Dashing & Dapper— Dobermans at Their Best!

A lot of people get intrigued by Dobermans and often they come out to be ferocious and aggressive. But on the contrary, they are loving beings and protectors who become great companions. Know more about this amazing breed.

Let’s start with the history of Doberman Pincher. Experts sometimes dispute the history of the Doberman breed. However, it’s generally thought that Dobermans were first bred in the 1880s by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann in Apolda, Thuringia, Germany, a tax collector who ran the Apolda dog pound. With access to dogs of many breeds, he got the idea to create a breed who would be ideal for protecting him. The breed started becoming popular as guard dogs during the World War-II.

by a number of factors including heredity, training, and socialisation. Puppies with nice gentle temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Meeting the dog’s parents, siblings, or other relatives may also prove helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when they grow up.

Like every dog, the Doberman needs early socialization—exposure to too many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences- -when they’re young. Socialisation helps ensure that your Doberman puppy grows up to be a well-rounded pet. In my vast experience depends on the amount of exercise you are giving to the pet. I trim my Doberman’s nails once in a couple months while keeping a regular check on their ears and paws to avoid redness, rashes and any sort of infections.

Beauty comes in all sizes

The ideal size of male Doberman is 27 to 28 inch and that of female is 25 to 27 inch. The Doberman has a square frame, his length should equal his height to the withers, and the length of its head, neck, and legs should be in proportion to his body.

Debonair Doberman–yes please!

The ideal weight of male dogs is 40–45 kilograms and that of females is said to be 32–35 kilograms. The Doberman has a long muzzle. He stands on his pads and is not usually heavy-footed. Ideally, they have an even and graceful gait. Traditionally, the ears are cropped and posted and the tail is docked.

However, in some countries, these procedures are now illegal. I stand by the norms, since the breed is equally lovable without human alterations. Dobermans have markings on the chest, paws/legs, muzzle, above the eyes and underneath the tail.

A bundle of energy and love

A super intelligent and a super active dog—that’s what you should be prepared for when you get a Doberman Pinscher home. You also get an extremely loyal, trustworthy pet who’ll be playful and fun-loving with your family. They’re natural protectors who won’t hesitate to act when they think their family is under threat. At the same time, I’ve realised that they’re not aggressive without reason.

Switch on the socialisation tab

A Doberman’s temperament is affected of with dogs, I have found that when we put in efforts towards early socialisation, we get to reap benefits throughout the pet’s life.

Good grooming goes a long way

Dobermans have a sleek coat that requires minimal grooming. They’re a clean dog, with minimal doggy odour, thankfully so. However, the short coat does shed. So, they require regular grooming to clean after playing in gardens or mud playground. Bathing them twice a month is ideal to avoid skin issues.

Trimming nails is needed once in a month or mental stimulation than the average dog, and walking is a great activity for them. Not only walking is good for your pet’s fitness, it will also keep you fit and active. If your pet experiences separation anxiety or nervousness, then also walking is a great exercise for them.

I personally allow my pets a leash-free run in my gardens and also plan various exercises for them to keep their physical and mental health in check. My routine with my pets includes giving them 2km trotting on my scooter, swimming on alternate days for 15 minutes, leash-free run and fetching with a ball, jumps on hurdles, and 30 minutes of show practice, making them habituated to stack and trot for dog shows.

Good food is good mood

Doberman Pinschers require high-quality food that is easily digestible and palatable. The first appropriate ingredient listed could be a meat source, such as chicken, beef, or lamb. To avoid health concerns, the food should be nutritionally balanced. Purchase high-quality dog food and look for diets appropriate for your pet’s age. To maintain our Doberman’s shiny coat, muscle-build, and healthy structure, I prefer giving my pets a pet food that’s balanced with essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

(Pujan Patel is a member of Ahmedabad Canine Club which is associated with Indian National Kennel Club)

Breaking the bridge of love with emotional neglect


Nitya Ramachandran

Emotional neglect is a process in which the caregiver fails to recognise the emotional needs of a dog, due to which he fails to meet those needs. It is usually an unintentional act of passivity and does not involve malicious intent.

