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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Highway pups and village pups need good homes too

It's very encouraging to see all the adoption efforts of NGOs and animal lovers in big cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi. But I'd like to put in a word here for the dogs who get no attention at all: highway and village dogs.

The majority of free-roaming dogs in India definitely belong to this category.

While city dogs nowadays have at least some access to welfare services - medical care, good food, vaccination, neutering and adoption - highway dogs have NONE.

Dog populations in large cities will perhaps reduce over the years through neutering programmes. But there are no welfare programmes for highway and rural dogs, and there may never be, since animal welfare activities in India tend to be urban and small-scale and will probably not expand much in the near future.

You will see dogs all around India if you make road trips, at roadside restaurants and shacks, toll booths, petrol stations, grimy garages, garbage dumps, just about anywhere they can get food. You will also see lots of roadkill, mostly dogs. Put the two together and make a guess at the average life expectancy of a highway pup.

With highways being widened and improved all the time, more people using them, more restaurants and shops mushrooming along the roadside, and more garbage, the plight of these dogs will only get worse.

If you are looking to adopt, do consider the option of travelling two or three hours out of your city to look for your future pet. It's "puppy season" right now since INDogs have a seasonal breeding cycle. You are sure to see many nursing females; just hop out of the car and follow any one that seems friendly!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The faraway wolf

An Indian Grey Wolf we saw in Velavadar National Park two weeks ago.

There were three wolves visible beside the wetland, spotted from a distance by our eagle-eyed guide Allarakha. Earlier in the day we had seen a single wolf resting in a meadow, surprisingly close to blackbuck and a nilgai (blue bull).

Read the earlier post Brother Wolf for an account of my wolf sighting in July. That was in a fairly remote area in the Little Rann of Kutch.

Sadly one can spot Indian Grey Wolves only in remote or protected areas nowadays, because they are widely persecuted thanks to their predation on livestock. Since their wild grassland habitats are shrinking and wild prey becoming scarce, they have little option but to prey on domestic animals like goats, sheep and calves. And in retaliation they get killed.

I can't resist posting this poem about a wolf, a lamb and a human, from "Archy and Mehitabel," one of my all-time favourite books. Brilliantly captures the irony and hypocrisy inherent in the human attitude to wolves. Hope you like the poem as much as I do.

Velavadar National Park

Please do not use content or images from this blog without permission and acknowledgment.

At Nicole's

Two weeks ago Kiran and I passed through Ahmedabad on our way to Velavadar National Park, so we dropped in at Nicole Poyyayil's and finally got to meet Shalini and Somu!

You can follow their stories through this earlier post.

Both dogs were really excited about meeting new people. There was lots of racing around the garden and kicking up of mud!

After playing with the dogs for a while we went for a walk to one of Shalini's favourite routes. It's a path beside a canal; a picturesque lane bordered with bushes and trees, where Nicole has spotted interesting local wildlife including a Bengal Monitor.

Then back to the house for a truly delicious lunch and a play session with Rakhi the kitten; after which the dogs finally sat still for a bit so I could take some photos!

Shalini poses at the window

Somu suddenly pops up at the window sill

Above, below: Beautiful Shalini

Somu enjoys a belly rub from Nicole

Trotting in the garden

Above: Gladiators! Can you see Shalini peering out from under Somu?

Both dogs are impressive diggers. You can see their work all over the garden. Here they are working on a new project!

We couldn't even see the bottom of this hole. Didn't I say they're impressive?

Nicole and Vinod, thanks for a lovely afternoon. And Shalini and Somu, it was great to finally meet you!


Please do not use photos or content from this blog without permission and acknowledgment.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Could people please ask for permission before using pictures from this blog?

First the good news: the media have covered the topic of noisy crackers and their effect on animals several times this season. I hope this will lead to a quieter, less traumatic Diwali for dogs and cats.

The not-so-good news, for me at least, is that one of these newspapers has used a photograph from this blog without acknowledgment or permission. If you've been following the posts here you might recognize the dog in this article. She's my lovely old girl Puppy who died in January this year, and the source of the photo is this post from November 2010.

