About Me

My photo
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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Spark Plug

This is Spark Plug (commonly known as Sparky), the newest member of the Indian Pariah Dog Club. He was adopted in Mumbai but recently shifted to Hyderabad with his owner Aarti Phatarphekar. Sparky is nearly 3 years old.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Are these traits common to all pariahs/INDogs?

Surprisingly, both my pet pariahs easily make friends with any kind of stray dog, but the moment Tommy sees a purebreed or pedigreed dog, that too on a leash with an owner, he becomes aggressive, and Blacky submissive! Do you find this in all pariah dogs?

My second question is, are pariah dogs fussy about eating vegetables? I have to mix vegetable puree in Tommy's chicken meal, and Blacky likes it mixed with 'Rex' supplement. I tried vegetables for Chinky but she has no interest in any kind of veggies. I have heard stories about labradors and other purebreed dogs eating cucumbers, carrots, cabbage et cetera. (As for Blacky, he eats all kinds of icecreams, litchi, butterscotch, mango, strawberry, tender coconut, any icecream you give him, but Tommy loves only and only vanilla!!)

Tommy has an independent nature. Although he came in contact with me at a very early age, he will do things only if he likes or wants to do them. He even refuses chicken treats at times. But surprisingly Blacky is a mama's boy and will do all that I ask him to, even biscuits as treats will do. In fact he loves Parle G biscuits so much that he leaves chicken for biscuits. We tease him saying he was born in a Parle biscuit factory compound!!

So my query is, what have other pariah dog owners experienced? Do their dogs make friends with stray dogs easily? Do they eat vegetables with reluctance? Do let me know, I’m asking just out of curiosity.

Manik Godbole

Rajashree's note: Please post your comments here, or if you prefer mail them to me at rajashree.khalap@gmail.com and I will put them up as a separate post.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Tommy Diaries

One day at a traffic signal…

When Tommy was nine months old, he was badly bitten
in the rear by another dog and had to be neutered immediately. The vet warned us that Tommy shouldn’t lick the wound as it might become septic, so we put a muzzle on him. But he could lick even with the muzzle on, so we put a cotton net inside the muzzle so that his tongue couldn’t come out of it.

After all that exercise we finally got into a taxi, with my mother next to the driver and Tommy and myself in the back. Like all dogs Tommy loves breeze on his face, so I kept the window pane rolled halfway down. At the Bandra signal – the one where you have to decide if you want to go to Bandra East or West – a small red car with a lady driver came close to our cab. The lady was looking at us and gesticulating frantically. We could understand her queries: What’s happened to the dog? Why is he muzzled?

Our cab driver too noticed that the red car was coming closer. Within seconds the window glass was lowered, and believe it or not, it was the actress Rekha. She asked why the dog was muzzled, and if he could breathe through all the complicated things tied around his mouth! When I told her about Tommy’s accident, she said “So sad!” She said Tommy was very cute and asked me to take good care of him!

Then her car took the left turn for Bandra West, and we went straight. My mother was looking at me, as if to confirm that she was really Rekha? The cab driver was smiling!!

So that’s how it happened that I got to talk with the great actress…all thanks to poor Tommy’s mishap.

Who’s that strange dog?

We were first-time dog owners, so Tommy’s operation and recovery period was a very testing time for us. Since it was a repair operation it needed more stitches than normal neutering, and the vet repeatedly warned us that Tommy should not lick the wound. So I bought an ‘Elizabethan collar’ for him: it’s a plastic cone-like thing worn around the dog’s neck, so that the dog cannot lick any part of his body. It’s also used for dogs with ear injuries to stop them from scratching themselves.

Tommy’s operation ordeal was not over with this. I had to take him for his walks with the collar attached. All the dogs would start barking at the sight of such a strange dog.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, during one of our walks two school kids passed by. One of them spotted Tommy and screamed, “LOOK, A DOG WITH A LOUDSPEAKER!!”

