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.

Monday, June 5, 2017


Khushi is a dainty little INDog-mix who was born in Delhi and adopted in the USA. Her name means 'happiness' in Hindi!

Something about her reminds me of Kimaya - the same prettiness and grace. 

Her human Debra Strain Matvich sent in her photos!

Typical pariah dog behaviour - climbing on to high places

Debra writes:

Khushi is a year old mixed INDog. I am currently awaiting her DNA results as I am curious as to what breeds she is made up of. 

She was found on the side of the road at 3 months in New Delhi, emaciated and with a horrible maggot wound on her front right leg. Still has deep scars today. 

After rescue in Delhi

She was treated and given clearance to come to the USA by Dr Sharma's Pet Clinic in New Delhi. 

I got Khushi through a rescue group that occasionally receives desi dogs from India.

Khushi is INCREDIBLY smart, loyal and very energetic. She's a lovely dog and I couldn't be happier to have her as a part of my family! 

Text and photos: Debra Strain Matvich

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer and beach with the K Gang

Something nice to report, for those who read our last melancholy post, 'Our lost world' in January!

Back in Nagaon earlier this month, we actually did have one morning with no cars nearby.  So we decided to let the dogs run off leash for a bit. 

The only difference from before is that we had to muzzle Kimaya for her own safety. The trash is still there, and we can't stop her scavenging if she is free. So I bought a muzzle for her before the trip. She didn't like it at first, but she had fun playing with Kiba anyway!

And, we went to visit our darling Brownie at his home about 10 kilometres from our place. He was so excited he howled and howled for a few minutes! Kimaya was nervous at first because Brownie's Gang were all there - Rowdy Sasha and the others - but they were kept in the house and she soon relaxed. 

Now the photos! Hope you like them!


With Brownie!
At Brownie's place

Nagaon, Alibaug
Raigad District

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

King Tommy at Crufts!

Monique describes King Tommy's big day at Crufts following his win at Scruffts in November last year! You can read Tommy's story through the links in the Scruffts post.

It's been a long journey, from the qualifiers to the semi-finals and finally D-Day has arrived: The Scruffts finals at Crufts. 

After eight months, when the first qualifiers took place, little did we know that our King would be the first Indie dog to ever represent India at Crufts!

Countless dresses and collars had been tried on, tested and returned; finally I chose red and gold for Tommy and pink and purple for me.

We also went on a diet and I enrolled Tommy at swimming school to get his muscles really toned.

We have come far, Tommy and me, and this day was the day to show the world that the sky is the limit for a free-ranging dog from Anjuna!

Perfectly groomed and with our entourage in tow, we entered in style followed by a TV crew.

Finally we met our competition: The other five finalists that we were going to battle it out with.

I was sure it was going to be between Tommy and Fleur, the best rescue winner, a beautiful rescue from Romania. Scruffts loves a good story and being an inspiration for the 'underdogs'.

We all met and got to know each other as we prepared to enter the arena for a test run in front of the audience. King Tommy with his usual cool loved going into the limelight and all the crowds cheering us on.

After that we got whisked away to the media stand of the sponsors, the dog food company James Wellbeloved. In front of cameras and journalists we answered questions and Tommy posed like a King. The media loved hearing about his stories and how he posed for the cameras.

Wherever we went we had staff from the Kennel Club following us and showing us the way - we really felt like the superstars of Crufts! Private suite for lunch and special areas for resting - not that quiet, mind you, but as the day went along we realized that it wasn't just about the finals, it was as much the experience of being there and having all those fans meet our dogs and smile for the cameras. It was all quite overwhelming and a huge deal. But the clock kept ticking and eventually we got to that moment when we got escorted to the green room for the finals. We had been there the whole day and Tommy was starting to get tired. At 6 p.m. in the evening we had been in the Crufts madness for seven hours and I was quite tired too. Another finalist was fast asleep in the green room!

Oh well, let's do our best. Lights on, presenter and an arena packed with 6000 people, live stream out to the world, and the camera crew from the documentary all there.

When our name got called it was amazing, I couldn't help but smile when Tommy entered the arena with his usual strut and proud posture. Wow! And then the judges came on and the tough part began. This year they had chosen a sports figure, some famous rower, and a Kennel Club judge.

I told them as quickly as I could Tommy's story and all of his achievements, hoping that we would nail it. It was really nerve-wracking for me, and for Tommy, as usual, nothing seemed to faze him.

Once the judges had spoken to everyone I made Tommy do his 'show pose' for that last chance to impress, but they were very quick to decide and when the name of the winner was called out, a young boy with his dog, I really tried to hide my disappointment! Not our day today, but as we did our walk around the arena, I thought, 'OK, you wanna see a winner, here he is!' and Tommy did a fun strut just to show off!

It's easy to forget, that just because you don't win the finals, that you haven't won to get there.

To me the finals are just the icing on the cake. To go from 1600 dogs and be one of the final 6, and on top of that be 'Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog of the UK' is quite an achievement.

Throughout this journey everyone has loved Tommy and along the way we have taught people about Indian dogs and what special beings they are.


...'Because it is in this moment of a definitive farewell that we know
what someone means to us.
The act of wishing someone a good life even if it means us not
being a part of it is the purest act of love. To know what is best
for someone...'

'King Tommy' is an adventure novel based on the true story of King Tommy, the first Indian dog to become a Therapy Dog in the USA.

It is also a story of hope and change and seeing change through.

Emotions run high in this whirlwind story where three characters will have their lives changed for the better by helping Tommy, a small Indian dog who is born in Goa.

Garati, a young Indian bride takes care of this small puppy and his mother during the first monsoon rains. Abused by her husband she dreams of a better life and to do something with herself. Lauren, on a journey across the world to escape the pain and guilt of not being able to save her family, lands in Goa with the intention of turning her life around. Jerome, a self-obsessed yoga teacher with outrageous doctrines, dreams of America and fame.

How will they make sure this little dog ends up where he needs to be?

For each book sold a donation will be made to the King Tommy Foundation, which sponsors small NGOs and private individuals who help free-ranging dogs in rural areas.

For Indian readers I have made a special price, INR 690, postage included from the UK.
Order your copy on www.kingtommy.org and choose the 'India Special Offer' payment option.

Story: Monique G Nerman
Photos: Tony Vickers, Deb Bridges

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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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