Probably I should just feel pleased that more people are visiting this blog than I had previously imagined, that my photography is more widely appreciated than I had imagined, and that Puppy is "modelling" for a cause even months after her death. But funnily I am not feeling pleased at all. Apart from the issue of courtesy, Puppy was my family member though to others she may be "just another dog." I would have given permission if asked; what's so difficult about asking?

"Proof that good intentions and good manners don't go together. Feeling does not justify stealing!" as my husband remarked. I couldn't have put it better.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Mer-dog

Early October: the monsoon is receding, the sun is out and we are finally back in the sea!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Temple dog

An INDog sleeping in the Biligiri Rangaswamy temple premises, August 2008. I was visiting the BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and went to see the ancient temple on the last day. Couldn't resist clicking this sleeping beauty!

More pictures of "temple dogs" in this earlier post. There's a picture in this post of a temple dog in Kutch, and here's one of a temple dog in Bali.

There is of course no rule or ritual demanding a dog's presence in Hindu temples; no doubt they live there for the handouts from pilgrims and priests.

Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple

Portraits of Tansy

An update on Tansy, who shifted from sunny Goa to the UK nine years ago. Read her story here.

Owner Adele sent some recent pictures of her.

Tansy is an INDog-mix, and though her coat was always a bit longer and silkier than an INDog's, she was by no means the fur-ball that she is today. Have a look at her quarantine photos in the earlier post to see what she looked like at the time of adoption.

Her long coat is obviously a reaction to the colder climate she lives in now; but I know of another case of a mix-breed dog growing a long coat after adoption though he continued to live in Mumbai. I'm talking about my own dog Bandra. Read about him here. It seems a stressful life can also prevent a dog from growing its full coat.

Enjoy these Tansy moments, and thank you Adele and all other owners in this blog, for giving these dogs such a wonderful life!

Above: Tansy spots something...

Above: Tansy in a field of yellow

Above: Tansy and Adele

Above: With Adele in the sunset

Above: With her blue dog toy

Above: My pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Above: I've won third prize!

Above: Aren't I beautiful?

Above: A little ballet

Photos: Adele Carroll,
Lymington, Hampshire


Bandu passes on

And now for the sad news I didn't have the heart to post before.

My sweet brindled friend Bandu died in August, of a neglected maggot infestation on the head.

On my last visit to Tadoba (mid-September) I stayed at the MTDC lodge and of course I looked for him soon after arrival. One of the lodge staff told me what had happened.

He had the wound for about ten days, and it had become really huge and he had became weak, and finally he had died in the garden quite close to the dining room.
The boy pointed out the spot where Bandu lay down for the last time.

I told the boy maggot infestations can be prevented if turmeric powder is applied on the wound right from the start; that maggots can be killed with kerosene if nothing else is available -

But my words fell on deaf ears. "It had rotted too much," was the boy's only response. His tone had the calm finality of many rural uneducated people, who firmly believe they have far greater medical knowledge than we city folk do.

There wasn't much point continuing the conversation. Many people in these villages neglect even their own diseases and those of their family members, so the thought of medicating a dog probably seems outlandish to them.

If a wound is in a place the dog can lick, they usually remove the fly eggs and maggots by themselves and heal up without help. But head and neck wounds are the fatal ones.

My poor friend died in pain, which is probably the fate of many dogs who fall prey to screw-worm flies in these remote areas where vets are inaccessible or largely inactive.

But at least he was treated kindly while he lived, and fed well, and given a nice place to stay.

My memories of Tadoba are inextricably linked to my memories of this gentle dog. He was there every time right from my first visit in January 2008. I don't know whether I want to stay at the MTDC lodge any more. I'll wait till it's time for my next trip and then decide.

You can see some pictures of Bandu in these earlier posts: there won't be any more.
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

Lucky, crime-buster Indy

Remember brave Lucky, Amit Parmar's crime-buster Indy? Here's his first post in this blog.

Here he is showing off his INDog Club membership tag!

And here's a video of Lucky and Amit's other dog Buzo engaged in a race + gladiatorial combat!