The raincoat

I had just bought Tommy a raincoat. After a lot of effort I managed to make him wear it. It had four strings which were to be tied to the four legs, and a scarf-like thing to cover the head, with a string which was tied under the lower jaw. He reluctantly came with me downstairs for his evening walk. The first reaction of all his stray friends was to start barking, trying to guess what kind of dog he was. Once they had come near and sniffed and confirmed that it was Tommy, of course they stopped.

More fun followed. Tommy daily marks at every tree, but today he would just go near and stand, then look at me. Initially I could not understand what was happening. After a few minutes I realised that because of all the strings tied to his legs, Tommy had become doubtful as to whether he could possibly lift his leg to relieve himself! After a lot of encouragement he first did it in puppy-like position, then slowly started lifting his leg!!

Summer fun

When Tommy was a puppy he used to go to the terrace and run, even in the height of summer. Then he’d become exhausted and
drink lots of water. There was no way to stop him from running. I had read somewhere that we should give dogs ice cubes to lick, to pacify their thirst and at the same time prevent them from drinking too much water. So one day after he had raced a lot I put four or five ice cubes in front of him.

First he was curious, as he was seeing ice for the first time. Then he
licked the cubes, then started playing with them. He liked making the cubes slide in all directions on the floor.

After a few minutes I heard him barking excitedly. I went to see what had happened. Guess what? He was barking angrily at the fast-melting cubes! Obviously he did not like his new toys just disappearing one after another!

Such hilarious moments with my dogs…

A horror story!

From the start Tommy had the habit of trying to pick up smelly things on our walks. On one such occasion, he spotted the dead, rotten corpse of a rat lying near the gutter. Before I could do anything he had grasped it! Imagine Tommy with that stinking rotten corpse of a rat in his mouth, tightly clenched!! I started scolding him, commanding him to drop it. He was in no mood to give away his delicious smelling find.

People gathered around to find out why I was screaming. It was the first time in my life I had touched the corpse of a rat. I had no
option, I snatched away the rat by opening Tommy’s jaw with full force. Finally he let go the corpse.

Speedily I rushed home and washed my hands thoroughly with Dettol, and also washed Tommy’s mouth, now stinking, with Dettol mixture. I don’t know if anybody else has had such a disgusting experience.

Manik Godbole

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


He is winter-born and my oldest memory of him dates back to the day when I picked him up and got him home. I was studying in Sri Ventateswara College (Venky), DU. Someone by the name of Kavita walked up to me and my friends with a pup in her hand. She said that all the siblings of the pup had died and this one was the only survivor. She wanted someone to take him home. When I took him in my arms it was no "OH MY GOD" experience but honestly I had no idea what I was going to do. I asked my brother, who used to study in the same college. We both decided that we should take him home as his paws where bruised badly. As for Mom, "Manaa lenge" ("We'll persuade her").

He sat in my car really scared. My brother called my mom and said "Mom, didi has a surprise."

To which Mom replied, "What has she done now... has she gone bald?"

I still remember standing with him on the door step not knowing what was going through my mother's head. She looked at the pup and gently called out to him. And then I asked her "Can we keep him?"

To my surprise she immediately said "YES!!!!!!!"

That was that. Like they say, life changed at that moment.

My Mom used to call me: "Soker climbed his first stair," he did this and he did that.

Now he is a pampered little thing... has to sleep with us and can't stay a moment without us. He is the baby of the house. At four years, he is mentally still a little pup. He jumps for joy each time someone calls out to him. Many of my brother's friends and my friends who didn't have a liking for dogs or were scared of dogs, went through a sea change after spending time with him. They all enter our house now and the first thing they do if they don't see Soker around is call out to him!

Soker is a fussy eater, and I have somehow come to believe that the kid thinks love and air are enough to survive.

Thats the story....

Oh yes, and all my efforts for the pariah breed are because of him. He is the one who taught me all my compassion towards this breed. He is the reason why I started paying sooo much attention to the lovely dogs around... And that's why this adoption craze of mine... So all I'm doing is because he inspires me to do it. He helps me see the beauty and life in them.

