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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Radha revisited

Here's an update on lovely Radha, from her human Connie Hills! If you've followed this blog for a while, you may have read her earlier posts Radha and Radha eight months later.

Our INDog-mix Radha, from Chennai, India, came to live with us in San Francisco four years ago. When I met her, it was love at first sight. That sweet face with big doe eyes melted my heart. She walked slowly due to her funny feet - which suited my pace just fine.

At home, she was initially timid - stayed on her cozy bed round the clock - unless it was time for walks or food. She rarely drank water. Outside, she was reactive with other dogs, especially those off leash. She bristled at cars passing by, motorcycles, trucks, even pedestrians. We stopped walking her in the neighbourhood, and instead drove her to the park, or the lake - where there are fewer distractions. At our cabin in the mountains, she enjoyed the quiet of the tall trees.

Photos below: Radha in the mountains

In the last four years, Radha has opened like a rose. She is now interactive with us at home. In the morning she howls 'good morning,' enjoys pets and back-scratches. She drinks water day/night. 

She comes to the kitchen when I prepare her food. When I set her food down she does a 'two-step twirl' - leads with two front feet, twists her torso, jumps behind herself, then jumps clockwise back to the front. At walk-time, she howls, (we sing), she howls more. And at the end of the day, when I come home from work, she jumps off her bed, greets me in song. She sleeps on our bed, sandwiched between us.

We now walk her in the neighbourhood on leash. Car, truck, motorbike noises don't affect her. She obeys the 'heel' command when crossing streets, sniffs and marks poles, lawns, sand, bark, dirt. She is more tolerant of stranger-dogs. In parks, beaches, and the mountainside, she walks off-leash and stays near me. 

Radha doesn't like it when we go on holiday and leave her with a petsitter. Her 'roaming' roots resulted in three 'escapes'. Perhaps she goes looking for us? Each time, she was unharmed, rescued, and brought home. A miracle in a busy metropolis. 

Radha, our lesson in Karma.

Walking in San Francisco at night

Story and photos: Connie Hills
San Francisco

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Jelly in all her glory

Revisiting Vandana's INDog family after quite a long gap. Here is Jelly, perched on high places in true landrace dog fashion, looking gorgeous as always!

Now only Jelly remains of beautiful Chocos's clan.

The beautiful, serene-looking area in which they lived (in Palakkad) turned out to be death-trap after all. The state of Kerala seems to have little law enforcement or decency where dogs are concerned, even pet dogs. In the last few years Chocos, her daughters and her friend Karumban fell victim to hostile and criminal neighbours, and there was one tragedy after another. 

In an earlier post I had admired the freedom and safety this family seemed to enjoy; so much better, it seemed, than the fate of our city INDogs confined to sofas and pavement walks. Now with great sadness I have to take back those words. 

Two other pet INDogs I knew of in Kerala also disappeared without a trace. 

I suspect the life of village dogs all over India will also change a lot over the coming decades, even in real villages. More humans = more free-ranging dogs = less tolerance for dogs, even when there is no conflict as in this case. 

Coming back to Jelly, she is now confined to her family's area, for her own safety, but she is still very lucky as we can see from the photos, and lives like a queen (and looks like one too, especially in the second photo!

Photos: Vandana SB


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Sunday, July 2, 2017

We've brought back a classic: 'The Indian Dog' by W. V. Soman!

We have great news for fans of INDogs, Indies, aboriginal and landrace dogs, and Indian dog breeds!

Presenting for your reading pleasure, for the first time ever, the digitised version of the highly sought-after classic, W. V. Soman's 'THE INDIAN DOG'. The original reference on the subject, published in 1963 by Popular Prakashan, and long out of print.

This was the first comprehensive book on the topic of Indian dogs, and it remains an important reference which covers both man-made breeds as well as landrace varieties, with a chapter devoted to indigenous pariah dogs, and their differences from 'mongrels' or mix-breeds. A book then, that caters to the breed fancier seeking to discover Indian breeds, as well as the dog lover who admires the beauty of landrace dogs. 

We would like to thank Popular Prakashan for graciously granting us permission to digitise the only file copy in existence.

A huge thank you to Javed Ahmed of the INDog Project, for the idea and execution and for all the effort he put in to make it happen.

We thank Dr Krishna Mohan for his time and generous support.

chlorophyll brand & communications consultancy is thanked for their constant generosity and help, with special thanks to Sachin Pawar.

