Here’s to free spirits

Streeties are fascinating. Someone once asked me to describe the attitude of a street dog. Is he friendly with people? Is he cautious of people? There were many questions. I pondered over this for a while and then finally the best way I could describe it was that streeties are “cautiously curious about people and life in general”. They like people. They will approach people. But at the same time, they never let their guard down. They are free spirits and hate being confined. Here is Debolina’s story of Tini, another free spirit.

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Tini stayed with us for five days recovering from poisoning. Her only thought was when she could leave and join her sisters whom she watched from our balcony.
Photo Credit: Riju Dutta

Author
Sindhoor
Canine Behaviour Counselor , Bangalore Hundeskole 


Welcoming mango showers

I bet everyone is happy to welcome the rains to Bangalore. While we are painfully aware of the changing weather patters, let’s for now just enjoy the spirit of the mango showers, with this lovely picture postcard from Pondy.

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One rainy evening in Pondicherry, this little one came running up to me. A bit of petting and a couple of biscuits later, she was good to go. Everybody needs some love

Photo Credit: Akshar V S


Selvi’s elves

Selvi looks like a normal person. She works as a domestic help in India leading a rather humble life, perhaps earning around $70 a month. But Selvi is no ordinary person. She has a remarkable crew of elves – her streeties.

Kam Raghavan, the person who happened to spot Selvi’s elves, had this to report: “She started working a couple of years ago in one of the apartments in the building you see. There was only one dog on the premises then. She started feeding that dog. Over the last couple of years the brood has become larger. She no longer works at the building. But travels to it every morning with food for her beloved pooches. ”

P.S. We are still get get reports on what the elves are up to. If you are around MRC Nagar, Chennai and spot Selvi, do say a “Hi” and ask her about her elves. We might get some clues. If she permits sharing a picture of her elves, do upload and hashtag it with #selviselves #bombatdawgz.

Selvis elves

Selvi’s elves enjoying their snack break
Photo Credit: Kam Raghavan

If you think Selvi’s elves are up to something super cool and want to support her feeding program, give her a buzz. She apparently is open to investors in her project. Leave a comment if you’d like to reach her.

Do you have a similar story to report or an article to publish? Leave a comment.

Author
Sindhoor
Canine Behaviour Counselor , Bangalore Hundeskole 

 


2014’s first BD wallpaper !

Hey everyone,

Apologies for the long silence on the blog. We are back with a spanking new wallpaper for all you beautiful people. I photographed this image back in 2010 in Rishikesh during a morning wandering around the area:) This image is a part of my ongoing project about our community dogs (as we choose to call them over ‘strays’)

To make it your desktop wallpaper – Just click on the image and voila.

BD jan edition (1 of 1) copy

A beautiful, peaceful and most importantly a puppylove filled 2014 to you all from team BD.

Will back soon with a post featuring a touching poem by one of the BD members.

Until then.

x ramya


Puppy Handbook

Hey there you guys !

A long pending post from our archives for new puppy parents.  Put together so nicely by Sonya Balasubramaniam and Ashita Mathew. Thank you lovely ladies  !

Many of you on the group might have already seen it, and for the new members, please read on or download it here : http://bit.ly/1c6SsSw

*woof*

CUPA cal 2014 (560 of 581)photo © ramya reddy

Congratulations

You are about to embark on one of life’s most joyous journeys as a pet parent. If you’ve had pets before, you have a fair idea of what to expect. As a first time parent, you’re feeling a whole lot of emotions right now. You’re happy, excited and probably even a little overwhelmed at the prospect of bringing your new puppy home.
DO NOT WORRY!

This handy guide will help you and your pet start off on the right paw!

What To Expect

Just like human beings, each dog has his or her own individual personality, and will behave differently. Some of them have had traumatic experiences in their little lives already, and entering new surroundings is a big change for your puppy.

You will need to be GENTLE, PATIENT and KIND to help ease your puppy into her new family.
Till your puppy is fully adjusted, it is natural for your puppy to:

  • Be a bundle of nervous energy
  • Be scared
  • Whimper, cry or bawl all day and all night for 1 or 2 days
  • Be depressed

Reassure your puppy that she is safe, and loved. Talk to her in a soothing voice. She will understand the voice. Pet her and give her a cuddle; Try not to leave her alone at any time till she gains confidence.

