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 :).
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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.

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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 🙂

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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)

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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

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 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.

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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.

blacky

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.


Amma Amazing!

By Monami Bhattacharya

“It is true that kindness or apathy is not bound to any man-made social strata or class. It isn’t age-bound either. It is a state of being irrespective of poverty or the riches, youth or old age. And, the more you meet people, strange or familiar, the more this is reaffirmed.”

♦♦♦

During the week, my husband and I lead very busy work lives – with two startups and the daily drudgery. My twin therapies that I indulge in on a daily basis are watering the potted plants and taking a lazy stroll with my dogs – Ma Belle and Leo – the only time that I don’t allow myself any worldly worries. Doesn’t it sound familiar?

Over the weekends, we spend a lot of quality time with each other, friends, extended family, and of course the dogs! And one of our favorite things to do is to lookout for pet-friendly dining options. (You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how pet-friendly Bangalore eateries are increasingly becoming) During one of those hunts, we came across a hole-in-the-wall place in Indiranagar that sells rolls. The egg rolls are splendid, no doubt, but what actually drew us there more was the “Amma” right next door.

“Amma” is 80 plus and lives alone as her children are married and settled abroad, visiting only once or twice a year. She has been living a solitary life here for decades.

Solitary is the wrong choice of word because it isn’t as true.

There are some 15 odd dogs on her street keeping her company. She takes care of their food daily and medical attention when required, apart from providing companionship, comfort and love on a regular basis., Her own pet dog is a 2-year-old Indian kid that she found whimpering in the gutter outside her compound wall one day. It isn’t easy on most days, but in turn, by her own admission, she has a supply of boundless love and security.

An illustration of Amma with her dogs. Art by Monami

An illustration of Amma with her dogs. Art by Monami

Hers is not an easy task. Being a vegetarian, the dogs are mostly on a curd rice, bread and milk diet, but sometimes she also gives the dogs eggs. Why? She says she understands that they “need” it. When the dogs need medical attention, she has to depend on the sole veterinary ambulance service in the city as she is too old to take them to the vet by herself.  Since Amma has space constraints in her yard, she has no option but to leave them on the road. However, she puts old rags or newspapers outside to comfort them during the cold weather. She laments that she is unable to shelter them from the rain though. (Amma sponsors everything on her own. Another feat in my eyes)

Initially, there were a few complaints by the neighbours about the “mongrels” but the jibes soon stopped once they realized that the same ‘mongrels’ made their lane secure.  Amma says that the odd complaint still trickles in and the dogs get injured by loud bikers who are chased either for food or for ruining the peace in the neighbourhood.  Many worries, yet she still persists..

What makes her even more special is that when she read in the newspapers, a decade ago, that the municipality had decided to cull the strays as the only way of controlling their population, she didn’t waste even a moment in writing to Ms.Maneka Gandhi and asking for her intervention. Hers was one of the many letters that finally put a stop to this shortsighted move.

“Amma” is an inspiration. She inspires us to do what we can, as much as we can, and to take on the world if we must to do right by this species that is unmatched in loyalty, love and joy that they bring us in exchange for a tiny morsel of food.

The way she beams when she tells you one story after another is testimony of that.


Duke : A story of rebirth

by Chinthana Gopinath

I remember the small cage that I’d spent my life in. I was provided food & water in that space, I even had to poop & pee right there. I have a vague vision of having a mother; brothers and sisters with whom I’d spent a little time running & playing, not knowing fear. But is it really a memory? Or just my imagination, conjured up from many years spent in my little cage? I can’t be sure. I could barely stand in that cage. I had a heavy metal chain around my neck with a round pendant that had a number inscribed on it. That was my identity, just a number. I remember the men in the white coats, wearing white gloves. I was afraid of them, very afraid. I was poked & prodded by these men. I still bear some scars on my body from that time. I would cower & try to hide every time they came near my cage but there was no place to go.