Malleka Gupta

Malleka works very hard for the cause of pariah dog adoption. She has recently found good homes for Xena's six siblings. Do help her by spreading the word about Xena and the tiny pups. Her blog:


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Take home an Indian Pariah pup

These photos were sent in by Malleka Gupta of Delhi. She is looking after all these pups at present. If you are interested in adopting any of them, please mail her on guptamalleka@gmail.com
All the pups are very healthy.

This litter is not yet a month old.

This is three month old
Xena. No need to write that she's extremely cute, alert and intelligent - anyone can see that from the photos!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In praise of Pixie

True beauty and talent cannot be defined by words - which makes it very difficult for me to describe Pixie, the newest member of the Indian Pariah Dog Club. "Adorable," "friendly," "compassionate," "loving," "cute" are all understatements when it comes to describing this fun-loving Pariah, who behaves like nothing less than a princess. Initially when we adopted her she took quite some time to adjust, or rather to come out from under the bed. But when she did (which took almost three long months) it was a joyous sight to watch her pixie-like ears point sky high, and her look of excitement every time the doorbell rang. Pixie is always cheerful and has a charismatic personality. Her regal features are what leave all onlookers gazing as she passes by with her poised and sophisticated walk. I am now running out of words to describe a one-in-a-million dog who can touch your heart just by one innocent look.

Ajay Iyer

Rajashree's footnote: Pixie was adopted by the Iyer family at a WSD Adoption Mela in 2004. So I am extremely proud and happy to welcome her to the Club!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veerappan's pet

Incredible as it seems, we all have one thing in common with the notorious smuggler and poacher Veerappan: he appears to have recognized the value of the Indian Pariah Dog. He and his gang owned three dogs, who according to news reports were used to sniff out sandalwood trees. Of course I don’t know any details about the case, but since one doesn’t really need dogs to detect this strongly scented wood, it is possible that they were also used as watchdogs and perhaps for hunting.

Not surprisingly, having such owners led to tragic consequences for the dogs. Only one, Ittappa, eventually survived to live a happy-ever-after life, thanks to CUPA - the Bangalore-based organization which rescued him.

I am posting a tribute to Ittappa, written for us by Sanober Bharucha, Hon. Secretary, CUPA. On behalf of the Indian Pariah Dog Club, I’d like to thank Ms Bharucha for the tribute and for these photos of Ittappa before and after his rescue and recovery.

A tribute to Ittappa

Ittappa, along with two other dogs, belonged to a gang of sandalwood smugglers in Kerala, South India. In August 1998, his masters were caught by the police and taken into custody. Ittappa and his two friends were taken as 'articles' for the case against the smugglers. The dogs were forgotten in a dark, dank, damp corner of the Government Veterinary Hospital at Kasargod, Kerala for three long years. His companions succumbed to the misery but Ittappa struggled on and survived.

As fate would have it, journalists Mr. Janardhan and Mr. N. Chambithimar of a local paper,
"Karmaveera,” reported Ittappa's plight. CUPA - Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, an animal welfare organization in Bangalore, sent animal welfare officer Mr. Sanjay P. and Mr. Murthy to Kasargod. After much red tape and bureaucratic procedures, the dog was given into the custody of CUPA .

With care and love at CUPA, Ittappa changed from a skin-diseased, malnourished dog into a handsome, smart character endowed with a wonderful personality. One of the permanent residents at the CUPA Centre, he was dearly loved by all. Eight years later, on 10th November 2006, he suffered from a respiratory collapse and died. He is deeply mourned and missed. In spite of being a victim of human callousness and cruelty, he was the living symbol of a rare endurance, great courage and a shining, loving presence.

His story has been carried by the national and international media.

Sanober Z. Bharucha

Hon. Secretary, CUPA

website: http://www.cupabangalore.org/

Friday, November 2, 2007


We found Smush in a gutter in Amaravati. He was a fat little puppy playing with his siblings. Hopefully his mother didn’t miss him too much because there were others there.

