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Tag: dogs (Page 1 of 2)

New Delhi Snapshot: Intriguing Gadget for Washing Dogs

Putting the “dog” in the Japanese term “chindōgu” (珍道具).

Spotted at Khan Market here in Delhi. Sadly, I didn’t inquire as to the price.

Something tells me Ginger would not abide.

Introducing our Desi Dog, Ginger

TLDR: Say hello to the newest member of our family: the beautiful Ginger!

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The backstory:

Last year, about six months after our beloved dog Ashley died, we found ourselves really missing having a pooch in our lives. But we weren’t quite ready to adopt a new one.

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Anasuya started asking around about organizations here in Delhi that help street dogs, and a friend recommended the Indian Canine Uplipftment Centre, or ICUC.

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The New Delhi-based organization was founded in 2012 by the charming Sonya Kochhar Apicella, who like all the staff at the center clearly care deeply for dogs. And as anyone who has visited Delhi knows, there are tons of street dogs here.

ICUC is the NGO wing of a boarding, day care and grooming on the same premises called Canine Elite.

(If you’re into helping dogs, do consider getting in touch with or donating funds to ICUC. If you’re here in Delhi and need any dog-related services, consider Canine Elite.)

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‘Designed by Darwin’

Often called Desi dogs (Desi roughly meaning “from India,” based on the Hindi word for “country”), these canines typically look like Ginger: medium sized, short haired, and often a shade of brown, with some white marks.

They’re also sometimes referred to as Indi-dogs or “Indian pariah dogs.” (“Pariah” is an ecological term for dogs that typically live on their own, outside homes, untouched by breeding.)

Another name for the creatures is INDogs, short for “Indian Native Dog;” you can find a wealth of information at INDog.co.in, the site for the INDog Project.

The group also maintains a gallery of such canines, and a crowd-sourced document containing reports on the dogs’ temperament.

Desi dogs, some of which have over the years mixed with non-native Indian breeds to varying degrees, often live in neighborhoods here in New Delhi and in other cities, towns, and villages.

Residents typically look after them, feeding them but often not providing medical attention or sterilization. Others dogs roam around more freely. Many have diseases and suffer from various ailments.

I haven’t seen the full version of the documentary, but Desi dogs are reportedly mentioned in a 2003 National Geographic documentary called “Search for the First Dog,” as being one of the world’s oldest types of dogs.

A snippet from the show describes these dogs perfectly: they’re “designed by Darwin.” They are mostly a product of natural selection, not man-made tinkering for looks.

So anyway: Ginger.

On our first ICUC visit, we learned that Sonya and her team had just taken in a litter of ten Desi dog puppies, along with their mother, who had been rescued from a New Delhi intersection.

We decided to play with the pups a bit.

Then this happened.

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Frankly, all the puppies were cute, but this little light brown one – with a white stripe down the middle of her face – struck me as especially lovable. And she was comfortable with people, which I liked, while some of her litter-mates were a bit more skittish.

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We continued visiting the center once or twice a month, often checking in on the litter and spending time playing with some of the dozen or so older dogs living there, which range in age from nearly a year to several years old.

Then around October, one day we showed up to discover that five of the ten puppies…had been adopted!

I rushed into the room where they were being held and found, to my relief, that the cute little yellow puppy was still there.

So that was it: We decided to officially adopt her, signing the papers on November 4.

And as I mentioned, we’ve named her Ginger.

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The big day.

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In the car on the way home.

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The first couple of weeks, despite our better judgement, we let her sleep in our bed because it was the only way we could get her to stop whining. Total bed hog. She no longer sleeps in the bed with us.

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“Please play with me!”

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An early visit to the vet

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With a favorite toy

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Sleeping on Anasuya

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One of her favorite perches, where she can keep an eye on the gate and police any potential intruders – when she’s not napping, that is.

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In the sun.

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She weighed about five kilograms – or 11 pounds – when we first adopted here and now, at about eight months, she weighs 16 kg (35 pounds). I think she’ll continue growing a bit more. She seeks out pats a little less now, but still enjoys sitting in our laps from time to time, as you can see above.

Now that she’s getting closer to the one-year mark, we’re also getting a better sense of her grown-up characteristics.

She is a very smart and alert dog, keen to interact with humans and play with toys and fetch balls. She’s also quite athletic and agile.

And she is a great watch dog: She’s plenty defensive of us and our house, but she doesn’t bark an unreasonable amount.

Ginger’s likes include:

  1. Eating bugs
  2. Running in circles in the yard
  3. Playing with other dogs
  4. Biting her leash, turning walks into tug-of-war matches
  5. Policing the kitchen for dropped scraps
  6. Napping

Among her dislikes:

  1. Cats
  2. Tennis racquet-shaped flyswatters
  3. People ringing our doorbell

We love her so much already.