The most important thing is for you not to panic and remain calm. If you remain calm the puppy too will learn to calm down in a few days.

IMPORTANT: A puppy is a lifetime commitment.
Your puppy is leaving behind it’s own family to live with yours.

She is a living being that might have ups and downs in her life.

Your own life might take unpleasant turns.

She will also grow up to become big dog.

In all situations, families stick together.
Proceed ONLY if you are 100% sure to make a life-long commitment.

If you have any doubts, please do not proceed!

Before The Puppy Arrives

ü  Decide on who will care for the pup. The pup will need constant attention till it is fully toilet trained. The pup will also require 4 meals day for the first few months

ü  Find a part of your house that the puppy can be confined in when left alone. In it’s early days a puppy does not know what it can and cannot play with and may damage valuables left within it’s reach

ü  Create a safe, warm and comfortable sleeping area for the new puppy if possible, in your own bedroom. Puppies, just like babies, will cry if left alone at night

ü  Decide on your budget for the puppy. The costs of keeping a puppy will include food, medical bills, toys, chewies, leash, collar and bowls.

ü  Decide on making a lifetime commitment to your puppy.

When The Puppy Arrives

Veterinarians

ü  Make an immediate appointment with your veterinarian to have your puppy undergo a wellness check-up.

ü  Ask your vet about deworming and vaccinations.

ü  Get his advice on the right food for your pup and the feeding schedule based on your budget constraints, time constraints or other constraints and your lifestyle

Bond with your vet as you will need to go back to him frequently. Ensure he learns as much about your pup and you as possible, so that he can give you advice that is best suited for your lifestyle.

Food

ü  Pick food based on your vets advice

ü  If you decide on readymade dog food, buy sufficient food from local pet shop. Refer to our directory for list of pet shops and online shops that sell dog food.

ü  Pick bowls for your pup – at least 2 for food, 2 for water. Ensure that they are cleaned frequently and the water is fresh and clean.

ü  Several human food can be poisonous for dogs. Avoid feeding table scraps to dogs to ensure she won’t end up eating such. This is also a great way to train her not to beg.

ü  Stock up on dog-treats. This can be used for training and can also in to keep her from begging for human food.

Some food should never be fed to dogs as they can even be fatal to dogs. Some have to be fed with extreme caution as they might be dangerous in certain quantities or fed a certain way. A vet should be consulted before feeding these to a dog.

Never Feed

Consult vet before feeding

  • Coffee, tea & other caffeine
  • Grapes, raisins & drinks extracted from them (like wine & grape juice)
  • Chocolate
  • Candy, chewing gum & lipstick (they steal it from handbags & eat it)
  • Fruit seeds/pits contain small quantities of cyanide. Ex: Pips of apple, pearl, plum
  • Sugary food & drunks
  • Alcohol
  • Raw chicken bones
  • Raw eggs & meat
  • Salted food
  • Onions & garlic

Schedule

Consistency is very important in a dog’s life. Try and create a schedule for feeding, playing/exercise, toileting and grooming right from the start. This will help during obedience and toilet training.

Socialization

Your puppy’s first few weeks are filled with new sights and sounds, like pressure cooker sounds, children playing etc. Expose her to as many different situations as she might encounter in her life. Reassure her when she is scared. Give her confidence to go explore. The more she is exposed to, the less likely she is to react badly to it when she grows up.

Once your vet gives you the go-ahead, make time to help socialize her with other dogs. This will prove very useful when taking her for walks or to the park

Bathing & Grooming

Dogs don’t sweat. However their fur might collect dust. The Ph of their skin is also different. Due to all of these factors, neither human products nor human methods of cleaning work on dogs.

Dogs should not be washed frequently. Follow the schedule provided by your vet or dog-groomer. Do not use human or baby shampoo or toothpaste. There are pet specific products. Your groomer or vet can advice you on the right product for your dog, based on your budget, your dogs coat type and dogs age.

