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

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The white brothers

At our other home, Kimaya's attempts to make new friends meet with greater success.

That's because she's known these brothers since they were born last year. They belong to our neighbour. You can see their pictures in earlier posts - click here and here. In the latter post, they are in the fifth series of photos (Dogs 5: Nagaon, Konkan coast, Maharashtra).

Incidentally they don't seem to understand that Kimaya is neutered and did try to mount a couple of times. I had to shoo them off and later Brownie appeared and chased them away. But they are still very puppyish and enjoy running almost as much as she does, so it's fun to meet them.

The yelps you hear from Kimaya are of fear, not pain. While she does want to make friends, she is still a very timid dog and sometimes takes fright if other dogs come close.

The black brothers

These are our building dogs. They've been living in our compound since April 2004.

Earlier they used to live in the park next door with their mother, whom I called Kajol and who had exactly the same colouring. But our old building dog Toby-Raja died in September 2003 and it soon got around on the doggy grapevine that there was a territory vacant, food included. I'd had the whole family neutered early in 2004 and soon after they moved in.

There were three resident females at the time, Rani, Timmy and a red one I called Beauty; but they didn't really mind the newcomers. There's lots of space and food to go around here.

Over the years the females passed on one by one: last year we lost Timmy and then Kajol. Now we have only the black brothers left.

My names for them are Hellraiser 1 and Hellraiser 2. In the pictures above and below, H2 is on the left and H1 is on the right.

The names are rather misleading because these dogs are very timid and quieter than mice. They do howl a bit on the seafront some nights, for reasons I have not been able to fathom, but inside our compound they rarely make a sound.

My other names for them are Motu (fat) and Raja (king).

They were born some time in 2002, which makes them nine years old now.

Kimaya has been wanting to make friends with them for a long time, but they are self-sufficient and don't want any friends.

Above, below: Kimaya with Hellraiser 1/Raja.

Below: He is polite to her, I think for my sake. He knows me to be a harmless, generally benign sort of idiot. That's because I had him bundled off to hospital when he was sick some years ago (liver problems caused by the rich food my neighbours were giving him).

Like I said, he doesn't really want any friends.


Adoptions - we can all help. It only takes a few minutes!

While it's heartwarming to read all the happy stories in this blog, please let's not forget that only a tiny fraction-of-a-fraction of the Indy population actually get good homes. There are lots of vulnerable pups and kittens out on our mean streets, getting drenched in the rain, getting crushed by cars, getting kicked around by subhuman people. With a little help from us many can get adopted. How much time does it take for us to share a link on Facebook or our other social networks? Surely we can all spare a few minutes for this simple task that might just change an animal's life.

In the "Links" section of this blog you will find a list of blogs and sites of which many are dedicated to adoption of street pups and kittens. Below are a few of these sites, all run by wonderful people who work tirelessly to find homes for animals. Please circulate these links and do your bit to support their efforts! Share them once a month, email them to your friends, tell people about them! These animals are no less deserving than the beautiful pet dogs with whom we share our lives.

Red Paws Rescue

Ben's summer story

Hello, my name is Ben Goldie and I am a desi dog from Delhi living a very wonderful life thanks to the many people who cared to give me a part of their homes and hearts. I arrived in Vancouver, BC, Canada last year and was quickly adopted by my new family Katie and Craig Goldie. They have raised me in a loving extended family in which I have stolen everyone’s hearts with my personality and antics.

My summer was spent on a remote island in Georgian Bay, ON, Canada. An island, can he swim? Well, despite being born far from the sea, I am quite a good swimmer. All the hounds in the pack on the bay are good swimmers. If you don’t like one island, just swim to another – that’s our motto. My island is about 10 hectares in size, covered with woods and has its own lake in the middle. Perfect for dog foraging expeditions with my new pal Angus. Angus is a Welsh terrier and much smaller than my 55 pounds. But he makes up for it with terrier style, which is generally lovingly aggressive combined with a nice hint of bad dog behavior.

Angus has taught me to mouse, I mean, they have real mice here. I caught my first mouse on the dining room table. It tasted awful, all plastic with buttons on it. The real mice are much more of a challenge, and they are also generally pretty safe with me gallumping after them in my long legged, flailing way. I have met snakes, minks and grouse. All of which just sniff at me with disdain, despite my earnest attempts at evicting them from the island.

