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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Eliot Goyel

The K Gang and I just learned about this adorable Indy living in our neighbourhoood! We're very excited! 

His human Vitek sent in his story and these cute photos:

Eliot was born on the roadside in Bangalore, outside a friend's building. His litter had been run over by a truck and many of his siblings were killed. My friend put up a post on Facebook looking for people to adopt them. This was in 2008, and I was living in a city away from family and friends. At the time I was not looking for a dog. I knew what a big responsibility it was. But I was in a transient phase of my life, and I went over to see the pups, if anything, just to play with them.

They were all friendly and loving, and I decided I would adopt one. Choosing a pup is difficult, but one of them kept coming up and jumping on me. The choice was easy. A few minutes later, he was in a cardboard box in my car off to start his new life. The first few nights he whimpered and shivered - it was equally scary for both of us. But as the days went on, he became braver and braver, venturing out of his box and playing...and pooping...lots of pooping!

I named him Eliot after T. S. Eliot, one of my favourite poets. Later it dawned on me that T. S. Eliot had also written what would be the basis for the musical play 'Cats'. The name fit like a glove.

Eliot and I moved back to Bombay in 2009, and he has since lived with me in Cuffe Parade. Much like me, he is a unique character! He is his own master, he plays when he wants and lazes when he wants. He can also be a grouch and a brat. But that's why I love him.

He will turn 9 this year, but he didn't get the memo - he acts just like he did when he was a pup. He is as mischievous as ever. It's easy to tell when he has done something wrong as his look will turn sheepish.

I've had dogs before in my family, mostly breed dogs. But Eliot is the most unique dog we've ever had. His expressions are priceless, and his ears, his ears are the funniest I have seen. They point in different directions and you can tell his mood by the way his ears are. When he is playful they will stand up like antennas. When he's sleepy they fold back, and when he is curious they dart around in multiple directions.

He has a taste for the finer things in life. He loves liver pate. After he tried it the first time he howled and howled until I would give him more! He loves to share my food, which is good because it cuts down on my own intake!

He's the best friend I could ask for, and I hope that I have been able to make him as happy as he has made me. He has also changed my outlook on street dogs. I've always loved them but after having Eliot, I love them more. My wife and I feed the dogs outside our building every night, and I always see a little bit of Eliot in all of them.

Story and photos: Vitek Goyel

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Goodbye sweet Katie

In February 2008, two gorgeous Indies appeared on the Martha Stewart Dog Show in NYC. They were Yvonne de Kock's Leela and Caroline Walker's India. Yvonne talked about Indian Pariah Dogs and how unique they are.

Another woman named Yvonne, in another part of the US, watched the episode with great interest, because she had adopted a dog from India too - a beauty named Katie, who happened to look quite a lot like Leela!

She 'googled' Indian Pariah Dogs and found our project. And that's how Katie first appeared in this blog, back in 2008.

You can see her adorable puppy photos and read about her in these posts:

Katie revisited
Katie turns 15

And today she makes her last, and posthumous, appearance in this blog. Katie passed peacefully in March, just short of her 16th birthday. 

Her health had degenerated and she was put to sleep to prevent more suffering. 'She had lost mobility in her back legs, and could no longer get up and down stairs or out to the yard,' writes Yvonne. 'She was losing her vision as well and had developed a sizeable growth on her thigh. The decline was quick....She passed away gently with her head cradled in my arms.'

Here is her last photo:

Goodbye, beautiful sweet Katie 💜  You made your family very happy. It's been an honour to feature you here!

Photo: Yvonne Koch
Minnesota, USA

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tara comes home

Manik Godbole's wonderful happy Indy family regularly appeared in this blog since I first started writing it in 2007. Tommy, Blacky and Chinky were friends of mine and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to show them off here. (At the end of this post there is a list of links to their stories).

Here is Manik's story about INDog-mix Tara, her old friend who has recently become her family member!

'The first dog is the dog that gives so much that the first dog is often the reason for the second dog!!'

So truly quoted...

Tommy came into my life and brought along so many more canine friends to grace my life with pure love and bliss.

Blacky followed Tommy and then came Madame Chinky... Blacky passed away very young due to hemangiosarcoma, when he was barely five and a half years old. Tommy passed in May 2015, and Chinky decided to follow him...she passed away on 2 October 2016. She was barely ten years old.

In January 2008, a small brown frail female dog was first spotted by me opposite my building in Santacruz. I approached the dog, she was friendly. I offered her food which she gobbled greedily. So I decided to encourage her to settle in my lane. Looking at her size I first thought she was a four or five month old puppy. After 15 to 20 days when she was in better health, and settled, I checked her teeth...and found she had all the permanent teeth. So sh was a near-adult dog! Perhaps seven months old or more. Guesswork on my part. But the next task was getting her spayed. I immediately dewormed her, got her vaccinated, and some months later had her spayed by a local animal welfare NGO.