Invest in a good brush, after consulting a groomer. While dogs cannot be bathed frequently, they can and should be brushed frequently. It has several benefits:

ü  Less fur at home

ü  Reduce lose fur from the dog, thus reducing bad odour

ü  Increased blood circulation to the skin, making the coat shine

ü  Time to bond with your dog. Most dogs calm down while brushing and cherish your love and touch. Talk about your day to your day and see observe how he learns to read your mood and respond to it.

Your puppy also will need regular cleaning of the ears. Earwax causes irritation. Your puppy might need nails clipped carefully. Dogs nails have veins in nails and bleed if not clipped carefully. Contrary to popular belief, dogs will also need teeth brushed with special, non-toxic dog-toothpaste & anal sack cleaning. A professional groomer or your vet can help you with all of these.

Other Dos & Don’ts

More Questions

We have listed a several frequently asked questions below. If you have more questions, your vet is a good person to ask. You should also feel free to contact the person who gave you your puppy. There are several resources on the internet that you will find useful. You could also reach out to other dog owners to help you who are part of Bombat Dawgz.

10 Frequently Asked Questions

1. My pup is crying a lot. Is something wrong?

Unlikely! Your puppy is just scared. It is very normal as she has left behind what is familiar and is in a new environment. Give her a lot of love. Feed her some good food. Sit on the floor and throw a small ball for her to play with. Distract her. If there was something bothering her, a visit to the vet will sort it out. Once your vet says she is ok, sit back and relax. Give her a little time. She is just a baby. She will be fine in a few days.

2. I take her on walks. She still urinates/defecates in my house. Is this normal?

Yes. This is normal. A puppy does not have a concept of inside & outside a house. They also have very little bladder control, like a baby in a diaper and will need to go to the toilet as soon as they wake up and as soon as they eat. You will have to teach her toilet manners. Observe when she goes to the toilet. This will help in training her. But don’t worry, it is possible to train her in due time. And once she learns, she will be very disciplined about following the rules you put down for her. Dogs really like to please their masters.

3. Is she vaccinated?

If you receive a puppy profile during adoption, that will give you details on vaccination and deworming. If you do not receive the profile, please ensure you gather this information from the person who gave you the puppy, before your first visit to the vet. This is important information for you to carry to the vet.

4. There are many stray dogs near my house. Where should I take her for a walk?

Consult your vet on when you can take your dog out for a walk. It is not advisable to expose your puppy to other dogs, especially street dogs, before your puppy is adequately vaccinated. Find an isolated patch of grass or mud for her to use as her toilet and carry her to that spot if required. Try not to put her down before reaching that spot. In due time, your puppy and the street dogs might learn to accept each other. But do not allow contact at an early stage.

5. What veterinarian should I take her to?

Pick a veterinarian close to your house. Given the traffic situation, a vet close by will be useful in case of emergencies. If you do not get a directory of veterinarians as part of this handout, quickly identify a close by vet, either by asking other neighbouring dog-owners or looking at the yellow pages.

6. Can you recommend what I should feed her?

This is best recommended by the vet, after examining your puppy and assessing your own situation and constraints. There are several different brands of dog food available in pet shops at different budgets, containing different ingredients. They are also several people who deliver home made food. You have a wide range to choose from. Your vet will be your best ally in selecting the food for your dog.

7. When can I keep her outside the house?

It is not advisable to keep the puppy outside the house. Dogs are highly social creatures and yearn for company all the time. Keeping them outside causes severe emotional trauma. However if you are keen on doing this, consult your vet on when your puppy will be ready.

8. My puppy is biting. Is she aggressive?

No. Your puppy is not aggressive. Puppies use their mouth like humans use their hands. They use their mouth to grasp things and play. But they are still learning how much pressure causes pain to other dogs and to humans. When they are biting, they are just trying to play with you. You can teach your puppy that it hurts you by making a high pitched yelping sound (like dogs do when in pain) and end the play session. Soon they will learn bite control.

9. How do I toilet train my puppy?

Your puppy is naturally inclined to pick a porous area, away from its bed (like lawn, mud or carpet) to pee on. It is likely to go to the toilet after each meal and after waking up. We can use these natural tendencies to train the puppy.