The book is made available as a free download for reference purposes only.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, for commercial purposes, or use, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.



Monday, June 5, 2017


Khushi is a dainty little INDog-mix who was born in Delhi and adopted in the USA. Her name means 'happiness' in Hindi!

Something about her reminds me of Kimaya - the same prettiness and grace. 

Her human Debra Strain Matvich sent in her photos!

Typical pariah dog behaviour - climbing on to high places

Debra writes:

Khushi is a year old mixed INDog. I am currently awaiting her DNA results as I am curious as to what breeds she is made up of. 

She was found on the side of the road at 3 months in New Delhi, emaciated and with a horrible maggot wound on her front right leg. Still has deep scars today. 

After rescue in Delhi

She was treated and given clearance to come to the USA by Dr Sharma's Pet Clinic in New Delhi. 

I got Khushi through a rescue group that occasionally receives desi dogs from India.

Khushi is INCREDIBLY smart, loyal and very energetic. She's a lovely dog and I couldn't be happier to have her as a part of my family! 

Text and photos: Debra Strain Matvich

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer and beach with the K Gang

Something nice to report, for those who read our last melancholy post, 'Our lost world' in January!

Back in Nagaon earlier this month, we actually did have one morning with no cars nearby.  So we decided to let the dogs run off leash for a bit. 

The only difference from before is that we had to muzzle Kimaya for her own safety. The trash is still there, and we can't stop her scavenging if she is free. So I bought a muzzle for her before the trip. She didn't like it at first, but she had fun playing with Kiba anyway!

And, we went to visit our darling Brownie at his home about 10 kilometres from our place. He was so excited he howled and howled for a few minutes! Kimaya was nervous at first because Brownie's Gang were all there - Rowdy Sasha and the others - but they were kept in the house and she soon relaxed. 

Now the photos! Hope you like them!


With Brownie!
At Brownie's place

Nagaon, Alibaug
Raigad District

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

King Tommy at Crufts!

Monique describes King Tommy's big day at Crufts following his win at Scruffts in November last year! You can read Tommy's story through the links in the Scruffts post.

It's been a long journey, from the qualifiers to the semi-finals and finally D-Day has arrived: The Scruffts finals at Crufts. 

After eight months, when the first qualifiers took place, little did we know that our King would be the first Indie dog to ever represent India at Crufts!

Countless dresses and collars had been tried on, tested and returned; finally I chose red and gold for Tommy and pink and purple for me.

We also went on a diet and I enrolled Tommy at swimming school to get his muscles really toned.

We have come far, Tommy and me, and this day was the day to show the world that the sky is the limit for a free-ranging dog from Anjuna!

Perfectly groomed and with our entourage in tow, we entered in style followed by a TV crew.

Finally we met our competition: The other five finalists that we were going to battle it out with.

I was sure it was going to be between Tommy and Fleur, the best rescue winner, a beautiful rescue from Romania. Scruffts loves a good story and being an inspiration for the 'underdogs'.

We all met and got to know each other as we prepared to enter the arena for a test run in front of the audience. King Tommy with his usual cool loved going into the limelight and all the crowds cheering us on.

After that we got whisked away to the media stand of the sponsors, the dog food company James Wellbeloved. In front of cameras and journalists we answered questions and Tommy posed like a King. The media loved hearing about his stories and how he posed for the cameras.

Wherever we went we had staff from the Kennel Club following us and showing us the way - we really felt like the superstars of Crufts! Private suite for lunch and special areas for resting - not that quiet, mind you, but as the day went along we realized that it wasn't just about the finals, it was as much the experience of being there and having all those fans meet our dogs and smile for the cameras. It was all quite overwhelming and a huge deal. But the clock kept ticking and eventually we got to that moment when we got escorted to the green room for the finals. We had been there the whole day and Tommy was starting to get tired. At 6 p.m. in the evening we had been in the Crufts madness for seven hours and I was quite tired too. Another finalist was fast asleep in the green room!

Oh well, let's do our best. Lights on, presenter and an arena packed with 6000 people, live stream out to the world, and the camera crew from the documentary all there.

When our name got called it was amazing, I couldn't help but smile when Tommy entered the arena with his usual strut and proud posture. Wow! And then the judges came on and the tough part began. This year they had chosen a sports figure, some famous rower, and a Kennel Club judge.