   Duke- hide & seek

I know there were many more like me in the room. I could hear their whimpering in the dark. Some would die and they would be removed. Some new little ones would come in, their innocent childish voices would ring clear across the room until after sometime, they learnt to be silent like the rest of us. How long was I there for? I don’t know. Time had stood still. Each day flowing into the next in an endless stream of despair. Each season bled into the next in this temperature controlled room that we were in. Nobody knew that we were here, nobody cared.

One day however, things seemed a little different. The hushed tones of the men in white coats were peppered with new words, “rescue”, “release”. I didn’t know what that meant; but the poking & prodding stopped. We were left untouched for a while in our little cages. Until suddenly, one evening, I could feel my cage being lifted. I peeped out through the grill to see that all the other cages were being lifted as well. What was happening? Where were we going? We were brought out of the room and put into the back of a big blue box that had big black wheels. And that big blue box slowly started to move. We were taken to a place that they called a “shelter”. We were moved out of our little cages to a small enclosure. At least we could walk around a little bit here.

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A couple of men approached my enclosure. I stuck to the wall at the end of my enclosure, were these men going to do to us what all men have always done to us? But this time, it was slightly different. These men spoke in soft soothing tones with the words “good boy” being used quite often. They gently examined my entire body. I heard them mention that there was a growth in my testicles and that I needed surgery, they thought it could be cancer. I didn’t know what any of this meant. I just sat in my enclosure staring blankly ahead of me.

Many things happened over the next few days. I was made unconscious, which I think has happened to me before in the laboratory, I’m not sure. The growth in my testicles was removed, my rotting teeth and gums cleaned out. I heard a new word around me now; people were saying “adoption”. I put my head down and went to sleep. Nothing was making sense to me, it was all so confusing. Soon I was packed into a little cage again. Were they taking me back to the laboratory? I hoped not but dare I hope? Dare I hope for a better life? Dare I believe that I was somewhat important in this world? Dare I hope that somebody cared for me? My cage was put into the moving blue box again. I didn’t know what was ahead.

A short ride later, I was handed over to two brothers, Ravi & Anup. I didn’t know it at the time but my life had changed completely. I would learn things that I never knew existed in this world.

They carried me up a flight of stairs to what they said was my new home. I slowly walked around the one bedroom apartment, looking around. All the time, I had an eye on the two humans in the room while they had their eyes on me. I stepped out on to their terrace. As I walked around, I felt something warm on my skin. It felt so good. It soothed the aching muscles. I sat down in that patch of warmth that I later learnt was called sunlight. Sunlight remains one of my favourite things; I tried to soak up as much of it as possible. Why was I denied this pleasure all these years?

Handsome Duke

peace at last

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It felt good to be able to walk around but I stayed away from the humans. I overheard Anup telling Ravi, “Just forget that he’s here. Give him his food and make sure he has water. He will come to us when he is ready.” So over the next few days, they just ignored me and let me be. I sat in the sun as much as I could. The thought occurred to me that maybe, just maybe these humans would do me no harm. I thought I’d go & check them out. What did I have to lose? What could they do to me that I hadn’t already endured? I went to them. They stretched out their hand towards me and said “Duke”. I flinched. Every time a human has reached out to me, it has been to hurt me. I braced myself for what was to come. But what came next was a surprise. They just gently ran their hands on my neck and my back. They stroked me and said “good boy Duke.” It felt so good.

One morning, Anup said to Ravi that I needed a bath. It didn’t scare me; I was beginning to trust these two humans. They took me into the bathroom and poured some warm water all over me. Then Anup took some liquid into his hands and started massaging my body. I let out a sigh. I wished this bath thing would never stop. More warm water was poured all over me and I was sent to the terrace to indulge in my favourite pastime – sunbathing.

duke enjoys a massage

my first bath and massage !