As soon as your puppy wakes up or finishes each meal, take her and some tasty treats to the designated areas and wait. Have patience, take a book or something to keep you entertained and wait! Be prepared to wait for a long time in the beginning. As soon as your puppy does what is expected of her, praise her profusely in a very excited tone and reward with her favorite treats. You can also run around a little and engage her in a short game that she loves. Basically make her feel extremely happy for having done such a good job.

But remember accidents will happen. If you catch her in the act, make a loud distracting noise that will stop her and carry her to her designated spot. If the accident happened when you were not watching, there is NOTHING you can do. Quietly clean it up and spray vinegar on it. Dogs can smell their own pee and are likely to pick the same spot again. Vinegar helps remove the odour. Do NOT punish your puppy, stuff her nose in it, or yell at her. She will not understand what is happening.

A puppy is eager to please you and if you continue to praise her and treat her when she goes to the toilet in the designated spot and refuse to react when she does it elsewhere, in her eagerness to please you, she will try her best to go to the toilet only where you want her to go. Once she understands what you are expecting of her, she will always strive to please you.

10. Does my puppy need any other training?

This is entirely up to you. It is usually a good idea to train the puppy to walk on a leash, not to bite and to obey simple commands like Sit, Down, Stay. You could use a professional trainer or do it on your own. There is plenty of information available on the internet and in book stores to help you decide what is right for your dog. Training your puppy can be a rewarding experience as it helps bond with your puppy. However if you are unable to keep the sessions fun and it is causing stress either to you or your puppy then it is best to avoid training or use professional help

 

Directory of Useful Services

Vets

Malleshwaram Dr. Shivprakash: Westend Clinic, 23461295 / 9845031295
Indiranagar Dr. Ramesh , Dr. Pawan, Dr. Ajitesh:Cessna LifeLine- www.cessnalifeline.com, 91-080-2528-9817
HSR Dr. Ansar Kamran: 080 25726989 (clinic) / +91 98451 16616
Koramangala Dr Nanjundappa:  Vm+(91)-80-66366410  (does house visit)No.15 Nr Kabab Magic Restaurant, 1st Mn,1st Blk, Koramangala, Cartman – 98451 98781, 25530121, 25530304
Whitefield Dr. Lohit : 9845358602 http://www.bangalorepethospital.com/
Yelahanka Dr. Azeem,  Neha Pet Clinic – +91 98441 03321 Assists in air transportations and pet imports along with all paper work (BIAL). Does house visits.
Sahakarnagar / R.T. Nagar Suke Pet Clinic: Contact: Sujaya – +91 98451 93057 Dr Basvanna gowda:  9844025928
J.P. Nagar Dr. Pampapathy080 26653555, Mob: +919740066081 Advisable to take a prior appointment. 
Banashankari Dr.Srikant: Mob:9844057919, Prakruthi Veterinary Hospital
Other Dr Michael Morton (does house visit)- 9243453440
Trauma Service VoSD:  http://vet.strays.in/, 9880119900 (Service in limited areas only)

Pet Shops

Koramangala
  • Glenands Pet Shop: 475, 1st A Cross, 5th Block, KHB Colony, Koramangala . Ph: 080 4092 7524
  • Shevar Groomers & Pet Shop– #832, 12th main, 4 block, Koramangala. Ph: 9880176610
Bridage Road
  • Paws the pet store –  No. 10, K 2nd Street, Markham road, Ashoknagar. Ph: 4131 7297
Church Street
  • Glenands Pet Shop: 35 Church Gate, Church Street, beside Empire Hotel. Ph: 9845001449
Indiranagar
  • Glenands: 1, 17th ‘F’ Cross, Indiranagar 2nd Stage, Ph:09845001449
  • Cessna Lifeline (Pet shop attached to clinic)
Online Shopping

Groomers

Koramangala
  • Wags n Wiggles Grooming: Ph: 9845440541
  • Shevar Grooming – (Same address as pet shop)
Indiranagar
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy Grooming- CMH Road. Ph: 98440 58080
  • Muddy Paws  Grooming– Shobana 9886165226
R.T. Nagar
  • Wags n Whiskers Grooming: Patel’s Inn, Ph: 9845964087

October Photo of the Month & Wallpaper

bd blog oct 2013

Hello folks,

How has the festive season been treating you all so far ? Diwali is around the corner, so do think about whisking your pups away on a minivacation during the crazy cracker days… aaaand we trust all of us who adore our pups will continue to spread the message of celebrating noise-free and lots of light 🙂

Feel free to download the image above for your desktop wallpaper. Just click and there you go.