Photo: the Most Laid-Back Delhi Street Dog Ever

I have posted before about how now only are New Delhi street dogs clever and enterprising, but also totally unflappable. The often straight up sleep on busy sidewalks as people step over and around them amid this buzzing metropolis of 26 million.

But the mutt pictured above, which I encountered recently at the popular Khan Market, takes the cake. He was splayed out like this, paws in the air, dozing. Right in the middle of an entrance. Without a care in the world. In the middle of the day.

On Facebook, a friend speculated that the fellow was sleeping like this, with his belly exposed, to take advantage of air conditioning emanating from a shop on the left. That may well be the case.

Totally. Unflappable.

Video: Why Did the New Delhi Street Dog Cross the Road?

 

Here’s a video I captured recently of a street dog near New Delhi’s busy Connaught Place.

The pooch caught my eye because he or she seemed to be waiting patiently near a curb. When the traffic stopped, sure enough, the canine sauntered across the street. I was interrupted by a call and the video shut off prematurely, but I can confirm his or her journey continued safely to the median.

I jokingly said on Twitter and Instagram that the dog looked both ways before crossing. That may be a stretch, but it clearly stood still until there were no vehicles approaching. Or maybe I’m anthropomorphizing?

I wonder how many household pet dogs would do the same. Street dogs the world over don’t survive long unless they’ve got their wits about them.

Previous posts on New Delhi’s street dogs:

Story of the Day, Arkansas Pug Tuxedo Edition

The AP reports:

A former administrative assistant to an Arkansas county official has pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of a credit card after prosecutors accused her of using public money to buy personal items, including a tuxedo for her pet pug.

Lest you think all the purchases were frivolous, among them were not just diamond jewelry and “sequined throw pillows” but also pet insurance, the AP says.

So there’s that.

Ashley, 2008-2017

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This is a post I hoped I would never have to write.

Long-time readers will remember Ashley, our beloved Bangkok street dog, whom we adopted in 2009.

About two weeks ago, on March 7, Ashley died after a brief illness.

Above is a photo from the day we adopted her from an organization that rescued “soi dogs,” as they’re called, in Bangkok.

It’s one of our favorite images of Ashley, since it was such a happy day for us — and because we joke that Ashley looks like she’s laughing in the photo, having tricked her way into a “forever home” as a year-old dog at a time when other owners were snapping up much younger, often cuter puppies from the organzation that saved her.

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Here’s a recent pic of her, from before she got sick.

A and I are still trying to process the news and live with the reality of coming home to an empty house, no longer taking walks with her, and living without her constant companionship on the couch, in the den, in the kitchen and nearly everywhere in between.

She was by our side in Bangkok for five years, then with us in Singapore for two and a half years, and then here in Delhi with us since we moved here last summer.

We adopted her when she was about a year old, and she would have turned nine this August.

(You can read about her history in this post and this one, and here’s one I wrote on the fifth anniversary of adopting her.)

Ashley was no longer a puppy, of course, and she had started to slow down ever so slightly in recent months. While she had some health issues before we adopted her, she was a pretty robust dog, and we expected to have much more time with her. And that’s part of what makes saying goodbye so difficult.

She loved our house here in New Delhi, with our small yard and its many sights and sounds: birds to eye, squirrels to chase, fellow street dogs to romp with, cats to pester.

Ash developed a cough a month or so back, and a subsequent ultrasound revealed a large mass in her abdomen that we later learned was cancerous.

She underwent surgery not long afterwards, and the mass was removed, but she never rebounded fully, and she succumbed to multi-organ failure just a few days later. Fortunately we were with her during her final days and hours, patting her head, stroking her back, and just keeping her company.

She was so weak in her final days that she had to be carried everywhere, yet her puppy-like enthusiasm remained; just an hour before she died, even though she could barely sit up on her own, I took her leash down from a coat rack near the door and she wagged her tail vigorously, looking up at me with her big black eyes.

When she passed away, we had her cremated here in Delhi, and the very sympathetic workers at the facility gave us her ashes in a lovely urn. Now it sits, with her collar and a painting of her A gave me as a gift years ago, on our mantle. (See the photo at the bottom of this post.)

Rather than dwell on her sickness — really just a week or two of the nearly nine years she lived — we have been trying to focus on all the fun we had with her.

Here, to have them all in one place, are a bunch of my favorite photos of her. I’ve posted some of these before, but others are new.

