About Me

My photo
Mumbai, India
I'm an aboriginal dog breed fancier, birder and wildlife conservationist. I work with the wildlife conservation NGO Satpuda Foundation in the tiger reserves of central India. Before that I worked for 14 years with the street dogs of Mumbai. I created and manage the INDog Project www.indog.co.in and the INDog Club.

Are you a Pariah Dog fan?

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.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kuttush

Say hello to Kuttush, an adorable INDog-mix with the cutest batwing ears! 

















































Kuttush lives in Bhopal with Meghna Ghatak. She sent in a heartfelt story about her love of dogs and life with her puppy. 
Some excerpts:

'As a kid, the best thing about getting to school was my routine encounter with the love and friendship of numerous street dogs. I wouldn't take vans or buses made available to me but instead chose to walk in the trail of street dogs. Everyone had declared me pariah along with the dogs I associated with. Little did people know then that dogs, be it street or 'pedigree', were the best remedy for the scars left behind by bullies.


Imagine life with and without colours, imagine seasons without the flood of emotions that they bring, imagine food sans its taste, and imagine camaraderie without the love and loyalty of a dog.

Much has been written about dogs and the way they bandage broken pieces of our heart or the way they stitch our days with more affection and mischief than is imagined possible. We have extensively documented their breeding and the purpose of their breeding for racing, looks, military work and transport and so on and so forth. Little has been said of the dogs that were untouched in nature, or the so-called untouchable dogs in India. They are an ancient pure breed perfectly demonstrating Darwin's theory of evolution. They have achieved the marvellous feat of adaptability to the Indian climate, and temperament of the people, and have become sturdy, hardy and meek.

I had long nourished the idea of jumping into Rudyard Kipling's famous 'Jungle Book' and being brought up like Mowgli, amongst a pack of all sorts of hounds. The 'hounds' would have a solution to every problem; they shared a bond that I couldn't share with beings of my own kind. I lived in the human world and did my best to fit in, regardless of the wounds it inflicted upon me. I bounced back every time, healed by the love of street dogs. Somehow, whenever I looked into the eyes of these pariahs, I found myself reflected in their irises; something I never could with my own species. Hence, when all was lost yet again, in the fall of last year, I again found myself being pieced together by the licks of a dog.































A scarce-bodied bitch had given birth to a litter in the parking lot of my workplace. I had taken to stealing my lunch hours and spending them in the care of these pups. Passersby could be seen occasionally fondling them. Slowly the pups went missing one by one, and so did the mother; reducing them into playthings of slum children. I decided to gather enough courage to take one home where I knew they would be unwelcome. I packed a five-inch snowy bundle on my two-wheeler and dealt with the reluctance of every family member.























Today after six months of care, it is difficult to say who saved whom.

Kuttush is a robust busybody with white, erect ears and matching agile feet. With a bushy tail and little wriggling nose, he resembles a rabbit and has been dubbed the same by the neighbourhood kids. He chases his playmates around and performs little tricks of fetch and jump, pleasing them even more. His fur has just begun to shed, moderately. He has cost me little in medical bills when he fell ill; he instinctively refused to eat and drink and got well almost on his own.

Cleaning up after him has been the most annoying business regarding Kuttush, as he vomited a lot during his illness and also whenever he gobbled up something unpalatable, not to mention the innumerable messes on the carpet, bedding and doormats. Since he was encouraged to interact with people of all age groups, he is a social animal. He loves pursuing any kinetic entity and has an insatiable hunger for everything that we eat. It took some time to house train him, but that could be because I had never trained a dog before. However, he responded well to the recipes and treatments I found for him on the internet.

Kuttush, meaning 'small' in many regional dialects, is yet to learn manners. He is yet to learn that he is getting bigger every day and his nails, teeth, and mere playful pouncing may hurt or scare guests. He has yet to know that biting and scratching on furniture is a bad habit, and every reachable object in the house is not a toy. He understands well enough that running away with any accessible object garners attention, usually negative.

Being a pet parent is a full time occupation that has granted me a healthier heart, mind and body. My house is always clean and well-arranged (read baby-proofed) and I know the calorie intake of everything we consume. I have a permanent alarm clock, a practical joker, a vacuum cleaner, a security guard and most importantly, a loyal loving friend in my dog. He has kept me so busy that I forgot my scars and if I noticed them, he licked them clean. He taught me that we need to bark out all our problems, and that tearing apart a beloved toy helps ease out tensions.

Street dogs aren't the scary monsters that we are made to be afraid of; it is us. Stray or not, raised correctly, they can become efficient caregivers.'





Story and photos: Meghna 'Phoenix' Ghatak
Bhopal

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Katie turns 15

Anyone here who has followed this blog from the start? If you have, you'll remember beautiful Katie who was adopted in Kodaikanal. 

If you are new to this blog, read Katie's first post from eight years ago; and her eleventh birthday post.

This lovely INDog-mix turned fifteen this week! 