A little snippet about the picture – Photographed these guys a couple years back, deep in the Nilgirs. This old man had tucked a packet of ParleG in his pocket, this adorable babydog in his big, warm hands, and he was beaming. Such a simple moment. And priceless. I had a feeling that the fella was in very good hands.

Happy weekend and lots of love, wags and licks from team BD & all the BD pups !

xo ramya


Photo of the Month + a Goodie

Hello there !

Unveiling our first column here on the BD blog. Photo of the month. 🙂

Here amongst us on BD, we have a wealth of photographs we’d love to share with all you awesome dog lovers. We’ll be featuring endearing street scenes with our community fellas, our fur-kids at home, etc. All captured by team BD.  We will, in due time, start inviting and curate photographs taken by our BD group members too. Each photograph will have it’s own desktop wallpaper version to adorn you computer screens. Here’s to you all and the most beautiful creatures known to mankind…

For, as Josh Billings said – “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

And every moment with them is celebration, solace, laughter.

bd-sept photo

PS – Just click on the image to download your desktop wallpaper for September !

xo ramya


I HEART Liver

by Uttam Jaggu
Here is a recipe that I just tried and has turned out to be a huge hit – especially with Nishi. Which is saying a LOT. It takes less than a half hour.
I bought some chicken liver to add to Nishi and Tigger’s usual meal (which I will get to later). Then I remembered that Sindhoor keeps complaining about the lack of good quality treats that come in “training sizes”. So, after a quick look at various resources online, I decided to make what I can only describe as my version of liver bread for now.
Caveat emptor – I suck at baking as i prefer cooking by feel rather than by measurement and this has  been my one and only attempt at it.  But, I think I will definitely try it again, given how much the mutts love it. So, unlike to other baking recipes, this will have approximations :).
 Image
Ingredients:
  1. 1/2 kg of chicken liver(with its juices if you have it, else some chicken stock)
  2. 1 to 1 and 1/2 cup of whole grain flour(i used atta, but ground oatmeal will be better)
  3. 3/4 to 1 cup of maida
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1/4 to 1/2 cup of oil
  6. Herbs – dried or fresh(I used basil, thyme, oregano – I suggest you experiment)
Cooking method:
  • Pre-heat oven to 180-190 degrees Celsius
  • Put the liver (with liquid), eggs and oil into a blender/food processor and blend till there is an emulsified liquid. This should take 4-5 minutes.
  • Mix 1 cup of whole grain and half a cup of maida with the herbs till it forms a uniform mixture.
  • In a large bowl, mix the wet and dry ingredients till the mixture has the consistency of a slightly runny cake dough. Use whole grain flour to get to that point.
  • Coat a baking tray(ideally an inch deep) generously with fat, pour the mixture into it and bake for 15-20 minutes(the time will depend on the moisture content of your dough and the depth of your tray). You need to watch it raise and cook fully. Let it rest till it completely cools.
  • The resulting consistency will be that of a heavy bread. And very easy to cut into 1 cm x 1 cm cubes.

Image


Happiness is a Warm Puppy Devouring Her B’day Cake

by

Monami Bhattacharya

“No symphony orchestra ever played music like a two-year-old girl laughing with a puppy.”
– Bern Williams

It happens every other day at our home, albeit with slightly older girls and boys. You see, one of the biggest advantages of living in a gated community that the other amenities never match up to is having the neighbors’ kids adopt you because you have a dog 🙂

ma belle

There’s noway they would stay away on the dogs’ birthday either. So, if the kids get cupcakes to relish, how can the dogs not get pupcakes, eh? While the kids got store-bought cupcakes, here’s what I baked for Ma Belle and Leo on Ma Belle’s 5th. Let me know how your pup liked it!