What are the emotional needs of your pet?

To recognise and prevent emotional neglect, one needs to know what kind of emotional needs dogs have. Emotional needs in dogs can vary according to their age, gender, personalities, and history. However, certain basic ones are common to all dogs. They include –

• A sense of control over the environment
• Mental stimulation
• Safety from dangerous stimuli
• Social companionship
• A structured lifestyle

Vouching for emotional healthy pet parenting

Becoming aware of your neglectful behaviour towards your pet and how it negatively impacts him is the first step towards becoming a responsible pet parent. Here are some ways people can emotionally neglect their pets –

• Inappropriate handling of emotions Pet parents cannot help the dog navigate stressful emotions like fear, anxiety, and sadness because they don’t read the behavioral cues given by the pet correctly. Pet parents can either downplay or deny their pet’s actual emotional experience.

• Follow the rule – respect the boundaries

Using physical force to make your pet do something that he does not want to do not only amounts to overlooking his needs but also disrespects his body.

• A big ‘No’ to authoritarian parenting style

The caregiver is very harsh and dominating and does not give the pet’s unique personality a chance to blossom. He punishes the pet for his emotions like fear, anger, excitement, jealousy, frustration, etc., because the pet-parent struggles with processing these emotions in his/her own life.

• Dogs should be loved, not chained

Isolating an animal as social as a dog at the end of a chain can cause him extreme anguish and drive an otherwise friendly and docile dog into an unhappy, anxious, and aggressive being. Chained dogs are often ignored and rarely given even minimal affection.

• Not emp ower i ng t hem w it h environmental enrichments

Your pet cannot call up a friend when he’s lonely. Not providing enough toys, tasks, or activities to keep your pet busy and mentally stimulated can cause him to become bored and may also have a negative impact on their mental health.

• All they need is a safe haven & love!

Failure to provide your pet with a safe retreat from fearful stimuli and an inability to protect and soothe him when he is scared constitutes emotional neglect.

• Ignoring playtime is a serious offence

Lack of sufficient playtime can compromise your pet’s mental health. Play time helps build emotional resilience in dogs because they learn how to recover from mildly challenging situations and experiences. The enjoyment of a good play session activates positive emotions in dogs and strengthens the emotional bond between all playing partners.

• Love cannot be purchased and affection has no price

Providingaffection to your pet in the form of gentle petting, stroking, or massage can result in the release of oxytocin – a cuddle chemical, which strengthens the emotional bond between you and your pooch. Receiving no affection at all can seriously threaten the welfare of the little furry one.

• Keep calm and no more overwhelming

Not giving your pet time to do things at his own pace, not giving him the freedom to make choices, overwhelming him, etc., can adversely affect his well-being. Not only will it dampen his confidence, but it will also result in an emotionally unstable dog that is unable to adapt to environmental changes.

• Let the little explorer wander

Not letting your pet sniff and explore his surroundings will prevent him from learning how to cope with situations on his own. It may lead him to become excessively dependent on you and cause separation anxiety when you’re not around.

• Rooting for routine

Dogs want to control their environment and experiences to ensure their safety. A reasonably predictable daily routine can offer your pet just that because he knows what is coming next. Never knowing how their day is going to pan out can cause pets to become anxious and irritated.

• Goodness stands on motivation & rewards

It is easy to motivate your pet through the use of rewards. Just the anticipation of a potential reward can release feel-good chemicals in the dog’s brain and activate positive emotions. Never motivating or rewarding your pet with treats will lead to a lackluster bond between the two of you.

Abetting emotional abandonment & neglect

Dogs cannot talk and let us know how they’re feeling. Careful observation of the pet’s behavior will give important cues that the pet is starving for an emotional connection.

Here are a few of the ways how emotional neglect manifests in the behavior of your pet –

• He becomes reclusive and withdraws from people or becomes hostile and vicious towards them. He is unable to build and sustain healthy social relationships.

• He acts defeated and fails to thrive in general. Your pet might appear unhappy and depressed most of the time.