Her human Yvonne Koch sent an update:

'She is still getting along well...a little slower now, and a little hard of hearing, but no health issues whatsoever! What a remarkable breed! 

'Currently Katie is sharing her home with two retired racing greyhounds that keep her entertained.'

Here's are photos of Katie and her two housemates, Roadrunner and Wiley.

Many hugs to this gorgeous lucky girl on her fifteenth birthday!

Katie



Roadrunner


Wiley



















































































Photos: Yvonne Koch
North Carolina
USA

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Shadow grown up!

18 months ago I wondered what cute little mountain pup Shadow would look like, as an adult. 

And now I know!

He's gorgeous!

Others think so too - he won a prize at a dog show recently! How lovely to see his breed described as Indy!

Here are some photos sent in by his proud owner Kunga. 

Congratulations, Shadow and Kunga - and thanks for being such wonderful ambassadors for INDogs and INDog-mixes!

Handsome Shadow

Puppy days. More photos here.


Shadow's prize!!
 



































































Photos: Kunga Monlam

Shimla
Himachal Pradesh

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Diya

This is Diya, an elegant INDog-mix from Delhi, now living in Minnesota with Michelle Orcutt. 
Isn't she superb?
















                                                                                                                                              


















Michelle's description of her is very interesting, especially the results of her DNA test, which show some Eurobreed admixture (like all urban free-roamers).

'I recently adopted this INDog-mix from Gurgaon through the International Street Dog Foundation. She turns a year old on May 15 (or thereabouts). 

Her history is, she was found as a solitary, approximately six week old puppy, with a broken leg, dragging herself through a parking lot in Gurgaon. The attendants at the lot alerted a local animal rescuer to the pup's plight. The pup (then called Chutki) was taken to a skilled vet who set her tiny leg. She was allowed to sleep in the lot attendants' hut at night, and the rescuer Joyita visited her daily and took her for all her vaccinations on schedule. 


The parking lot where Chutki/Diya was found
























She was flown from New Delhi to Chicago in October 2015, and on November 2 I brought her to Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she now lives with me, my dog Wiley, and cats Cecil and Simone.

She has been doing really well since I adopted her. I now know, from a tissue sample sent for histopathological examination by the vet who did her spay, that Diya also must have had a partial spleen rupture and a good amount of internal bleeding when her leg was broken, making it even more remarkable that she survived and thrived. She was in really good physical shape when I got her and now has a glossy coat and lots of energy and spunk. Wiley and Diya are best friends, and her relationship with the cats continues to improve.

With Wiley, an Australian Cattle Dog






First neighbourhood stroll 
























































Wiley, Diya and the Mississippi
















































































It is so interesting how native/primitive/pariah dogs in many different countries resemble each other. My other dog Wiley is an Australian Cattle Dog, so has some Dingo way back there, and maybe those Dingo ancestors had INDog progenitors themselves. I did the Mars Wisdom Panel DNA test on Diya and her results came back with German Shepherd and Saluki each at 12.5%, some Asian group and Middle Eastern/African group ancestry, and a smaller set of wild canid markers. I think the Saluki in her DNA results is quite likely just Middle Eastern/North Indian common genetic material. Since Salukis are one of the only dogs from that region in the Mars Wisdom breed data base, this could be what the test picked up.

Some of her traits that seem different than European breed dogs include her characteristic use of her front legs, and the flexibility of her long neck. She cleans her face like a cat, covers her eyes when she is sleepy, and paws me (often in the face - ow!) when she wants something or is happy. She points her nose straight up to the sky when she gets a scent, and can look almost directly behind her by turning her head. She's hyper-vigilant, and has amazing physical/spatial intelligence. She loves to play with other dogs, especially larger dogs who don't hesitate to play rough and tumble. She's still wary of strangers, but less likely to bark at them now, and very cuddly with me and people she knows well.'

























































Text and photos: Michelle Orcutt
Minnesota,
USA

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

SniffWorld

'Our own weak olfactory sense has, no doubt, limited our curiosity about what the world smells like. A growing coalition of scientists is working to change that, and what they have found about olfactory animals, dogs included, is enough to make us envy those nose-creatures. As we see the world, the dog smells it. The dog's universe is a stratum of complex odors. The world of scents is at least as rich as the world of sight.' - Alexandra Horowitz,  Inside of a Dog.

Which is why the K Gang are allowed to spend as much time as they like sniffing, on every outing. With only very reasonable restrictions on what they sniff. Trash of any kind is a strict no-no. 

A word of caution: was your Indy ever a free-roaming dog? Because free-roamers almost always have the scavenging habit, and they don't give it up no matter how much gourmet food you may give them at home. 

Under the guise of just following scents, Kimaya sometimes tries to snatch up a piece of bone or rotten fish dropped by crows. So I check the ground as we walk, to see whether any such 'goodies' are lying around, and I watch her very closely at all times. Kiba never scavenges by the way. I adopted him when he was just four weeks old and had never eaten solid food. 

Some of our sniff-walking pictures:







And sometimes we just walk


Mumbai 
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and acknowledgement