Belle and Leo’s Pawrrrty Cake Recipe!

Preparation time: 30 mins | Cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients :

Whole-wheat flour – 2.5 cups

Eggs – 3 – whisked

Baking powder – 0.5 tsp

Chicken Liver – 2 cups

Grated carrot – 1 cup

Pumpkin cubes – 1 cup

Milk – 1 cup

Water – 1 cup (approx.)

Butter – 50 g

Peanut butter – for frosting

Equipment :

Cake Oven (Microwave with convection OR OTG)

Mixing bowls

Sieve

Blender

Baking dishes – round cake tin and muffin tray

Ladles and whisks

Cake and muffin paper liners

Method

Preparation :

1. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large cake mixing bowl and toss.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well.

3. Add milk to the eggs and whish again.

4. Blanch and parboil the pumpkin and chicken liver separately.

5. Cool the boiled pumpkin and half of the chicken liver in an ice bath and blend it into a smooth paste.

6. Add softened butter to the flour mix in step1 and mix into a crumble.

7. Add the pumpkin and chicken liver paste to this mix and fold in.

8. Add the whisked eggs and fold in.

9. Now, add water to this mix and whisk till you achieve the desired consistency.

10. Add the grated carrot and mix lightly.

11. Roughly chop the remaining boiled chicken liver and keep aside.

Baking :

1. Preheat the oven at 200 C.

2. Grease and line the baking dishes – cake tin and 5 slots in the muffin tray.

3. Pour the cake mix into the readied baking dishes.

4. Generously add the chicken liver chunks into the cake mix.

5. Bake the cake at 180 C for 25 mins.

Note: At 20 mins, use a toothpick to check the progress to ensure that it isn’t over baked and dry.

6. Bake the muffins at 180 C for 20 mins.

7. Note: At 15 mins, use a toothpick to check the progress to ensure that it isn’t over baked and dry.

Assembling :

1. On the serving dish, place the round cake slightly off center.

2. Remove the liners and arrange the muffins around the round cake to resemble a paw.

3. Smear chunky peanut butter on the cake top.

4. Use grated carrot to write what you please on the cake top.

Its ready for the pawrty!

Do you have a favourite recipe for your pups ? If so, please to spread the love by sharing your recipes in the comments box below ! 🙂


When a little goes a long way.

by

Shreyas Jayakumar, Ramya Reddy & Ashita Mathew

Photographs : Ramya Reddy, Tiya Joshi(as marked), Varsha Karnik(as marked)

IMG_3511

It’s hard to summarize the overwhelming feeling we experienced when our paths crossed with the troubled souls residing at what was once the economically Weaker Section housing complex at Ejipura. What were once secure housing blocks, have now been reduced to dirt to benefit mankind’s greed. A swanky shopping mall is destined to occupy a site that has seen some tragic outcomes as a result of its deracination. Mountains of excavated earth, tons of trash and leftover remnants of the residents’ paltry possessions – the scene was eerily similar to what we see in many disaster movies, but this is exactly what greeted us when we – Ramya, Varsha, Ashita, Tiya and Shreyas – entered the hurriedly-barricaded entrance. Armed with boiled eggs, biscuits, bread and milk, we made our way into the plot, with only one objective in mind – to feed as many of the hungry, displaced dogs (and cats) as we could find.

tiya grid                                                                                              Braving the rubble. Images : Tiya Joshi

IMG_3328

 when every bit matters

That sense of sinking despair had already set in as we were approaching the folks who would lead us to the several dogs that desperately needed to be fed. We were received with a sense of remorse and bitterness (as we had expected). ‘Dogs over people?’, we were asked by many. We had done sufficient homework and knew that the meals for the human population were being tended to, and were also told by our peers not to be bogged down by these very human, outbursts. We went right ahead and started feeding the needy babies – over 80 dogs and puppies that were rendered homeless and abandoned – without any further thoughts affecting what we had set out to do.