• He stops showing interest in playing and is afraid to go out and explore his surroundings.

• Your pet’s ability to learn seems to slow down and also shows signs of delayed responsiveness.

• Because emotional well-being directly impacts physical health, repeated illnesses such as upset stomach, infections, obesity, etc., can affect your pet.

• He displays aggressive behavioral tendencies by barking all the time or lunging at visitors.

• Your pooch’s food habits take a beating. Either he does not show any interest in eating or shows too much interest in it. Your pet might resort to begging for food, guarding food, and at times, even stealing food.

• He displays attention-seeking behavior such as jumping, nipping, etc.

• He tears up your belongings such as clothes, socks, cushions, etc.

• Your pet unable to control his bladder and urinates in places he shouldn’t.

• He shows signs of separation-related emotional distress and will be afraid to be left alone. Your pet might find it difficult to differentiate between a friend and a foe.

Emotional neglect can damage the bridge of love between you and your pooch. It is never too late to make repairs. And if you think the situation is going out of control you can consult a pet behavior expert.

Busting common myths about pet food and nutrition

Many pet parents make decisions about pet foods based not on facts, but on the many common myths and misconceptions that prevail. As a responsible pet parent, it is important to understand the science behind the food and nutritional requirement of your furry friends.

Myth: The Ingredient list is a right approach to determine the quality of a pet food

Truth: Ingredient lists are commonly used by people to determine the quality of pet foods, but this approach has many pitfalls and can be subjected to intentional manipulation by the pet-food manufacturer. Ingredients are listed on labels in order of weight, including water, so ingredients with high water content (like fresh meats and vegetables) are listed before similar amounts of dry ingredients, even though they may contribute fewer nutrients overall.

It is important to understand the difference between ingredients and nutrients. Ingredients are the raw materials in a diet that are vehicles to deliver nutrients and these nutrients are absorbed in the body for the growth and development of cats and dogs. Foods full of great-sounding ingredients can be less nutritious than those containing less appealing (to pet parents) ingredients. Some manufacturers may add ingredients to products solely for marketing purposes, to increasethe appeal of the food to consumers. Make sure that your pet is obtaining a complete and balanced meal in right amount of with theexact level of natural antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.

Myth: Home-cooked foods are healthier for my pet than pre-packaged products

Truth: Home-cooked foods allow more control of ingredients and can be customized as per your pet’s specific taste. But most homecooked food recipes are not formulated by a qualified veterinary nutritionist and may be deficient in multiple essential nutrients, making them much less nutritious than prepackaged pet foods. Even when the recipe is nutritionally balanced, there is no evidence that the average animal receives better nutrition from a home-cooked food than a pre-packaged food. Pre-packaged pet foods offer the best nutrition with convenience and affordability for a lot of pet parents.

High-quality pre-packaged pet foods have been tested over decades to provide adequate and balanced nutrition for dogs and cats. Except for some pets with multiple or severe health concerns, there is a pre-packaged food that is appropriate for every pet, and nutritional deficiency diseases are rare in pets who are fed good quality pre-packaged products.

In 2013, a study looking at 200 homeprepared diets for dogs found that over 95% were deficient in one or more essential nutrients. The nutritional adequacy of recipes for 67 home-prepared diets for dogs and cats with chronic kidney disease has been evaluated, and assumptions were needed for the preparation of every recipe. Lack of clear instructions likely increases variability and potentially impacts the nutritional profile of the prepared diet. Combined with problems of nutritional adequacy, this may result in substantial harm to pets when homeprepared diets are used on a long-term basis In general, many home-prepared diets are costly, more time-consuming to prepare, and less convenient than are pre-packaged diets, and many home-prepared diets have major nutritional imbalances.

Myth: Feeding my pet raw food will help with proper nutrients

Truth: Despite anecdotal reports from pet parents and even some veterinarians, there is currently no evidence that raw foods offer any benefits over cooked ones. Pets who eat contaminated raw foods have been demonstrated to shed viable pathologic organisms in their feces, and contaminate the area where they shed.