I distinctly remember the first time I was being taken for a walk. I have a soft black collar now instead of that heavy painful metal chain. Anup clipped on a leash to my collar. Some painful memory returned to haunt me. I started writhing and screaming. No!! No!! Not again!! I felt the same soothing touch on my back and the same soothing voice saying, “shhh, its ok, its ok Duke.” I opened my eyes to see Anup looking down at me and I came back from my memory. I let him lead me, I trusted him. The first walk was scary, everything was new, the sights, the smells, the noises, everything. I just trustingly followed Anup. Over time, I’ve learnt to love going for walks. It helps me work out my old legs. Every time a stray dog comes within a few feet of me, Anup picks me up in his arms. He says he doesn’t want me to get ticks & fleas as I still have a couple of wounds from my years spent in the laboratory.

They are good humans, these two. They spend so much time with me. I’ve learnt to look at them when they say “Duke”. I’ve learnt to place my bum on the ground when they say “sit”, I’ve learnt to wave my paw in the air when they say “hi”, I’ve learnt to jump up in the air when they say “up”. The one trick I’m struggling with a little bit has the command “speak”. I try to but most of the time, only a puff of air escapes my throat. This one time though, a voice escaped my throat. The humans quickly took a video of that event. I’ve heard them say that I’m extremely smart to learn so fast, given that I am so old. I’m just having fun; after all I do get a yummy biscuit every time I do a trick!!



Anup & Ravi’s landlord came one day and said that they can no longer keep me here. If they wanted to stay here, they would have to give me up. I shuddered with fear. This is the only family that I have ever known, would they forsake me too? What they said next, I will never forget, “Duke is our priority, he is a part of the family and we will not give him up. You give us one month’s time and we will find another place to move to.” I watched them, stunned. Somebody was taking up for me. I was a priority in somebody’s life. I was important.

They have given me so much in the past few months. With my growing self confidence and self esteem, I can now say that I have given them quite a bit too. They say that they are more disciplined and responsible now. They have to wake up early every morning to take me for a walk. They have to come home from work on time to take care of me. I greet them with such exuberance and enthusiasm that it makes them smile. I run around playfully, unable to contain my excitement to see them come home to me. I believe that I make them feel good to realize that they are capable of such compassion and courage.

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I often wonder how come they picked me. An old fellow, with not much time to live. Why me? Ravi says that no matter how old our bodies are, we remain playful little babies within, so age really doesn’t matter. Anup says that I was denied a childhood, so all he wanted was for me to be normal and happy for the rest of my days. He even says that I am an ideal dog. Yes, I’m going to repeat that, I am an ideal dog. I don’t make noise, I don’t destroy things around the house, and I am calm and peaceful. Who would’ve thought, little old me would be an ideal dog to somebody?

I know that there is another one like me called Phoenix. He had a small problem with his liver that has been treated. He is healthy, and was in foster care until now when two wonderful humans decided to open their home and their hearts to him ! With hearts as big as their sprawling coffee estates, Kushi and Bharath Bhimaya have decided to welcome Phoenix into their lives. Given his love for open spaces and sunlight, this is definitely a match made in doggy heaven. I’m so happy that Phoenix has found his happy ending !

phoenix

my friend phoenix

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like me, phoenix LOVES sniffing the fresh air and soaking up sunshine…

We are not what everyone’s idea of a dog is. We won’t cuddle into bed with you and snuggle into you right away. We just need some time, some patience, some understanding. We are learning everyday. We still flinch a little when somebody touches our paws or raises their hands suddenly in our direction. But we have come a long way. We are slowly learning to trust in humans, put our faith in them. We do enjoy being stroked and pet. I have learnt now to climb on the bed and sleep, it’s really comfortable.