blue                                                                                               awaiting a home…

feeding…and hungry

Naveen Rolands and his team at Canine Cuisine had already stepped in – at the very beginning of this unfortunate displacement – volunteering to take on the responsibility of feeding the dogs wholesome meals, each day for as long as they could. The generous donations that further came in from the members of Bombat Dawgz, has kept Canine Cuisine’s efforts going strong till date.  Anoopa Anand & Meera Pillai were there with timely medical help as was CUPA. CUPA was also taking in some of the younger puppies and injured dogs, besides feeding the dogs inside the premises everyday. But the enormity and scattered nature of the devastation was such that there always more that was needed, and it was imperative that these parched animals get every last bit of what we could give. And so we decided to make this a regular affair, and feed them at least twice a week, as a complementary activity to the existing feeding efforts by Canine Cuisine and CUPA.

Contrary to media reports, the policemen and security guards posted around the site were extremely supportive of our intent to feed the hungry animals. No sooner had we entered, than we were mobbed by over 80 of the friendliest dogs you can ever imagine. Dogs of all shapes, ages and sizes. Some with severe physical deformities and ugly open wounds and all of them most definitely confused, hungry and thirsty and yet, the love they showered on us, a bunch of strangers, was such a wonderful thing. One would expect feeding 80 dogs to be a chaotic experience but what we encountered was far from the truth. Most of the dogs would patiently wait for their turn, their impatience shown only in the furious wagging of their tails. Very quickly we noticed that the dogs had divided themselves into 3 main packs and would pick a fight with a rival pack member if he/she got too close to their territory. To tackle this, we had to divide ourselves into 3 groups so ensure that everyone was fed. It was a bit of trial and error, as one would expect, but an immense learning experience for us that was extremely rewarding too.

varsha:ashAshita shares a warm moment with Tommy (L); Varsha chats up Lucy, the spaniel (R)

tommy2Gentle Tommy boy was one of our star dogs ! (L) ; Shreyas & Ramya talk to Tommy (R)

Over the next two months, we continued feeding the ‘Eji-dogs’ twice a week. We started carrying a giant canister of water and used some big plastic bowls that Ramya and Ashita had as we realized that the dogs were totally parched. Watching them lap up the cool water was so fulfilling in itself. Ridhima and Sandeep from PAWS the pet store donated around 15 rolls of Butch that ended up being such a special treat to the doggies. We also had a few volunteers help us out by providing us with some much-needed extra sets of hands. We noticed that there were quite a few cats hiding amidst the rubble but they would not let us approach them and instead waited until we moved away to eat the bits of egg and bread that we had left out for them. Just outside the plot, on the footpaths were the temporary tents erected by the displaced residents. These residents had also got their dogs, numbering around 25, out on the footpath and we decided to feed them too.

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We were an assorted bunch of people who came together due to our love for animals and our need to help them. Ashita, who was in her last trimester, shares in her own words, how therapeutic the whole thing was. She says, “I was 6.5 months pregnant then, would work from morning till evening at my salon, and then we used to go to meet these fellas in the evening. It was tiring and walking around the rubble hoping not to slip n fall wasn’t easy, but those faces, those happy faces who later started recognizing us from a distance and them coming and greeting us with kisses and jumping around was just too good to not go there again. It became a routine for us girls to go there at least twice a week. This was my little secret – spending time twice a week with these doggies, as nobody would have allowed me to go given my heavily pregnant state. Other than my husband nobody knew these secret visits of mine, to meet these lovely doggies. I continued to meet them, feed them and play with them well into my 8th month.”

varsha-grid   Ashita & Varsha groom the these little ones at Wags & Wiggles before Sreyas & Varsha take them to PPF (for adoption). Images : Varsha Karnik

It was evident, that in such a short span of time, these dogs had become very dear to us. We would eagerly look forward to visiting Ejipura and playing with the brats and we started noticing the various personalities of the dogs, their peculiar mannerisms, the unique way that they showed their love for us and it was hard not to fall in love with each one of them. Pretty soon, we had even named a few of the dogs that were our favourites. And so below are some of the stars:

* Tommy: This giant-of-a-dog is less than a year old but is the size of an adult Great Dane. A big heart in an even bigger body, Tommy was always the first to greet us as soon as we got out of the auto/car and was the last to leave. One day, Shreyas had to wait for 15 minutes to catch an auto. It was already 7pm but Tommy stood next to her the whole time until she got an auto and then gave her one final lick and trotted off. We recently heard distressing reports that he was stolen in the dead of the night by a few people. We tried to speak to the displaced residents but made no headway. We hope and pray that he is somewhere safe, healthy and happy.