In addition to food safety concerns, nearly all home-prepared raw diets and many commercially available raw products are deficient in essential nutrients. It is also common for commercial raw products to be very high in fat, which may become a health hazard. Putting your pet on a raw food diet comes with risks to both the pet and the people living in the household, says Alison Meindl, DVM, a veterinarian and professor at Colorado State University. Some of the risks of a raw diet include:

Bacterial infection – Compared to cooked diets, raw diets are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, which can make your dog seriously ill. But even if your dog doesn’t get sick, he could shed bacteria into your household, which could then get picked up by another pet or human.”These infectious organisms can be very dangerous to immune compromised people living in the household with the dog,” Meindl says. This can include elderly people, young children, and people on immuno suppressive medication such as chemotherapy.

Nutritional deficiency– “Many raw diets are also not nutritionally balanced and healthy. Unless formulated by an expert in veterinary nutrition, these diets can lead to malnutrition and health problems,” McKenzie says.

Injury from bones – Bones are often a part of raw diets, but they may not be safe for dogs. Dogs can break their teeth while chewing on bones and shards of bone can pierce their intestines or cause blockages Larsen says. In some cases, these injuries can be life-threatening.

The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) conducted a study to screen 196 samples of commercially available raw dog and cat food. Of the 196 raw pet food samples analyzed, 15 were positive for Salmonella and 32 were positive for L. monocytogenes.

Myth: Grain-free diets are superior to pet foods containing grains

Truth: Whole grains, rather than fillers, contribute to valuable nutrients including protein,vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and fibre to foods while helping to keep the fat and calories lower as compared to other animal products. Even refined grains such as white rice and corn can have beneficial health implications depending on the type of food and the pet. Dogs and cats can efficiently digest and use nutrients from grains. Allergies to grains (and even to animal proteins such as chicken, beef, and dairy) are actually very uncommon in dogs and cats. It is becoming more common in the saturated pet food market for manufacturers to perpetuate myths to sell products and increase market share.

Grain-free foods are often an example of this strategy. Many such products merely substitute highly refined starches such as those from potatoes or tapioca in place of grains. These ingredients often provide fewer nutrients and less fibre than whole grains while costing more at the same time. Whole grains provide an important nutritional resource for your dog, including B-group vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium, carbohydrates for energy, and fibre to aid in digestion.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has opened an investigation into the development of dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs who are fed grain-free diets. They have found that with the 1100+ dogs studied, 90% of the products fed were labeled as grain-free diets.

Your veterinarian should be consulted regarding the best dietary choices for your pet, “Take your Pet to the Vet” an initiative by Royal Canin to create awareness about preventative care of pets and make an informed choice

All I Want for Christmas is ‘Bow’

Here’s what a great Christmas looks like – being cuddled up with your furry friend, drinking hot chocolate and watching cute holiday-themed movies! Make the most of this season of joy with your pets.

Our lovely pet parents share how their pets make their life and this festive season all the more bright and happy. Spreading cheer, one wag at a time gets a whole new meaning with the priceless friendship with your furry buddies!

Awesome ‘paw’some magicians
“Momo is the silver lining in the clouds of our day-to-day chores called life. His presence uplifts our emotions, our sense of responsibility, and most importantly our quality of life in terms of companionship. His demands for cuddling, playfulness and mischief soothe us in our stressful lives. His funny streaks, innocent gazes, wagging tail makes my mundane life of pursuing PhD a fun-filled existence. And quoting my wife, a healthcare professional in this situation of pandemic, the only thing that keeps me sane even after witnessing numerous deaths in ICUs, is Momo’s godly presence with us. A week ago, we celebrated his first birthday and are waiting for Christmas. We are blessed to be his humans. And he is our sunshine,’ says Soumya Deep Das.


“My pet Bruno is my magician and has brought immense joy and happiness in our life. He’s a complete foodie and he loves to eat Pedigree, veggies, fruits and relishes fish and rice as well. I love spending time with him basking in the sun or playing in the evenings. Outdoor is his favourite place. If he sees a cat he barks like anything. Due to pandemic I could not take him with me during my travels. I take special care of Bruno’s wellness and grooming. Because remember that a well-groomed dog is a happy dog,” says MRM Nair.