I named her Tara - 'star'!

Tara grew into a confident dog. Power in a small-sized package. She was naughty at times and loved to tease other dogs. Her worst activity was chasing motorbikes and incessant barking at night. She was notorious for these and had even been threatened by people. But she didn't mend her ways.

Chinky and Tara never got on well.

Tara always wandered in my lane and slept under the bench opposite my building in the daytime. At night she used to sleep in an auto-rickshaw. This was her regime for many years. But around 2012, she started venturing into my housing society premises and took shelter on the stairway leading to the terrace; and sometimes on the terrace. During diwali she used to scratch on my door seeking help. We would shelter her in the bathroom or bedroom, since Chinky and Tara were enemies!!

In May 2015, Tommy passed away. And in June that year we had to shift to faraway Thane, as our housing society went into redevelopment.

I tried very hard to get Tara adopted. I had tried this even when she first entered my area, but with no luck.

Taking into consideration my parents' reluctance to adopt her, and Tara and Chinky's strong dislike of each other, I had no option but to leave Tara to fend for herself. I requested my friend Thomas to feed her every night, and intermittently when my father visited the area, I would send food for her and for my other dog friend there, Tiger.

Tara stayed on in the demolished building premises...during the rains...through the dreaded diwali...through winter.

My heart always cried for her, but I was helpless.

Then my Chinky was diagnosed with renal failure and for five months thereafter, I devoted all my time and energy into comforting her and nursing her through the ailment. I didn't get a chance to visit my old area of Santacruz.

After Chinky passed away, I called the local NGO to vaccinate all the street dogs of that area against rabies. Finally I met Tara again.

She had grown very thin but was very active, and seemed to have been accepted by the security staff and workers in the plot.

But towards end-November when my father visited Santacruz, he was told by the security staff at the site that Tara had not eaten any food for the last four days, and had just been lying in a corner. Even when my father offered her her favourite 'paneer' (cottage cheese), she ate slowly and reluctantly.

When my father broke this news to me, I was very sad and upset.

Once again I asked my parents for their opinion, but they didn't agree to bringing her to our new flat in Thane.

So I requested my friend Chinmayi to go and check Tara for fever. I suspected jaundice or tick fever.

Chinmayi went...Tara's temperature was normal. And she gobbled some packaged dog food. So we decided to take her to the vet.

I had a sleepless night. I booked an auto-rickshaw and went to Santacruz. Gave food to Tiger and took Tara to the vet clinic. She was checked by the vets there, and her blood tested. Fortunately her report was normal. The vets opined that the dog was probably under chronic stress, and was also malnourished.

I was lost in thought. What should I do?

I carried her into an auto-rickshaw and told the driver to take us both to Thane.

It was a very difficult decision. I was just about coping with the loss of my pets, and now another dog to nurse!

But I felt Tara should be given a chance. She had remained loyal to my building premises even after I had left.

That had beenTara's first visit to a vet, and also her first ride in an auto-rickshaw. She tried to snap at me every time I picked her up. On the vet's table; in the auto-rickshaw. But I understood she was unwell and just trying to protect herself. I appreciated her trust in me.

Finally I brought her home...23 November, 2016. Chinky's birthday!!

For the first three days Tara just lay on the blanket I had placed her on. She ate chicken and rice very slowly and seemed very very weak.

Gradually, after a week, she shifted herself from the blanket up to Chinky's bed. She started walks in the building premises.

A week after adoption - so happy and relieved!

It is now three months since I adopted her. And it's as if she has been our pet for the last eight years! She has made friends with the building dogs, Kalu, Spotty and Boss; all except Lalee the female dog. This legacy of female-female canine dislike she has decided to retain.

Wearing our old INDog Club tag!

With her friend, Spotty

A visit from the K Gang, with a dog-gate in between (Kiba and Kimaya are NOT the most polite guests!)

She has put on weight, and has a kiddy fan club following her!

I wish, hope and pray for many more years of happiness and peace and companionship for Tara and me!

Thank you Tommy for starting it all. Love you all, always!!

Story and photos: Manik Godbole

Above, left to right: Blacky, Chinky, Tommy! Read about them in these posts -

Tommy and Blacky
The Tommy Diaries
Life with Blacky
Training your INDog
Chinky's story
Tommy and gang
Tommy's pack
Tommy, Blacky and Chinky
For Blacky
Tommy's 8th birthday
Tommy, Chinky and Buddy
Doggies' day out!
Tommy, Chinky and Steffi
A summer day with Tommy and Chinky

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Dingo, the baby INDog

Gaurab Jyoti Kalita sent in these photos and the story of his beautiful little INDog puppy!