I told them as quickly as I could Tommy's story and all of his achievements, hoping that we would nail it. It was really nerve-wracking for me, and for Tommy, as usual, nothing seemed to faze him.

Once the judges had spoken to everyone I made Tommy do his 'show pose' for that last chance to impress, but they were very quick to decide and when the name of the winner was called out, a young boy with his dog, I really tried to hide my disappointment! Not our day today, but as we did our walk around the arena, I thought, 'OK, you wanna see a winner, here he is!' and Tommy did a fun strut just to show off!

It's easy to forget, that just because you don't win the finals, that you haven't won to get there.

To me the finals are just the icing on the cake. To go from 1600 dogs and be one of the final 6, and on top of that be 'Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog of the UK' is quite an achievement.

Throughout this journey everyone has loved Tommy and along the way we have taught people about Indian dogs and what special beings they are.


...'Because it is in this moment of a definitive farewell that we know
what someone means to us.
The act of wishing someone a good life even if it means us not
being a part of it is the purest act of love. To know what is best
for someone...'

'King Tommy' is an adventure novel based on the true story of King Tommy, the first Indian dog to become a Therapy Dog in the USA.

It is also a story of hope and change and seeing change through.

Emotions run high in this whirlwind story where three characters will have their lives changed for the better by helping Tommy, a small Indian dog who is born in Goa.

Garati, a young Indian bride takes care of this small puppy and his mother during the first monsoon rains. Abused by her husband she dreams of a better life and to do something with herself. Lauren, on a journey across the world to escape the pain and guilt of not being able to save her family, lands in Goa with the intention of turning her life around. Jerome, a self-obsessed yoga teacher with outrageous doctrines, dreams of America and fame.

How will they make sure this little dog ends up where he needs to be?

For each book sold a donation will be made to the King Tommy Foundation, which sponsors small NGOs and private individuals who help free-ranging dogs in rural areas.

For Indian readers I have made a special price, INR 690, postage included from the UK.
Order your copy on www.kingtommy.org and choose the 'India Special Offer' payment option.

Story: Monique G Nerman
Photos: Tony Vickers, Deb Bridges

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Eliot Goyel

The K Gang and I just learned about this adorable Indy living in our neighbourhoood! We're very excited! 

His human Vitek sent in his story and these cute photos:

Eliot was born on the roadside in Bangalore, outside a friend's building. His litter had been run over by a truck and many of his siblings were killed. My friend put up a post on Facebook looking for people to adopt them. This was in 2008, and I was living in a city away from family and friends. At the time I was not looking for a dog. I knew what a big responsibility it was. But I was in a transient phase of my life, and I went over to see the pups, if anything, just to play with them.

They were all friendly and loving, and I decided I would adopt one. Choosing a pup is difficult, but one of them kept coming up and jumping on me. The choice was easy. A few minutes later, he was in a cardboard box in my car off to start his new life. The first few nights he whimpered and shivered - it was equally scary for both of us. But as the days went on, he became braver and braver, venturing out of his box and playing...and pooping...lots of pooping!

I named him Eliot after T. S. Eliot, one of my favourite poets. Later it dawned on me that T. S. Eliot had also written what would be the basis for the musical play 'Cats'. The name fit like a glove.

Eliot and I moved back to Bombay in 2009, and he has since lived with me in Cuffe Parade. Much like me, he is a unique character! He is his own master, he plays when he wants and lazes when he wants. He can also be a grouch and a brat. But that's why I love him.

He will turn 9 this year, but he didn't get the memo - he acts just like he did when he was a pup. He is as mischievous as ever. It's easy to tell when he has done something wrong as his look will turn sheepish.

I've had dogs before in my family, mostly breed dogs. But Eliot is the most unique dog we've ever had. His expressions are priceless, and his ears, his ears are the funniest I have seen. They point in different directions and you can tell his mood by the way his ears are. When he is playful they will stand up like antennas. When he's sleepy they fold back, and when he is curious they dart around in multiple directions.

He has a taste for the finer things in life. He loves liver pate. After he tried it the first time he howled and howled until I would give him more! He loves to share my food, which is good because it cuts down on my own intake!

He's the best friend I could ask for, and I hope that I have been able to make him as happy as he has made me. He has also changed my outlook on street dogs. I've always loved them but after having Eliot, I love them more. My wife and I feed the dogs outside our building every night, and I always see a little bit of Eliot in all of them.

Story and photos: Vitek Goyel

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