a pariah and the dogwood

notes from a doggish diary and other miscellany

Rustling up a doggish blog

Welcome to my dogblog. For awhile now l have been raking and collecting some mental leaves. This pile is large, collected in one place (off to the side), but with no real organization or stability, rustling and flying around pretty much willy nilly. The leaves are still rustling,  but I have started to think of how best to put them to use. (I was once given the sage advice by a gardner friend to NEVER throw away or burn leaves.  They have many uses, one being a great mulch, another being a great additive to compost). I do know that most of the ideas that have come from the rustle have been related to dogs. I call this a dogblog, and primarily, it will be so.

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Featured post

Portrait of a street dog in winter

Mowgli gave a half hearted endorsement of my latest attempt to capture his imagination.He doesn’t really see the point of celebrating the obvious. He pointed out that in his limited experiences with his actual flesh and blood kin, he has NEVER met anyone who didn’t find lazing around during blizzards an entirely rational choice, so much so that he can’t figure out what the big deal is. I told him that with all due respect to his fascinating genes and his (exaggerated) body of knowledge of his fellow pariahs (of whom he has not met a one in the nearly three years he has held court at our place), I must point out that my species has an extraordinarily keen eye for cuteness, one result of which is portraits of street dogs enjoying comfy places whist cold and danger lurk just outside the door. I refrain from pointing out that I have a much deeper understanding of how the millions of those from his lowly origins are in fact spending their time braving and often bracing against the raging elements. He has no clue how rare is his fortune. I, on the other hand, have a pretty good idea of how lucky both of us actually are.


World Animal Day


Open Farm Pet Food

First… I am not getting paid for this push for Open Farm. Second, I couldn’t get the photo to live link, so if you want to look at Open Farm here is the link:

I feed my dogs Open Farm dog food. For years I researched what food was the healthiest for my dogs, their well-being the only real criteria in my search. But it always was difficult, even when I found brands that I thought provided quality nutrition. I don’t eat meat, yet I know that my dogs need to, so I was researching food sourced from animals that I myself would never eat. Most quality dog food companies refer to the quality of the protein source, but rarely the life of the real animals that make up that protein source.

Finding a company that took the ethics of meat eating, not only for humans but for true carnivores, seriously and acknowledged that the animals my dogs are eating are indeed animals who deserve a quality life was a very welcome discovery.

It was World Animal Day recently, and I feel better that the meat my dogs need to survive is quality meat that came from animals with quality lives.

Survival skills

This desi dog is getting a bit soft after a few years of New England life.

IMG_0565Mowgli was working on his camouflage skills this afternoon. He didn’t take it too well when I told him he’s got a ways to go, nor did he  like it that I plastered his very unsubtle pose all over the internet.

IMG_0444On our trip through the Southwest this summer, on a day that probably rivaled his hometown Delhi for temperature if not humidity, he did choose to recover from the heat here, in the middle of the sun red dirt. He blends in a little more, but he just doesn’t become part of his surroundings anymore, the way that all street dogs must. And clearly, here he is very pleased indeed to add to the online assortment of desi dogs lying in the dirt.

On the road

We’re leaving for a road trip across the country tomorrow, and, of course, our two dogs are coming along. I’ve gone on a few such trips with dogs. Their reactions always differ, sometimes exhilaration, sometimes something of an academic engagement, and sometimes worry.  I have also seen dogs demonstrate a prescience (even sorcery it seems at times) that can stymy the average human, even the average human dog lover. They have known things that at times not even I suspected.

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Leap 2

This was a necessary addition to my nascent project accounting  instances of dogs defying physics along with the the imagination. I think it needs no more introduction….

The kids are speaking out : guns are dangerous and dogs are not

Meet Finley. He is a happy beagle. He is a lucky beagle. He was definitely not bred to be happy or lucky. His story can be found here

Finley is the kind of guy who deserves attention. Finley is sadly pretty easy for most of our species to ignore. It’s easy for many humans to ignore his people’s history when they spend such a good deal of their time eyeing the myriad products promising youth, energy, beauty and what not. But of course, not everybody ignores issues such as animals used laboratories and many people are vigilant and outspoken. Lately I’ve been thinking about who is speaking out stuff that is important. Who gets media attention and gets us listening  about issues such as animal testing and other pertinent and immediate concerns like slaughtering kids by machine gun in schools. The first, animal testing, is certainly not limited to America (although amongst “developed nations, America certainly wins the prize), and the second, shooting up crowds of kids, is a twisted American phenomena. It takes a lot to get past our cognitive dissonance and certainly both for beagles and schoolchildren willful blindness is more common than true regard.  I’m an incurable cynic most of the time, but I couldn’t quite help but feel a surge of optimism when reading about some of our current activists — children and adolescents.
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Yuilek is pretty cool


This is Yuilek. She is a native dog living in a sanctuary in Thailand called Elfesworld. She most likely was destined for the meat trade that still is rampant in Thailand and other countries. (I recently read an article about how I was not allowed to criticize the dog meat trade because it occurred in foreign countries and I had no right as a westerner to denounce any of their eating habits: cultural relativism gone very very awry).

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I don’t understand why mice are such a serious matter

Mowgli studying mice behaviour

Along with keeping a keen eye out for deer and frozen deer poop (yum) on the property —  see previous post re: his dedication to maintaining proper behavior by all species on his premises (expect turkeys who are just scary and best to stay clear from), Mowgli has taken to studying mouse behavior. Unfortunately he is overly studious on this front and not all that proactive at all. He must have several volumes of notes catalogued in that head by now.





Mowgli, my Indian Desi dog, stands 2.5 feet at his withers on a good day. He sports a greyhound-like physique (strong, fast, slim).  He also parades a very magnificent polka dot and almost naked belly.



Although I’m partial, I do think this belly is worth a second look. 

Hailing from a hot and humid clime, Mowgli should find  snow and winter disagreeable. His people have lived far from anything chilly for millenia, and thus have adapted their anatomy accordingly.  Mowgli has a deep chest like many sighthounds, and as I mentioned, it is almost bare. Considering all this, you’d think Mowgli would share my reluctance to immerse body parts like unprotected hands and bellies into deep snow. But Mowgli does not share my aversion at all .

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