they started to howl. People were looking over, wondering what the heck was going on! They made quite a scene.

And now they are here! Following a tentative tryout period, Boo and Choco have become best friends and love to run and play together outside. We think their time together as travelling roommates helped them bond. They are both loving and kind, and love to cuddle with us on the couch. Boo is an acrobat who climbs higher and farther than any dog her size should be able to! Choco is still a little bumbly and gallops around the house like a horse! They are both growing quickly and are happy and healthy. 

It is still surreal to me when I look at Boo and remember where she came from and how we found her. 

I believe that fate brought us to Boo. She came to us, and adopted us as her family. And now, through this amazing journey, we get to share our lives with these two beautiful souls. We love Boo and Choco with all our hearts, and are looking forward to many more years spent playing with them. 

Though getting them to Canada was a long and stressful process, I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

Story and photos: Caitlin Jackson

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kia and Punchie

Kia and Punchie are extremely lucky Indies. They have experienced only kindness and love from the moment they were born! In fact even before that!

Vidya tells us about these beautiful twins:



Kia and Punchie are my 'baby sisters' back home in Kerala. Though they are siblings and litter mates they are very different looking. 

These monsters live with my mom, dad and sister. They are a handful and spoiled brats as well. 

Kia is lazy. She doesn't allow anyone but immediate family to pet her on the head. Punchie on the other hand is a softie and is very sensitive but also very sly!

Their mother was Sundari, our neighbour's 'adopted' street dog. Sundari had followed our neighbour all the way from her old house to the latest one. The lady didn't completely adopt her, but she was kind enough to open up her terrace for Sundari who she knew was pregnant. She fed her well and took good care of her. 

Sundari delivered her nine puppies, and apparently the lady sat through the entire delivery! Kia was the first-born and Punchie the third. 

Once they were two months old the lady did her best to get them adopted. 

It was about a year since we had lost Cookie and Cleo. Initially dad wanted to adopt just one puppy. But I told him the puppy would be really lonely and that would create more problems than having two. 

Kia had been branded 'the puppy that not too many people would want to adopt', as she had typical markings and was just an 'ordinary' mutt. Who knew. We insisted that we wanted only her, and then came Punchie as the addition.

In this picture above, Punchie has been anointed with coconut oil and camphor before her bath. She is such a nice girl, she hops into the sink outside the house and waits patiently till Kia is called downstairs for the oil-camphor rub and they are both bathed.

Post-bath splendour!
'Can we take these off now?'

Samik calls Punchie 'supergirl' because of the Superman kind of mark across her chest. I call Kia 'Blondie'. Together they are a force to reckon with. They are partners in crime and are forgiven everything by mom and dad. We the human sisters feel a bit jealous because we don't remember being let off so easily when we were growing up!

Our neighbour has since left, and so has Sundari - nobody knows where she is. My sister spotted her a couple of times. Sundari had walked up to our gate and Kia and Punchie had sniffed her in a suspicious manner, not knowing that she was their mother. My sister would feed her. Over time her visits waned until they stopped altogether. But we can never forget her. Nor can we stop thanking her for blessing us with the two most beautiful, loving, uncomplicated and cutest babies ever.

Story and photos: 
Vidya Samik

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dogs of Tioman Island, Malaysia

These handsome dogs could easily be mistaken for INDogs, and I think one of them looks quite like a dingo. They were clicked by Barry Drew on the eastern side of Tioman Island, Malaysia.

It would be very interesting to know what dogs in the neighbouring parts of Malaysia look like. 

Barry's description:

'Tioman's locals are predominantly Muslim Malay and due to tradition do not keep dogs; there are are a couple of pets owned by foreign business owners on the more "developed" western side of the island, something in stark contrast for those who are traveling from neighbouring Thailand.

So I was thrilled to see this pack of dogs coming down to the beach to drink from the river. Very beautiful, natural looking and I think larger than the famed Telomian. I asked a local how their existence was possible given the local attitude to dogs. He told me they were owned by a local man and used for hunting purposes.'

'They were in fantastic condition. There were also two pups accompanying them. 

Tioman is a small island with human habitation restricted to the coastline. The rest of the island is dense rainforest on rocky hilly terrain. A hunting dog there would have to be well adapted.

This is a Juara dog that was clearly a pet, he let me get quite close while the other dogs pictured were on high alert. Very powerful looking dog with musculature that would put my Akita to shame.'

Note from Rajashree: The rainforest region of Tioman Island is a protected area, the Pulau Tioman Wildlife Reserve. However some of the protected mammals are probably being illegally hunted, using dogs. Aboriginal communities in India also sometimes continue to hunt illegally, often using INDogs, in areas where law enforcement is weak.

Photos and text: Barry Drew
Juara, East Tioman Island

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Another lovely and lucky little girl who got the perfect home she deserved! 

Kuttu is about four years old and lives with Prasanna and his family.

Prasanna tells us how she entered their lives:

She came in cowering with downcast eyes on the night of Buddha-Poornima. 

She was hiding from the other street dogs in the neighbourhood behind pots outside our house. There was a case of mange developing on her left foot which I mistook at the time for a dog bite. 

She had a blue collar so I presumed she was either abandoned or lost. I took her in for the night in the hope that someone would come looking.

I have always been partial to street dogs and never understood why people picked foreign pedigreed dogs over them. It felt like a renewed chance to help that cause. So we kept her!

She remained very docile with us. Only ate when she was offered food. Did not over-eat. Remained alert. 

But she never barked. 

This left us wondering since it had been 20 or 25 days and we hadn't heard her bark. At one point we assumed she was perhaps mute. 

There was something inherently human about this. She realized that she needed to be accepted before she could say anything. It melted our hearts when we first heard her bark.

I had her vaccinated and checked for the mange. The vet mentioned she was perfectly healthy. He felt she was a mix of Spitz and INDog. He said it would be best to adopt her.

This put us in a spot. My dad is a cancer survivor and my mother suffers from a degenerative neurological disorder. So it was a difficult decision to adopt a dog that needed care and attention, which my parents didn't feel fully prepared for. 

But it wasn't in my heart to give her away to the municipality. My sister and I tried to locate the owners through various means. 

Meanwhile Kuttu (the only name she responded to) developed quite a friendly relationship with us all. She was like a lovable and cheerful child in the house. A great companion to my parents who have never felt down when she is around and lively. She is playful, docile and very obedient. 

She had won us over and there was no second thought after that. She lives with us and we are happy to have her among us.

Story and photos: Prasanna Santhanam

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