Look at him run - that's how he chased the burglar, and would have caught him too if the crook hadn't managed to escape on a motorbike!

Photos, video: Amit Parmar

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Anjuna Two

From Goa to Germany - Anjuna's story by Marlies Meister:

My first INDog found me in November 1995 in Goa. I called her Anjuna One.

She was about six weeks old and sick. I asked an Indian family to feed the little dog, because I had to go back to Germany.

In April 1996 I flew back to Goa. Anjuna was in a very bad condition, but with the help from a vet in Mapusa who could give her the right medicines she finally got better and two weeks later I could fly back to Germany with Anjuna One.

A year later she was healthy. She was a very special dog, very confident, proud, and big in personality. We called her "Princess of India."

She died on December 2nd 2006 in a tragic accident in Anjuna, when we were there together on vacation.
It was a very sad holiday and in mid-December I flew back to Germany.

I left Anjuna's crate back in Goa. I wanted to look for another INDog to take back to Germany on my next visit to Goa.

Above: Anjuna One the day before she died

The day before Anjuna One died, a small unwanted dog was born on a beach in Goa.

An English tourist brought the little dog to IAR (International Animal Rescue) in Assagao at the end of December 2006.

I flew back to Goa in March 2007 thinking to fill Anjuna's empty crate with an unwanted INDog puppy.
As soon as I had landed and rested I went straight to IAR to look for a new four-legged companion.

I saw a very skinny and sick puppy looking at me and felt in love immediately. It was a little lady. To me it was Anjuna Two.

The staff told me that no-one knew what was wrong with her, she didn’t want to eat, to drink, to walk, was just too weak to do anything.

I wanted to take her. After doing the paperwork I got a lot of different pills and medications, and had to come every day for infusion. But her condition didn’t get better. One step forward, two steps back. She was so sick and I felt so helpless.

Above: Anjuna Two, two days after being taken from IAR

After ten days I was thinking of bringing her back to IAR. It seemed to me impossible to bring such a skinny and sick dog to Germany.

But who would like to take her? No one wants to adopt a very sick puppy.

I was thinking and thinking … But it seemed to me like a sign that she was born one day before Anjuna One died.

I was struggling to give her all the medication; she was struggling to stay alive. I wanted to do the right thing… and decided to bring her to Germany.

I had no documents and Anjuna Two had no vaccinations because of how ill she was.

The airline was the biggest problem. Puppies…not allowed, sick animals… not allowed. But I wanted to try to get her on the flight. It was March 22nd, the day of our departure. The airline was informed that I was returning home with a dog. I put lots of sarongs and lungis in the crate, one could only see her face. We passed the screening and I had to take her out of the crate – no problem. Check in – nobody had a look at my dog – except the “foreigners” flying back home.

That took a load off my mind. I said to myself if she survived the long flight then she would survive. And I was so happy that she was still alive when we reached Frankfurt airport!

We had to pass customs and I was asked for Anjuna Two’s documents. Sorry, but I didn’t have any documents.

I was told that there are three ways to handle it: back home to India, put to sleep or quarantine. What a question … quarantine!

I had to sign some papers, was informed that Anjuna Two had to spend the night at the animal station at Frankfurt airport and would be picked up by an animal shelter from Ruesselsheim, where all confiscated dogs and cats are brought for quarantine. I should call the director next day. I travelled home alone.

Next day I received a call from the Department of Environment and was asked to approve to pay for all costs at the quarantine station – so I did. Then I called the Director of the animal shelter at Ruesselsheim and talked to this lady about my dog Anjuna Two.

I was told that they would pick up Anjuna Two in the evening. We talked about Anjuna's severity of symptoms, medication in India, bad conditions and so on.

The animal shelter wanted to do a big blood check immediately to see what was wrong with Anjuna Two. I was told if I would like to see her I could come and visit her whenever I wanted to. That was so kind and I was very happy.

The day after was my first ride to Ruesselsheim to see my puppy again. As she was so skinny and small she was living in a cat house (3 sq m), could leave her house through a cat door to make her pee-pee, and go outside (10 sq m). Very comfortable lodging and lots of toys to play with. Anjuna Two was so happy to see me and fell in a deep sleep the moment she was in my arms. The Director informed me that they already had done a major check on her.