Santa paws is coming to town
“Buzzo is my sunshine and my best friend in the whole world. He shows unconditional love and loyalty towards me and my family. You need to be a pet parent to understand the feeling that he’s not just a pet but an integral part of your family. I have learned how to be happy and joyful in life from Buzzo and will always be grateful to him,” says Krishna.

Elly & Ishanvi

“Elly is my best friend, my reason to smile and her smiley face keeps our heart at peace4. She is an angel who is blessed our life and taught me the meaning of unconditional love. She is an indispensable part of my life. Thanks for coming into our life and leaving paw prints on our heart fur-ever,” says Ishanvi.



“My dogs have been the reason I have woken up every single day of my life with a smile on my face. Our canine buddies are always there for us in good times and in bad. Bella is the reason I smile everyday—the reason my heart is filled with unbound love and affection. Nothing makes me smile more than looking into the face of my furry friend who loves me beyond words,” says Siya.

We ‘woof’ you a Merry Christmas!

Maverick with Ishita and Mansi

“Christmas is a joyous and happy time of the year. On this eve, Heads Up For Tails (HUFT) collaborated with Stills by Rohit to organise a photography session for all of their pet families. So, my sister and I decided to surprise our pet, Maverick, in a unique way to commemorate the occasion. As soon as we reached the location, Maverick was overjoyed to see his new friends at the studio. The most surprising part was that he continued to run around and pose in various ways, attracting everyone around him. He liked the way he was being captured, as well as the new red stole he was wearing around his neck. We had a great time getting our candid photo, and all we wanted for Christmas was to spend time with him and when we captured all of our wonderful moments says,” Ishita.

Let the sun shine on your life’s sunshine

Mia with Clarice and Sharath Satish

“When Mia came home, we knew our lives would change forever. But never in a million years could we have thought she’d have an impact on so many people. She makes friends everywhere we go and gives each of them so much love and happiness. She’s happy in just being near people. She doesn’t need treats or toys or material things. Just a human (or ten) to love. Treats and toys are of course always accepted as a bonus,” says Clarice.

“Until 2019, Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat was my motto. And then in the year 2020 enters a highly energetic cuddly furball in our life – Mr Flockii Lobo. He found the way to our heart instantly. His twinkling eyes gave us so much warmth that he synced to the rhythm of my heartbeat! Our mornings now start with his slobbery kisses, I smile like never before, I plan his meals/daily activities as he eagerly waits for it, and I got a travel buddy now. I now laugh till my tummy aches looking at his puppy face, I weep like a baby because I know he listens to me and wouldn’t judge me, in one moment I become a child and the very next I turn a pet parent and just like that my routine changed from a normal to a happy life, a meaningful one! He is my daily reminder to smile no matter what!,” says Josheela Lobo

Josheela conclusively adds, “I strongly believe that someone above knew that I deserved few of my deepest wishes that have remained unfulfilled and so he graced me with this little miracle who now helps me accomplish the most integral reason of this life…. living it.”

Vikas Khanna embracing pet parent

Jyaneswar Laishram

Indian chef, restaurateur, cookbook writer, filmmaker, humanitarian… and most of all, a pet lover, Vikas Khanna has a lovely tale to be told about his dogs—Tiddy and Plum. He considers his pet dogs as one of the best parts of his life. They are his comfort, friends and family.–by Jyaneswar Laishram

Born in Amritsar, Vikas Khanna is now based in New York City. He had a mixed Pomeranian called Tiddy when he was young and just beginning to go to college. It was the time when he started entering the cooking career as a profession. “Tiddy was my little baby and she was my kitchen taster, she was my guinea pig, she was always with me when I was cooking,” recalls Vikas, adding that she was his support system and his best friend.

He continues, “It was the time when long-distance call was very expensive. However, whenever I called from college in south India to my parents in north I always kept asking them, ‘Please tell Tiddy to bark’. After working in Mumbai, Vikas left his job and came home. The day he reached home Tiddy had been sick and she passed away after a few hours.