'I want to write about our most adorable and youngest family member. 

Dingo is an Indian Pariah Dog who came into our lives last Christmas. I rescued him from a narrow irrigation canal near Manas National Park, Assam. After rescuing him, I waited almost three hours for his mother or other members of his family. After that, when there was no sign of any mother dog, I brought him to my home. He was only about one month old.

He was the best Christmas gift I ever had!

But the problems started soon after. He simply refused to take any food for the first one and a half days. Then I gave him his first bath with lukewarm water and carried him to my bedroom, and that night he started eating. First he took a little bit of boiled rice with milk, and after a few days he started eating dog food, biscuits, yogurt, orange and pumpkin. Pumpkin is still his favourite food.

15 January was another memorable day. It was the day of his first visit to the vet clinic for his first shot. While the doctor was preparing the syringe, Dingo ran away from the clinic and hid in a corner of a nearby pet store cage. It took me almost two hours of searching to find him. The next day the vet came to our home to give him the shot!

After that every ten or twelve days he would somehow injure himself (minor injuries), and the vet had to visit our place frequently. He is now like our family veterinary doctor!

When I first started his training sessions he was very happy and wanted to keep playing with me, but due to my busy schedule I wasn't able to give him as much time as I would have liked. Still, I did somehow manage a few hours for him. During training I noticed that he learned really quickly compared to 'pedigreed' breeds, but sometimes he was moody and refused to learn anything. During those times, it was impossible to coax him to do anything. For instance, if he doesn't want to walk he won't move an inch from his place; if we want to move him we just lift him, otherwise he may just sit or stand there for more than one hour!

Or, if anyone from our family ignores him, he also ignores us right back for a whole day, and won't even eat his food.

These are a few incidents, but his temperament as a pup is very good compared to my brother's labrador pup. 

I feel so happy with Dingo, and am always questioning my brother: is it necessary to bring home a Eurobreed dog? In my opinion both INDogs and Eurobreeds have the same qualities of love, intelligence and loyalty. And if someone wants to raise a pup, she/he should bring home an INDog or street dog, as it is not only a better option for the dog but also good for society, by getting one dog at least off the street, and saving it from rabies and other diseases.'

Story and photos: Gaurab Jyoti Kalita

Pathsala, Assam

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Our lost world

How we dogs lost Nagaon Beach

'We still go to the beach. But it isn't really there any more.

OUR beach. It used to be ours. Vast, empty, stretching away as far as we could see.

We remember everything.

Our leashes would be taken off, and we would race away, out of the Human World, into Dog World!

There was Brownie; and Spotted Girl; and White Dog; and Friend and his brothers; Sasha and his two sisters; and Buffalo Dog; Raja the doberman; and the terrible Brindlebrown; and other dogs with no names!

Friends, enemies, acquaintances. All dogs! 

There were hardly any people there, back then. Just one of our humans, sometimes both our humans, sometimes a couple more here and there. Sometimes a knot of people far far away, who didn't bother us, and we didn't bother them.

Everyone was happy.

We would just be dogs, in Dog World; where humans stand by and watch. 

And there we'd stay and sniff and explore and bark and challenge and growl and run and discover and play; until it grew dark. 

Then we'd remember our humans because it was getting on for dinner time; and it was time to slip back into their world again, and go home with them to sofas and cushions and beds.

We still go to the beach; but OUR beach isn't there any more. 

Dog World is gone.

Our leashes are never taken off now. We pull and strain and try to run, but our human doesn't let us go.

She says she's sorry, but it's because lots of stupid humans come from outside, driving their cars along the shore; and we could get killed.

Brownie's brother got killed because a human drove a car onto him, while he was playing and splashing in the sea.

Sometimes we see dead dogs rotting among the bushes nearby. Perhaps they got killed the same way.

Our human says the beach is like a street now. 

Sometimes, on a weekday morning, it still looks empty and safe. But the human says you never know when a car might appear.

Then there is all the food that those outsider people leave all over the place, among piles of scattered plates and bottles and plastic bags. We want to rush there and eat it, but the human says it makes us sick. 

And then, Brownie and his family have all moved away to another village, with their human. They have another beach to run on now. It's quite far away from here.

So it's just the two of us.

We race and play and dig and bark and zoom around in our own garden, safe within four walls. 

But we'll never run free on the vast sands again, with our friends, enemies and acquaintances.

Everything is different now.'

Kiba and Kimaya  
Nagaon Beach

Photos: Rajashree Khalap, B. Jadhav & Javed Ahmed

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