I am a nameless Indian stray dog

It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us.   ~Rorschach, Watchmen 

I am a nameless Indian stray dog.

At the end of that sentence, I still wonder why anybody would be interested in my story or my plight; nevertheless I will go on like I generally do with my life. I scavenge my way around for a meal & look for a quiet corner to rest my scrawny body. It’s a dog’s life.

"Bangalore stray dog"
Clicked near a temple at Lal Bagh, Bangalore. © Gokul Krishnan

Sometimes, I wonder regarding the usage of the word dog in so many phrases, a dog’s life, the underdog not to mention the innumerable movies where my existence is used & abused in their titles & dialogues. If you ask me, it particularly sounds even worse when used in the vernacular language.

But Really, How much of a difference does my existence make in an average Indian human’s life? Yes, I admit, I meet some humans who seem more friendly & compassionate than the regular foul mouthed stone pelting Indian, but again that gets me back to another dog saying “Every dog has his day” and I don’t see many of those days.

I am a nameless stray, born in murky gutters to sniveling bitches.

"Indian pariah dog pup"
A black pup bidding adieu to a Bangalore evening ©Gokul Krishnan

My very existence is testimony to Darwin’s theory of survival. I pushed & shoved my siblings to just grab a mouthful of that satiating warm milk which was just the beginning of a little more than pushing & shoving just to fill my ever hungry, rumbling stomach. No prizes for guessing where my siblings are; one lay decaying, crushed under the unforgiving wheels of a garbage truck before the same wrinkle faced garbage collector scooped the dead mass & dumped it in the same truck. The other not so luckier ones found our ways to other streets & corners trying to make a decent life of the one we were cursed with. My siblings are everywhere. We all have different stories, yet the same. We all look different, yet, we are the same; the Indian stray dog.

We all are bound by that one single thread, weighed down by circumstances, weighed down by our looks & our origins. While patriotism is in its frenzied state, during red letter days & rallies & protests, we have no takers. While dog shows are organized for our counterparts with their fancy ears & faces, we are considered a menace.

What humans fail to understand is that the same fancy dogs that are abandoned on the street, add to our numbers. Their genetic make up gets ensconced into ours, while we merge with them; yet, we retain our identity, & take pride in the fact that no two Indian dogs would ever look the same. We outlive our blue blooded counterparts, with all their high class breeding & champion blood lines, in spite of the conditions that we live in. Yet, we have no takers.

"Marina beach Chennai dog"
Clicked at Marina beach, Chennai. ©Gokul Krishnan

We love our human friends, just the same & would gladly sleep in any corner they feel fit to dispatch us to. We are happy little mutts with wagging tails, no different, yet, are perceived so differently.

We are the same, but just as different.

If only the hypocrisy & craze for everything from foreign shores would peter out some day, we would get our rightful place under the sun, beside the hearth & under a roof.

If only we had a voice.

If only we knew the language.

If only we would be acknowledged for what we really are,

The Indian dog, without the tag of the word, stray.

Dog lover & ace photographer Gokul Krishnan shares this heartfelt rendition of an Indian stray dog’s plight as a guest post for Dog with Blog.  Originally featured as photo-essay ‘Stray Dogs in Indian cities’ at strays.in   

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21 thoughts on “I am a nameless Indian stray dog”

  1. This is so sad the way indian dogs are treated by other people. I remember me and my family had started giving milk and food to a bitch alongwith other neighbours but she came and gave her litters in our house only 1 of whom we kept and loved for 13.5 yrs who expired last year in september. What a tragic life of our dogs.The muted best friends of human who are nothing but full of love are not treated well and we love and respect those humans who treat us like shit.This is sad.No dog deserves this kind of life.

  2. The Indian dog’s story, so well narrated. I come across many people who find it amusing to abuse stray animals, not just dogs but other animals too…:(

  3. I have tears in my eyes..!! well written..people should understand that even they are living things..should stop abusing them !! 🙁

  4. On behalf of the people who actually have concerns for such issues, i would like to thank you for such an amazing piece of work, bringing up such issues is actually needed in our society. Thanks for such an article which actually portrays the pitty conditions of dog…and am sure reading this article of yours will make a difference to the reader and hopefully at some point of time to our society at large.

  5. Hi Calvy,

    You seem to be a dog lover just like me. I have always hated this strange behavior in us Indians that we like the phirangi dog breeds like crazy but don’t give a second look to the strays -some of whom are extremely affectionate and always the best gene pool among canines….