A hard time
Still lingering on the sadness of losing Tiddy, Vikas says, “I never could forgive myself and could never recover in many ways from Tiddy for more than 24 years. It was very hard for me. My sister was very insistent, telling me I should get another dog.” He adds, “For me, I feel that they give you a lot. They forgive you, they care for you and they love you a lot. And somehow they leave you too soon.”

Love at first sight
Vikas kept looking at other people’s dogs and thought of getting a little Pom. It was after a long gap he decided to have a little Pom in his life. He went to a lady breeder where he met some other breeds too, but he always loved the Pom. When he asked her for a Pom, she said ‘no’ and offered him Maltese, saying, “Have you ever seen them?” He said ‘yes’ because his neighbour had one. Then he fell in love with the breed at first sight.

Meeting crazy Plum
Amid the group of Maltese pups was one who moved so crazy, so efficient and just hugging Vikas. It was Plum—his current dog. “The moment he saw me, he was as if saying ‘Oh I was searching for you’. ‘Me too’, I replied,” says Vikas. The incident was so amazing. One of his friends captured the love story on camera. Vikas adds, “It’s so amazing how they give you so much. How they root you, ground you, in many ways. They are your comfort, they are your friend and they are your family. This has been one of the best parts of life.”

Studio dog
Plum or full name ‘Plum Khanna’ is now five months old. He is amazing white with little golden blonde fur. “He doesn’t like going to my apartment, just a regular New York City apartment. He loves to be in my studio. He loves socilaising and playing with a lot of people there, this is something very interesting. Every time I see him the first thing he brings is his toys and he wants me to chase and catch them,” narrates Vikas.

Outdoors together
“I take him to small walks and hikes. Sometimes I take him to ferry boat rides, which have been our regularly activities since he was a pup. He accompanies me for bike rides in Central Park. He absolutely loves it. It’s difficult for me to bike alone these days as I have to put him on the bike and take him,” tells Vikas.

Soul mate
On alternate weekends, the two go to Madison Square Garden where there is a dog park which Plum really likes. Plum also loves spending time with Vikas’ sister Radhika. “Actually, he loves my sister more than me. He is totally my sister’s soul mate. When he goes to her house he spends some weekends—he is the boss there,” says Vikas. Even Vikas is ignored when Radhika is around.

Healing paws
For Vikas, spending time with Plum gives him mental peace, especially in the post-pandemic time when he has not been able to travel much and not been able to do many things. In this respect, he shares, “I am very proud that I have been able to put this perspective in my mind that a pet can heal us so easily.”

Same attitude
On what he loves about Plum, Vikas says, “I love his dedication, honesty and friendship. In a way, I love Plum’s attitude that really makes me laugh. We take him to his training school and he doesn’t want to do what the trainer tells him to do, we share the same attitude. He is very hard-headed which I absolutely love about him.”

Travelling partner
Vikas works kind of 365 days a year. He doesn’t take any vacation break. That’s why Plum doesn’t get the chance to go to vacation with his chef pet parent. However, it is on work purpose trips only when Plum travels with Vikas. “It’s really good to have him around wherever I go. He is a good travel partner because he enjoys people. When I take him to new places he is confident and happy,” says Vikas.

Son of a chef
When it comes to Plum’s nutrition, diet, treats and exercise routines, Vikas takes care of everything very closely. “We have an open space for him to run and a lot of people around to play with him. Our evening walks, we do it religiously everyday at 10:30 in the night. It is a must,” he mentions. About health, Plum has an amazing vet who looks after everything and guides Vikas to follow them properly.

“Plum loves fish stick made of dry fish skin. When he gets it you cannot find him anywhere for the next 30 minutes, he doesn’t talk to anyone while gorging on it,” says Vikas, adding that he loves dessert chicken biscuit too. He conclusively says that Plum gets the best because he is ‘son of a chef’.

Favourite activity together: Digging! Maltese is rat hunter. So, if I scratch little on the mattress he goes crazy, starts scratching and digging.
His annoying habit: He is teething, so he still bites.
His funny/crazy antics: He starts learning to do namaste, it drives me nuts.
Quality you love most about him: He is a socialite who socialises with everyone and changes the energy around us.