Smush grew up with all the love and affection we could shower on him and became a handsome dog with the noblest face in the world.

We were transferred to Goa and there we adopted Billu, a stray kitten who we found on the roadside. It was amazing how Smush adopted him and literally brought him up. They devised a game of ‘Catch’ in which poor Smush would always be ‘It’ and had to catch Billu. Billu with all the wisdom of a cat laid down the rules: Smush was allowed to chase him but had to stop if Billu got to the guava tree and put his front paws on them. I often saw Smush sitting patiently while Billu sat with his paws on the tree.

And then our first child was born. Kunal was adopted, by Smush, with as much affection as he lavished on Billu. All those tales of pet dogs and cats getting jealous of human babies are a lot of nonsense. We made sure that both Billu and Smush were never made to feel neglected. As Kunal grew up, he learnt to love the big dog who was a good two heads taller than him. Every time the baby was taken out for a walk, Smush went along and circled the walker protectively. No human or animal, unless very well known, could get close.

When he was one and a half years old, Billu was killed by another tomcat who was protecting his territory. We were heartbroken and I am sure Smush was too, though he seemed so much braver than us. People say that animals are not evolved enough to mourn a loss. I say, animals are more evolved than us and that is why they know how to let go. Isn’t that what all our religions tell us? To let go?

Our next transfer was to Mumbai. After the freedom of Goa, Mumbai was sheer claustrophobia. We had to keep Smush inside the house and he hated it. We took a decision to send him to Kerala where my parents lived. They have a sprawling house with a large compound. He must have missed us but fortunately he bonded with my father and followed him around faithfully. He guarded the house zealously and my parents always say that they never had to worry while Smush was there.

Smush left us at the honourable age of 16. I wish I had been there to see him off, but I guess I will have to wait till I can join him wherever he is.

Reena Puri

Sally and Bimbo

Shirley Amanna sent in this picture of her lovely pariah dogs Sally and Bimbo. Sally will turn 7 in January next year and Bimbo will be 4 in February. Sally has been a member of the Club for a while and Bimbo is soon going to join us as well.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Golden Fleece

Believe it or not, these pictures are all of the same dog: my own Bandra.

In August 2005 Bandra was admitted to the WSD kennel after his left foreleg was cut off in a train accident. At the time he had short fur, though much thicker and scruffier than a typical smooth pariah dog coat. He developed cancerous growths in the neck some months later, but I adopted him all the same (in March 2006). He was still a short-hair.

From May to November 2006 he was very seriously ill, and in fact lost all his fur with scratching. But in December, as he recovered, his coat started growing and growing and growing … until it looked like this.

My husband calls Bandra “Golden Fleece.” I’m not too thrilled by the fact that he obviously has more “western pure-breed” blood than I had supposed, but I won't deny that he’s very very pretty. Many people don’t believe he’s the same dog – the only resemblance to his former self is that he is three-legged and still has a rather puppyish goofy expression.

I’m told that under stress dogs don’t grow their full coat. Bandra must have been poorly suited to life on the street, though he managed to survive a few years there. Now he’s leading the life of a pampered pet, I think his Golden Fleece is here to stay.

Rajashree Khalap

The doughnut and the feather-duster

I just realized that I haven’t yet shown off my dogs’ most magnificent features: their tails. So here they are.

Lalee’s tail is so completely curled that she can’t wag it independently. She has to shake her whole rear end when she’s happy, which is quite often. She can straighten her tail out if she wants to but she rarely does so. Lalee was the main model for the Welfare of Stray Dogs website (I’ve been accused of nepotism for this). Anyway, you can see many more images of her on http://www.wsdindia.org/index.htm, complete with doughnut.

lineage is much more mixed than I like, but I don’t want to get too fascist about this so I’ve enrolled him in the Club, although I have absolutely NO idea who his parents were. He must have got at least a little pariah dog blood, though you can’t tell from his feathery tail. He could have helped with the dusting but he really can’t spare the time, what with eating and sleeping and guarding the house and posing for photographs.

Rajashree Khalap