I got the results three days later: Anjuna Two was still alive! She was suffering from Babesiosis, also called dog malaria. Dogs get infected by a tick bite and it leads to death quite soon. Babesiosis destroys all internal organs. She had already received an injection called Carbesia with Imizol.

Four days later I could see my puppy – and what a difference!

She was eating, drinking and playing. Later I could walk with her outside in a separate area, where two tigers would live after being rescued from a circus.

Above: Day 12 at the quarantine station

Above: Day 29 at the quarantine station

Anjuna Two got all the required vaccinations and could leave the quarantine station on April 25th.

Above: Day One at her new home...and very tired

A Babesiosis check-up was required four weeks later by my vet at home – the vet gave us the “all clear” and finally our new life together could begin!

Above: Day 3 - No sandy beaches but green meadows and new friends teaching her how to catch mice

Above: Five days in freedom

Above: Ginger, Sunanda and Anjuna Two

Above: June 2007

Above: One year later - April 2008

Above: December 2009 - lots of new friends

Above: November 2007 - back in Goa after eight months, and fit for fun

Above: January 2011 - travelling to Goa every year

Above: Goa, November 2008

Above: Goa 2009

Above: March 2008

Above: February 2011 - New friend at Candolim?

Anjuna Two is a very special dog. So was Anjuna One. She is very confident, proud, has a real personality to her, but not a “Princess” like Anjuna One. She is just like a dog!

I love to travel to Goa with Anjuna Two as I did with Anjuna One. She has all the needed papers to travel to Goa and return back home to Germany. She seems to be very relaxed on our journeys by plane, car, train, Tuk Tuk or boat. I don’t know if she would like para gliding!

It is great to watch her recognizing all her friends on the beach. She is walking proudly, waggling her tail, saying “Look at me, I have a Green card.”

She likes sun and sandy beaches, but also green meadows and snow!

Above: End of the story with snow!

Story and Photos: Marlies Meister

Lady Rani needs a forever home

From Sara in Delhi:

This is the story of Lady Rani, a stray desi dog aged between 7 and 9 years, who was living on the streets of Delhi , lucky enough to have survived all these years.

She was staying in a very busy street in South Delhi, fed by good Samaritans passing by and slum dwellers living on that same pavement.

Rani was happy, even if she did not have a shelter on her head, she had freedom and enjoyed watching cars and people passing by.

Till one sad day…It was late in the night, Rani was sleeping in the street as usual, when a speeding car hit her without stopping. Rani was screaming in pain, and 2 animal activists passing by at that very moment rescued her immediately bringing her to an animal shelter nearby.

Rani had a fractured leg, the vet put a bandage on it and decided to keep her in the shelter until she recovered.

She was put in a cage with 2 more dogs. Rani was a wise dog and adjusted to her new environment immediately.

The days were passing and Rani was still in that cage, her leg not healing at all…

I was paying Rani visits regularly and decided to help her as she didn’t seem to be recovering in the shelter. I brought her to my vet who sadly stated that it was too late, her leg would not heal anymore, she had to live with 3 legs for the rest of her life now…

I could not put Rani back in the street, it would have been too dangerous, and didn’t want to bring her to a local shelter to finish her life either…So I decided to foster her until she would find a caring home who would love her for the last years of her life.

Rani is an adorable lady, with a loving personality. She needs contact with humans and she is totally submissive to them.

On the other hand she has a very strong personality and even though she is a small size dog using 3 legs, she would chase away bigger male dogs crossing her way. She is not scared of anything!

When I go to work in the morning she looks into my eyes as she wanted to say:’Please don’t go!’ and when I come back in the evening, she jumps with cries of joy, like I had been her master for years.

Rani has a lot of love to give and needs a lot of love and care in return…

For adoption please contact Sara Casapulla on saracasapulla@yahoo.fr


Rajashree's note: I can vouch for the fact that older dogs make delightful, peaceful and undemanding pets. Please share this appeal and let's try and find Lady Rani a safe corner to spend her last years.