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As a puppy, before we adopted her

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She was in really rough shape

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But was soon…

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…On her way to health

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How she looked when we adopted her

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On the way home, day one

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Taking a nap at home in Bangkok, not long after we adopted her

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A happy, high energy pup

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A favorite past time: hanging out on the balcony.

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At the beach in Thailand

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One funny thing: she liked the beach but hated getting near any kind of water

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Sand on the nose

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At home in Singapore

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On one of many long walks we took in the city-state

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On the couch and in my face, likely because I was eating a snack

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On a jaunt in Singapore

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At Singapore’s Bishan Park

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Looking quizzical

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“Can I please have some of that lamb you’re cooking?”

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If her morning walk was ever delayed, you might open your eyes to see this, with her unruly ear fur — tendrils, we called them — blowing in the air conditioning

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At home in Singapore

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On our balcony here in New Delhi

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On the bed

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After her surgery, wearing a T-shirt to protect the stitches

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RIP, Ashley

I really, really loved that little ball of fur.

Snapshot from Delhi: Enterprising Street Dog

Spotted recently in Connaught Place, downtown Delhi: an opportunistic street dog drinking pooled water, after a rainstorm, from atop a parked car. 

He looked at me as if to say, what’s so strange about this, and why the hell are you taking my picture? 

Rise of the ‘Coyowolf’ — Part Wolf, Part Dog, Part Coyote

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The Economist reports:

Like some people who might rather not admit it, wolves faced with a scarcity of potential sexual partners are not beneath lowering their standards. It was desperation of this sort, biologists reckon, that led dwindling wolf populations in southern Ontario to begin, a century or two ago, breeding widely with dogs and coyotes. The clearance of forests for farming, together with the deliberate persecution which wolves often suffer at the hand of man, had made life tough for the species. That same forest clearance, though, both permitted coyotes to spread from their prairie homeland into areas hitherto exclusively lupine, and brought the dogs that accompanied the farmers into the mix.

Interbreeding between animal species usually leads to offspring less vigorous than either parent—if they survive at all. But the combination of wolf, coyote and dog DNA that resulted from this reproductive necessity generated an exception. The consequence has been booming numbers of an extraordinarily fit new animal (see picture) spreading through the eastern part of North America. Some call this creature the eastern coyote. Others, though, have dubbed it the “coywolf”. Whatever name it goes by, Roland Kays of North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, reckons it now numbers in the millions.

Fascinating stuff. It’s not every day, as the story says, that scientists are able to witness a new species being formed.

There’s more from Smithsonian.com and Fusion. PBS even has an infographic.

Related Newley.com post from 2013: What Domesticating Siberian Foxes May Tell Us About Dogs:

The gist: Over the course of more than 40 years, scientists took normal foxes, which were aggressive toward humans, and looked for the tamest ones.

Then they bred them.

In just a few generations, the foxes — animals that would typically attack humans when threatened — had become completely tame creatures that snuggled the scientists rather than biting their hands.

What’s more, over time, the foxes started to look like…dogs.

Cute dogs.

To take this one step further, friends, I ask you: Can it be long before people start trying to domesticate coyowolves?

Maybe it’s already happening?

Would they domesticate more quickly than wolves or coyotes, due to their canine DNA?

Vine of the Day: ‘Puppy caught eating paper decides killing witness is the only way out’

Embedded above and on Vine here.

It’s Been 5 Years Since We Adopted Our Dog, Ashley

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August marked five years since we adopted Ashely, our beloved shelter dog. Here’s a pic from the day we took her home in Bangkok in 2009. She’s six years old now, as she was a year old when we got her.

As you can see — and as I’ve noted in previous posts — she was was suffering from various medical ailments when some kind people rescued her from the mean streets of Bangkok.

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The big-hearted folks at the now-defunct Soi Cats and Dogs (SCAD) Bangkok had Ash fixed up in no time, though:

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Fast forward five years, and moving to Singapore earlier this year meant 30 days in quarantine upon arrival, but Ash did just fine.

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Here’s a pic from a visit I paid her.

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And here’s A and Ash during another visit.

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Once she was sprung from solitary, Ashley really took to Singapore — and especially its many green spaces. Here she is during some recent outings.

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Overall, Ashley remains somewhat puppy-like, both in appearance — people often ask us how old our “puppy” is — and behavior.

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Her likes remain: running (I often take her along on jogs); chasing small animals; and eating any and all foods, especially fish and meats, rice, and coconut milk.

Dislikes: vacuum cleaners; swimming; and knocks at the door.

Oh, and she also hates the rare occasions when her morning walks are delayed. I have more than once woken up to this somewhat unsettling sight:

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Here’s to the next five years!

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