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.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Smush

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

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