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.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Whose dog is it anyway?
I've said it all in this earlier post Who's straying?
We should be particularly careful not to use the "s" word loosely when speaking of village dogs, unless we are absolutely sure the dogs we are referring to are ownerless, homeless or feral.
And now I'm going to shut up (for the time being) and let these pictures do the talking.
Dog 1: Sawra village, Maharashtra
Above, below: See that "stray" dog?
Dog 2: Kumre family's dog, Sawra village, Maharashtra
Above, below: What does the Kumre dog look like now? A "stray"?
Dogs 3: Near Pench, Maharashtra
Above: Now these must be "stray dogs," trotting along the street in front of those goats.
Above: Well, no. They are livestock guarding dogs, owned by this villager.
Dog 4: Nagaon village, Konkan coast, Maharashtra
Above: A "stray" on the beach. A very well-fed one too.
Above: He turns out to have an owner after all...
Dogs 5: Nagaon, Konkan coast, Maharashtra
Above: A litter of half-grown pups that I sometimes see wandering around near my house.
Above: The big picture. That's their mother in the background, standing in her owner's yard. The owner of these dogs is a man called Balchandra Apte. The mother has been around for several years.
Moral of the story: do a little research before deciding on the status of village dogs. Urban people, please understand that this is the model of dog ownership in Indian villages. Pet dogs do not usually wear collars. They spend part of their day roaming around, though they have homes and owners to go back to. Village houses and plantations are usually not fenced and there is no restriction on their movements.
Some villagers let their dogs sleep inside the house (like the Sawra villagers, who are mostly Gond tribals). Other villagers keep them in their yards or on their porch. Roaming around freely is normal and is not frowned on, unless the dog kills poultry (rare).
When I accompanied the Cornell team to collect samples from village dogs in Orissa, we were greeted with suspicion in almost every village. We had to explain that the dogs would not be harmed or taken away, before we were allowed to collect blood samples.
A similar thing happened in Moharli near Tadoba Tiger Reserve, when I was wandering around the village clicking dog pictures. Someone pointed out a house in which there was apparently a fine red dog. When I asked the lady of the house if I could see her pet, she first demanded whether I had come to kill him?
A year ago a Nagaon "stray" dog got hit and killed by a tourist bus in our lane. Her owner chased the bus to the beach, hauled the driver out and thrashed him.
Village owners may not cuddle their pets or talk to them in baby talk as we city people do. Some of these dogs have names and others don't. But please don't think that nobody cares about them.
And I would strongly recommend the term "village dog" as a more accurate one than "stray."
Photos: Taken by me in Sawra, Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra, and
Nagaon, Raigad district, Maharashtra