The wind often blows and it often storms on this wild outcrop, eight kilometers from shore. There are rocks to climb over, boats to greet on arrival at the dock, and at the end of the day, a long couch to snooze on. My morning starts with me being dragged out of bed (I am a late riser) to start the morning running with Angus. After a hearty breakfast of kibble and more kibble, I spend the rest of the day sniffing amongst the rocks and fallen trees. I also enjoy chasing balls, chewing sticks and anything illicit. I love boat rides, which is good as everyone uses only boats to get around here. My favourite spot is in the bow, with ears flying and nose working overtime. Any boat will do, and I will jump in to anyone that arrives. My absolute favourite is the Sea Doo, where I sit on the seat in front of Grandma or Grandpa and help them navigate. Most of the dogs up here travel by boat and Sea Doo.
The bay pack is the best. Three border collies who obsessively chase sticks and balls. They launch themselves off docks and rocks when the ball hits the water. Now that is going too far, as I am a swimmer but not a ball nut. Two short Corgis who do nothing but chase me and try to herd me. I am not a sheep you dumb Corgis. Add a couple of Westies (stout of heart but none too fast) and another mutt or two and the pack is complete. We are often found going on picnics to some far away rock, rushing and tumbling to get off the boat, exploring every crack and nook and swimming to other rocks.
So it is a dog's life for me up here in northern Ontario. Come visit me sometime and I will show you where the mink lives, how to chase a grouse and why snakes make such lousy friends.
Ben Goldie

Story: written for Ben by his grandpa Ian Baines
Photos: Katie Goldie
P.S. Ben was named after the "Bengal Tiger!"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Saloni Kapur's lovely INDog-mix Rufus!

A very interesting description of Rufus, sent in by Saloni:

"Rufus is one year old. I found him on the street in Pune in mid-October 2010, during a rainstorm. The vet estimated that he was six weeks old at the time, so I am guessing that he was born around 1 September 2010.

"His fur is red-brown and his tail is erect and curled, especially when he is standing up. His ears are pointed and flexible - they can stand erect as well as go back. He has black lining around his almond-shaped brown eyes. He is very alert to sounds.

"He may have some Indian (Caravan?) hound in his ancestry as he is leaner than most Indian Pariah dogs and mongrels that I have seen. He is shorter than a hound would be though; I don't know if that has anything to do with the fact that he was very malnourished when we took him in.

"He also panics considerably whenever the local acrobats pass by our home. The first time they passed by he started trembling; happily he is more confident now, though he still reacts to their proximity.

"My mum says she's seen these acrobats with small, thin brown dogs with docked tails. I just looked up the Wikipedia entry on the Dombari community and it says, 'Adopting a mongrel dog
as a pet is fairly common as is the use of the trained mongrel in their performances.' Maybe Rufus has some sort of genetic memory of old-fashioned training techniques to make these dogs perform acrobatics, or maybe he is the puppy of one of their dogs and has had a bad experience?

"Rufus is extremely agile and flexible, and leaps onto furniture. He isn't as nervous as the Indian hounds I've seen though. He's much more like a Pariah in that respect (as far as I know); he barks at strangers and is sometimes playfully aggressive with my other dog."

Story and photos: Saloni Kapur

My note: The use of the word "mongrel" in the Wikipedia entry on Dombaris, or in any other writing by a layperson, should not be taken literally to mean a mix-breed or indeterminate breed dog. It merely means a dog the writer couldn't identify so wrote off as a mongrel. I haven't seen many Dombaris but I'm guessing they use any dog locally available, perhaps pure pariah/aboriginal dogs in some cases.

INDogs of Usripar

A few more pictures I took in the village Usripar last week. The dogs above were the welcoming committee, greeting our car in the time-honoured INDoggy way! The two in front had finished marking and were walking away; I managed to click the third one with my phone.

The villagers in that region are mostly members of the Gond tribe.

It's always refreshing for me to see the sane behaviour of villagers around dogs, so different from most middle-class urban Indians.

Here's an earlier post in this blog about cynophobia: irrational fear of dogs.

Remind you of anyone you know? The young man trying to hide his alarm when you and your dog walk by; his screeching girlfriend; the child who tries to climb up the side of the elevator when you enter with your dog; the old woman shrinking away; and worst of all, the middle-aged man who rationalizes his fear: the dog may be carrying some deadly disease...

