There are dogs, there are dogs, and there are dogs. Three different kinds, and in this port drive all from your presence.
Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light
India abounds with dogs. White dogs. Brown dogs. Black dogs. When I first came in Feb 2012 I asked one of my friends, “Who do these dogs belong to?” He patiently explained the dogs belonged to no one, they are wild and live on whatever they can find, or get.
Here you will encounter dogs everywhere you go. Several well-known canines sleep on the sidewalk in front of my IBM office and at lunchtime each day great crowds of IBMers considerately step around them. I saw the dogs pictured below just yesterday, taking their ease in the middle of a fairway at the Poona Golf Club:
The little puppy I think was part of the family, but was more interested in nosing about than in napping. More than once playing at this club a pack of dogs has followed us circumspectly as we went from shot to shot.
These dogs are – when not mixed with some modern European breeds – among the oldest known breed of dog. Called the pariah dog, or sometime INDogs, I don’t know how old as a breed they really are – 1000s of years, certainly – but they seem incredibly well suited to their environment and to living alongside humans in the cities and farm regions of India. All the dogs I have encountered seem alert, inquisitive, and friendly. Many live by eating trash, though clearly some hunt small animals, like the vast numbers of rats that infest India. And people feed them, glad to trade a few scraps for a dog that will be friendly and challenge unfamiliar people coming to your place.
Alas, many show signs of hard life. You will often see limping dogs, painfully thin dogs, dogs with mange, and dogs showing various wounds. Sometimes we hear dogs howling at night, and then the howling is transformed into the sharp and threatening growls of fighting. The many dogs you see with tattered or missing ears give witness to these nighttime battles.
This dog is a family favorite:
The wall in the left-hand pic is near to where Morgan waits for her school bus every morning. This white dog seems to like bounding atop the wall and surveying the surrounding area. Because of this ability to move up and down with ease, and also because of its friendly energy, Morgan calls it Bouncy. Rupesh likes it too … during the middle of the day Bouncy often sleeps underneath our car.
Kim and I sometimes call Bouncy another name: the White Mouser, because Kim has seen it catching small creatures … hopefully, rats.