About Me

My photo
Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation.

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. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The INDog in New York, Part Two: Settling down




On the flight home, mom was by the window seat and I was stuck and compressed in the bag under the seat. I was only 12 weeks old, very lonely and sad, but I didn’t make a peep. Then, the lights went down and mom reached for me and took me out of the bag and put me on her lap (under the blanket). I felt so luxurious and spoilt. Mom praised me for being so good on the flight back. Even the man sitting next to us commented on how well behaved a little puppy I was.

When I arrived at JFK, the customs man said that all of my papers were in order and I breezed through immigration. Mom didn’t take me straight home, though. Instead, we went directly from the airport to the vet, Dr. Campbell. She examined the mange on my tail, declared that I was worm-free, and gave me a medicated bath for the fleas that made the trip with me. Dr. Campbell also tested me for worms – and I was parasite free (contrary to what most Indian street dogs would have).

Mom’s husband was not initially supportive of my coming to live with him and the two elderly cats. But I knew I would win him over. Now he completely adores me and I have nestled a permanent place in his heart and in his bed. He even shows my photo to friends and colleagues all over the world. Now that I had won dad over, I had a few things to learn: how to walk on the leash, how to manage my toilet training, and how to

interact with different types of dogs (big, small, aggressive, passive, shy, afraid – from Chihuahuas to Irish Wolfhounds and from Pit Bulls to Rottweillers). In fact, I was so clever that it took only four tries for me to learn how to ring a bell to alert mom that I needed to go out and relieve myself.





Living in a concrete forest has brought out some eccentricities in my personality. Instead of howling at the moon, I now howl at the unending stream of sirens that reverberate through the streets of New York. When mom takes me for walks on the street, she is constantly stopped by strangers who ask, “Excuse me, what exotic breed is that?” Then when mom says, “Leela is a street dog from India,” people think that she is joking.

One of the recognized characteristics in dogs like me is our innate ability to use clear signals in communicating with other dogs. A trainer once remarked that it was quite evident that I am very comfortable in my own skin. This ability has enabled me to make many friends who I still enjoy seeing everyday in the park and in the dog run. And my new cat companions were immediately fond of me too, as I endeared myself to them with my charismatic personality. When I was seven months old, Nikita, one of my cat companions, died at the age of 15 ½. So now, it is just the four of us in the pack. Each night, we all huddle together in bed. And I simply can’t fall asleep unless I am cuddled up with one of my pack mates!

I am now almost 16 months old, healthy and happy and love my new home. While mom is a vegetarian, she respects my carnivorous nature and feeds me a raw food diet of meat and vegetables. I even have a fresh raw marrow bone to chew each day.

Today is a big day for me. I just learned this week that there is another Indian pariah dog living in New York. Her name is India and our moms have arranged for a play date at 1 o’clock today. I even had a bath this morning (I love baths) so that I would look my best.
We’ll let you know how it goes!




Yvonne de Kock & C J Lonoff

NYC, USA

The last two photos are of Leela at the Yogathon at the Iyengar Yoga Institute, New York.
She does five yoga asanas on command and is learning more!

1 comment:

deekay said...

lovely post ...thank u leela :)