Here's a nice contrast: dogs and people peacefully living together. Fortunately there's more to India than urban India.

Usripar, near Pench Tiger Reserve

INDogs with poultry

Above: Village Bandra, near Pench Tiger Reserve

Above, below: I took these in the village Usripar near Pench Tiger Reserve last week

Above: a village in Similipal Tiger Reserve

Above: Moharli, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

All around India you see village dogs co-existing peacefully with chickens, goats, sheep. Because they are habituated to the presence of these animals from birth, and are also actively discouraged from killing them. Villagers do not tolerate chicken or livestock-killers and I know of cases of such dogs being poisoned, both in Nagaon and Moharli. So the trait is probably rare in village INDogs.

These are dogs in Orissa that I know are used for hunting by the villagers (the villagers freely admitted it). But as you can see from some of the images, they live side-by-side with goats and poultry without showing any prey drive.

I'm reminded of a street dog (furry INDog-mix) that used to live in the Mumbai shelter where I worked. He was adopted by someone and taken to live in a farmhouse, where he promptly made himself unpopular with the locals by hunting the village goats. I don't know whether his behaviour should be attributed to the non-INDog side of his bloodline, or to his urban upbringing and the fact that he wasn't socialized to goats.

My INDog Lalee used to chase chickens when she was young, but soon got bored with the activity. My yelling must have discouraged her too.

Nature versus nurture...the eternal debate.

Usripar, near Pench Tiger Reserve,
Madhya Pradesh
Similipal Tiger Reserve, Orissa
Moharli, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jaya victorious

Remember the four little pups that got burned in a fire started by some small children in Delhi?

The two survivors were put up for adoption a few months ago. You can see the adoption appeal

Finally only the black female survived. Thanks to AAIDD's Barbara Gard, she got a lovely home in Vancouver and grew into a beautiful INDog with a sweet personality.

But her first owner became movement-restricted and Jaya had to be rehomed.
"She soon found her new forever couple and was so content after her first visit that she stayed for the night and then forever," writes Barbara.

Her name is Jaya (
victorious). What could be more appropriate?

Her story in pictures below:

Above: After rescue

Above: Waiting in Delhi

Above: Arrival in Vancouver to be adopted by Vicky, who sponsored her airlift rescue

Above: Grown into a beautiful INDog

Above: In her new home with Candice, saying goodbye to Dr Choudhary

Photos: Barbara Gard
Adopt An Indian Desi Dog (AAIDD)

Reunions in Canada

I've known for a while about the impressive rescue and adoption work of Canadian Barbara Gard and Delhi vet Dr Premlata Choudhary, but these pictures still amazed me!

These INDogs and INDog-mixes all started life as street pups in Delhi. Thanks to Barbara's NGO Adopt An Indian Desi Dog (AAIDD), they have all been successfully homed in Canada.

In my humble opinion, the owners are as lucky as the dogs. I think all Indy owners would agree.

These desi dog parties took place when Dr Choudhary visited Canada. At one of them more than 20 desi dogs and their owners got together to meet and thank Dr Choudhary for helping save their dogs.

Above: At Ambleside

Above: Olympic Village Dog Park

Above: Olympic Village Dog Park

Above: Mill Lake, Abbotsford

Above: Mill Lake, Abbotsford

Above: Brookswood Dog Park

Above: At Barbara's place

Isn't it just fabulous to see all those happy Indies - not to mention all the doting owners?

"The desis loved meeting each other as they speak the same desi dog play language," says Barbara. "I'm hoping that India will soon become very proud of this heritage dog of theirs."

Barbara and Dr Choudhary, thanks for all you do for our lovely unique Indies!

I feel my dream of desis being sought-after and admired
is beginning to come true...

Photos: Barbara Gard,
Adopt An Indian Desi Dog,

Note: Rupee was one of the dogs adopted through AAIDD. Read his story here.

Soulful Sammy

Beautiful Sammy visited after a year. He still has the same gentle innocent expression he had as a pup, and the same way of rolling his eyes!

This is his earlier post; check out the pictures of him in his little sweater!

"He continues to fill our lives with love and kindness," writes owner Juhee.

His face and expression are very similar to Nicole Poyyayil's Deepa and my own lovely Lalee. My favourite kind of dog.

Enjoy the photos!

Photos: Juhee Dubey