    I had liked your page on facebook a while back and since then have been appalled at all the pictures of non Indian breeds that you keep putting up there…for every 10 pictures posted 8 are of foreign breeds like Labrador retrievers, St. Bernard’s,etc

    Aren’t you encouraging this whole foreign breeds are better than your “nameless Indian stray dog” who don’t deserve their pictures posted there except once in a while?

    We need to change the perception of desis regarding this and your pics aren’t helping….When I take a break from corporate world in US, it’s my idea to get in to training of therapy dogs and pass tihs training on to India through shelters that I have supported through the years. I will make sure that not a single non Indian dog breed is trained in therapy (even if I know that there are certain dog breeds that are considered more trainable than others).

    I wish you would change what you are doing…

    1. Hi Jaya,

      The pictures put in at the facebook page are community curated. I post what they submit, the community needs crowd sourcing. However if you look at the blog posts that have been drafted by me, nowhere I have promoted ‘breed blindness’. Despite frequent requests by fans on doing ‘breed profiles’, ‘posting mating ads’ or decling some magazines to tie up with them for endorsing breed promotions, the blog has maintained its voice.

      As for posting pictures of stray dogs for adoptions, I have always posted them when I have received or taken them myself. But my full time employment limits me to depend on crowd sourcing. The blog doesn’t aspire to be a NGO, nor asks for funds/support but subtly tries to draw a kind wave towards animals.

      Facebook provides an option of highlighting prominent posts to the top of the page for maximum eyeballs, if you would analyze the posts those 8/10 posts that you have refeered to have been highlighted and shared the most so that the needy gets a home. (See: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=436536846389166&set=a.165417113501142.33086.122205421155645&type=1&theater)

      I wish you all the best for your ”therapy project” but I don’t subscribe to the idea of being biased towards foreign breeds. I have always had strays as my pets as opposed to foreign breeds but I have nothing against foreign breeds, disliking a foreign breed serves no purpose for I believe that a dog is a dog, with the same loving heart and that welcoming tail.

      NGOs and organizations are claiming to change the world, I am but a dog who is doing what he thinks he can. I am sorry if some of my posts have led to you to believe that I am biased towards breeds, for that I am not.

  6. And then there are days when I think no matter how much I do, I can never do enough. That it will never be enough, there will always be hungry stomachs. Always an abused, tortured animal somewhere. Always a dog dying and no one to take care of it. Always a dog abandoned by his family, wandering the streets – scared and lonely and utterly confused. Always the kids who will throw stones at them, never ever been taught better by the society and their elders. People who would hurt a dog, not of fear but of pure spite and sadistic pleasure. Of cars which go too fast crushing the nameless stray merely trying to live in this cruel, heartless world.

    There are days when I think of all this and more. Of the contrast between the life my pet has, pampered as a child by my Mum, loved even more than me and then of the countless animals on the roads. I think all this and then i think of you and me, and the the few left who try and make it better. Maybe it doesn’t make much difference, maybe it’s not enough.

    But it’s better than nothing, and maybe someday, someday, there will be more on our side, and on our furry friend’s side, after all it is on the same side of the line.

    1. There were times when the same conundrum engulfed me; of trivial details and meager numbers. Believe me lady, even one act of kindness resonates till eternity. It makes a difference for that one lost stray in the wild world. Remember the starfish story?

  7. So poignant, so beautifully written.
    My mom feeds the dogs of the colony religiously; we can’t take them in as we’ve adopted cats which we spay and give out for adoption.

    The friendly neighbourhood dog, “kalu” as we lovingly call him, has been the victim of numerous municipality attempts at taking strays to pounds where they’re put to death. But our community people have stood up for him. These animals are truly like friends/family, wonderful and loyal companions and should be treated with the respect and compassion that they deserve!

    1. This world needs more humans like your mom. *bows down*
      I hope and pray that Kalu like a knight will fade off all the wicked attempts of the municipal authorities. May he find a home he can call his own real soon.

      On another note, I am a mastiff myself and am often called by this moniker, Kaalu (initiated for Kaalicharan).

  8. In Dadar, Mumbai, there is a lady who started a rescue operation called ‘In Defense of Animals”, and she regularly feeds the dogs and cats in teh neighborhood providing medical and adoption services. We had a dog that lived with us for many years. If you have an inclination, you should donate.

    Incidently, my nieces are involved in a number of shelters. I think indian attitudes towards dogs are changing as they are in ever increasing contact with the west. I live in Oregon and I’m so proud of my state who has a 100% adoption rate. Every dog and cat finds a home.

  9. Yess ita true the life of dogs on streets is very bad but if we being humans can do just a bit that can count for big change in dog’s life . Am presently talking care of 5 indian dogs and 6 puppies . And if everyone can just provide food to just 2 dogs on street dey will never need to sleep empty stomach

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