* Mangy boy: who later turned out to be Mangy girl. She was this loving, friendly, 3 month-old puppy with severe mange on her back when we initially met her. Since she was tiny, the bigger dogs were constantly attacking her. After a few weeks of regular food and some topical application of skin cream, she was getting better. When we last saw her, she was limping really badly. Unfortunately when Varsha and Shreyas went to pick her up and drop her at PPF, she was missing and has not been seen since

* Oreo: She has to be the cutest doggy ever. With a black coat and a white sliver of fur between her eyes, she looked like an Oreo cookie. She was being fed by Niranjan, the security guard, and would love to sit on our laps the whole time. She was dropped off at Precious Paws Foundation (PPF) by Varsha and Shreyas and we have just heard the wonderful news by Debbie who runs PPF that Oreo has been adopted.

* German: So- called because of the hint of German Shepherd DNA in her, German was another of those puppies like Mangy and Oreo who really tugged at our heartstrings. It was so much fun to see German running towards us from the far end of the plot as soon as we entered. German was also dropped off at PPF and has now been adopted into a loving home where she shares a big garden with 3 dogs, 2 squirrels and a cat.

* Patch: One of the most handsome fellas we’ve seen. Patch has a white face, save for a brown patch over one eye. Very regal-looking and despite being an obvious senior in pack hierarchy, he is one adorable doggy who was always super-gentle with us.

* One-eye: This is an old boy with one eye that was either gouged out or injured by a rock/firecracker, perhaps when he was young. He used to get driven away by the other healthier dogs and therefore, Shreyas used to always feed him outside the barricades. Somehow he knew that she would always feed him and he would wait outside for his turn.

There are many more dogs that are not named but are still dear to us. To each one of us, these dogs have shown a very different side to themselves and the reasons why we love them so much may also differ. But the fact remains that the Eji dogs have found their place in our hearts forever. The sight of these dogs bounding towards us with happy barks, wagging tails with no expectations, but only to bless us with an abundance of love and wet kisses – despite their suffering – is deeply moving. When will we humans ever learn to give without expecting anything in return? There are many lessons to be learnt from these wonderful creatures.

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varsha3                                                                                               Image : Varsha Karnik

Ashita sums it up perfectly when she says, “It made me realize how much I love these creatures and that I was willing to take risks and be there and be a part their lives. My husband could see the happiness on my face every time I returned from the slums rather than sitting at home and resting during those heavily pregnant months. People asked me why I am helping the animals when so many humans need help. I said there are angels to help them out…but we are angels for these doggies and we’re doing our part in this universe.” Don’t you all agree?

These are the kind of experiences that reinforce, that which truly matters in the matrix of life – to give and to do so unconditionally. Because what comes back, as is written in the laws of nature, is tenfold – it is pure love that is brutally honest and clear of expectations or judgments of any sort. These creatures are capable of that and much more. We can be certain of that.

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Since there has been no clear mention of actionable measures on the authorities’ part regarding relocating the folks of Ejipura colony, expecting them to do something about these poor darlings might be a grim possibility. Some of the dogs have found homes and for the rest…one of best possible solutions, as of now, is for Canine Cuisine to continue to feed them as long as need be. So please consider making a small donation on a continuing basis to Canine Cuisine so their efforts towards this cause won’t be dampened. All the details can be found here :https://www.facebook.com/groups/BombatDawgz/doc/213655648773871/

And for those of you in Bangalore who might be considering a pet, please remember there are so many beautiful, clever, healthy Indian dogs waiting for loving homes, right here in your backyard. We will shortly be adding an album with images of all of these dogs looking for forever homes on Bombat Dawgz. Please stay tuned.