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my friend chinthana and i

I am now free. I am no longer bound by a small cage. I have space to walk around, I feel sunlight on my skin, I use my leg muscles to clumsily climb up & down the stairs. I have a food bowl, a water bowl, a mattress to sleep on, a roof over my head, I even have a fancy jacket to help me stay warm. I also have a cool name, I’m no longer an inanimate object identified by a number. Most importantly I have a family. Two men that will never forsake me, never give up on me. They will stand by me no matter what comes our way in the future. They are doing everything they can to make sure that I am a normal dog. I’m almost there; I just need to learn to run after that ball that they often throw. When I look into their eyes, feel their gentle touch on me, feel their kisses on my forehead, feel the warmth of their hugs, I feel that exhilarating feeling that I now know as love. It is when I feel this love that I am truly liberated, truly free. Why was I denied this my entire life? I will not dwell on that, I am not designed to hold grudges. I am designed to live fully in the now & that’s what I’m going to do. I’m off to bask in a patch of sunlight and in the love of my two incredible humans, Ravi & Anup.

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Duke & Phoenix are two of the 28 beagles (all on average ten years old) rescued from a pharmaceutical laboratory in Bangalore. They are like playful little puppies, totally enjoying life outside a cage. Sunlight is an absolute favourite for both of them.

All the photographs of Duke © Anup Hela


A carnival like no other

by Chinthana Gopinath

It was a baking frenzy for the two days leading up to the Carnival that was going to be held at Jaaga I would definitely be taking the Chicken Liver Cookies, a favourite even among the fussiest of my customers, and the soft Honey Oatmeal Cookies, made specially for my toothless, aging customers that hold such a special place in my heart. The Carnival would also be the perfect place to introduce my special new recipe – Sweet Potato Bites. Keeping in mind that it was going to be an all day fare and that there would definitely be a few hungry customers around lunchtime and a few parents too tired to prepare dinner afterwards, I carried along my Mini Meatloaves as well.

I woke up early on the day of the carnival to bake the special Chicken & Carrot Cake that I was making for the unique fundraiser. After baking it to a lovely golden brown, I decorated the cake with fun doggy-themed cookies – a happy looking dog, a fire hydrant, a home, some bones, a couple of stars and hearts – because I consider my customers as stars and I love them so. Yes, I really do! If you had customers like mine, you would too.

The day looked nice & sunny despite the rains of the previous night. The stalls were set up along with a puppy pen that would hold little puppies. My stall was right opposite the puppy pen and their silly games kept me occupied. My customers started trickling in. Sitting pretty in front of my stall, inspecting my basket full of goodies, leaning on my table asking for some of my baked goodies, some asking politely, some demanding and some even begging. My little one, Calvin also came by along with the rest of my family. He sat with his usual dopey, doleful expression making people think that he was up for adoption!! I would like to let you all know that he is very well treated at home, contrary to what his expression said that day.

Anabel wandered about the place much like a socialite would at a Page 3 party. Every 15 minutes, she would plonk herself in front of my stall asking for a baked goodie. When I stopped giving her cookies at her mother’s request, poor Anabel had to resort to begging from the puppies in the puppy pen. Yes, I do get customers of all kinds. She was later found at the Courtyard Cafe at Jaaga begging from random strangers too. Her embarrassed parents do not want their names revealed but would also like to let everybody know that Anabel is well fed at home.

And in case you are wondering what kind of customers I have, let me tell you that my customers are the gourmet dogs of Bangalore. They are as important to me as any human I have met in my life. Calvin might be furry and walk on all fours, but he is still very much a part of my family. Whether it is a pet carnival or a human carnival, I still put the same amount of love into my preparations and I was not alone. I saw that this was the case with pretty much everyone at the Pet Carnival & Puppy Adoption Drive at Jaaga that was held on the 31st of December, 2012.

Debadrita Jadav (Debbie), the star behind the Precious Paws Foundation (PPF) is an extraordinary woman because of her exceptional love for dogs. She works tirelessly to ensure that our desi dogs have a chance at living a life in a home rather than fighting for survival on the streets. She has built a network of people who foster little desi pups, cater to their nutrition & health, teach them to be around people & other dogs, build their confidence and then put them up for adoption. PPF regularly has puppy adoption camps where foster parents bring their little puppies in the hope of finding them that one family that will give them the love & home that they deserve. I find Debbie very inspirational because looking at her makes me feel like one person CAN make a difference, one tiny puppy at a time. We all just need to start somewhere.

It was Debbie’s idea on having an adoption camp that after a session of brainstorming, eventually grew and took shape in the form of a fun, all-day carnival – A day where people could not only come in to adopt little puppies but also where pet parents could come in to have a fun day out with their doggies. The idea slowly started taking on a life of its own. Many of us who are members of the group swung into action. How could we help? How could we contribute to make this a fun day for the doggies? Yes, this was in essence going to remain an adoption camp but the carnival angle would help us generate some additional funds for PPF as well as give us an opportunity to spread awareness about the benefits of adopting versus buying a dog. Soon, posters were designed and shared with much enthusiasm on social platforms like Facebook and we started generating tremendous interest about the Pet Carnival and Adoption Camp.

Swaty Chandel of Wooflicious volunteered to put up a stall selling collars, t-shirts, shampoos & other doggy accessories while I volunteered to put up a Pupcake stall selling homemade doggy treats & cookies. Saarus Nirhali said that she could sell some cool doggy-inspired painted stained glass goodies. Ideas were generated on how to help raise some funds for PPF as Debbie is planning to build a little shelter for fostering puppies. An entry fee of Rs. 50 per doggy & per human would be collected. PPF would sell merchandize to raise funds. Woofilicious would have a lucky dip where one could pay Rs. 50 and stand a chance to win a gift voucher for Rs. 500 to shop online. Rithika Gupta & Siddharth Krish of Huckleberry (a lovely dog-friendly restaurant) would give out a gift voucher for Rs. 500. On behalf of Pupcake I would be baking a  unique, doggy cake. People had to pay Rs. 50 to guess the weight of the cake and the closest guess to the actual weight of the cake would get to take it home.

Several stalls offering interesting off-beat items for pet parents and dog lovers

Several stalls offering interesting off-beat items for pet parents and dog lovers

I arrived on the scene early only to find that there were some prospective adopters that were there even before the puppies arrived, so eager were they to find their perfect little companions. Within a couple of hours, Jaaga was abuzz with activity!!

Puppies playing in the pen watched over by their loving foster parents; Doggies barking loudly with excitement; Humans calling after their dogs to please behave themselves; People recognizing the doggies from Bombat Dawgz even before recognizing the humans; Humans shopping for their doggies… what more could one ask for? Many people, without a doggy in tow, had come by, just like that, to indulge in some puppy love.

There were some young children at the carnival that really warmed my heart.

They had adopted desi dogs and had come by to talk to prospective adopters about the advantages of adopting a desi. They spoke with such conviction and love that a lovely little puppy called Peaches definitely found her forever family that day thanks to these children. A group of girls were even seen making a video of the event and interviewing families that had adopted dogs all in a bid to increase awareness about adopting a dog versus buying one. I wish more parents & schools would make a deliberate effort to sensitize children towards the plight of animals, make them learn that we have to be the voice of those creatures that don’t speak a language that we understand. It is as important to save the tiger in the wild as it is to save a doggy on the street. Living harmoniously with all these creatures make us human, not exterminating them and claiming sole right to this planet.

Tanya, the guardian angel of the dogs who spreads the message of adoption among her friends

Tanya, the guardian angel of the dogs who spreads the message of adoption among her friends

What a day well spent it was!! We all got to interact with many dogs & humans who we knew so far only by name. We got to meet large hearted, dedicated foster parents that loved each of their little puppies to bits. Most important of all, five little puppies found their fur-ever homes. It was truly a bombat first effort by our team at Bombat Dawgz.

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