Erica Fernandes –Champion actress with her Champ

Talking to Erica Fernandes to know her lovely memories with her pets, how she evolved as a pet parent and what responsible pet parenting means to her.

Erica Fernandes is a popular Indian TV actress and model. She made her way into the audience’s heart through the beautiful portrayal of Dr Sonakshi Bose in the serial Kuch Rang Pyaar Ke Aise Bhi. You also know her as the lovely Prerna from Kasauti Zindagi Kay. She has a YouTube channel where she shares amazing content and gives a glimpse of her pet loving side as well.

Roger that: Love for pets started young & early
Ever since my childhood I’ve had pets. And you know apart from dogs, we have had fish and turtles as well.

As a kid I remember getting home rescue animals/ birds (baby sparrow, hawks, and kitten). I would nurse them back to health and let them go. My first pet was Roger who was also a stray and ever since there has never been a moment without my furry friends!

Timeless treasures of my heart
I have had 10 – 12 pets in the past and most of them were strays. All my pets have a special place in my heart and there are so many heart-warming and memorable incidents. We had bought home an abandoned Lhasa and named him Ringo. He used to never leave my side and would lovingly follow me everywhere! When we used to play hide and seek I was the easiest to spot because he would always wait near the place I was hiding.

Champion actress and her Champ
I was gifted Champ on my birthday six years ago. He is an adorable Golden Retriever who loves cuddling and getting pampered. I love that he thinks of himself as a human baby, despite his size, and wants to sleep like a baby in my arms and on my lap. Pets have a very strong sense to know who is an animal lover or not.

I have taken Champ on short road trips and we have done 2-3 day trips. But one of the most memorable trips was to Mahabaleshwar with my brother and sister-in-law and he loved it. He enjoyed himself to the fullest being his naughty self.

Responsible pet parenting with sprinkling of spoiling him
I do look into his exercise and nutrition, but my parents see to it that they spoil him rotten. It’s true to say that Champ is a complete brat! He does have a meal plan, but I think he is more of a cat as he loves eating fish. His favourite treats are meat Jerky and Choostix.


Favourite activity together: Hide and seek

Annoying habits: He hates not being given attention so when we have guests over and are talking among ourselves he keeps on barking to get attention.

Qualities you love: He is a love bug and has only given us happy and fun filled memories. Pets know the concept of unconditional loving and we should definitely it learn from them.

Funny/crazy antics: After we enter home and he has welcomed us with his kisses the first thing he does is take our shoes and run away as if he is saying, “No, I’m not letting you have them or else you will leave me and go again.”

Remember that they are babies who refuse to grow! So spend time with your pets, make memories, and cherish the love they bless you with.

Indie at Heart– Anuja Chauhan & her love for Indie dogs

Anuja Chauhan is a famous Indian author who worked as an advertising professional before pursuing her full-time literary career. She is known for her books, The Zoya Factor, Battle for Bittora, Those Pricey Thakur Girls, and the latest being Club You to Death. She’s a mom to three loving kids and her love for furry babies is all over the social media. Let’s hear from Anuja in her wit and manner, how she fostered her love for dogs and is fostering Indies and setting such a nice example!

My family has always had pets. My mother and grandmother were very fond of dogs and cats, indeed very fond of all animals. Besides any number of dogs and cats, my mother had a mongoose too, and my nani had a tortoise and they always let the squirrels eat the mangoes and guavas off the fruit trees. And of course in my dadaji’s village there were lots of buffaloes, each once lovingly named and cared for.

We grew up sort-of assuming that everybody has animals. I once went to somebody’s house and after waiting for the family pet to show up for a while, finally asked “Where’s your dog?” and remember being so amazed that they didn’t have one.

The books we read gave us a special love of animals too. My parents used to love the James Herriot books, All Creatures Great and Small series, about this vet who works in Yorkshire. And Animal Farm, which of course is a satire, but as kids we read it just as a children’s book, and the Narnia books were full of talking animals, especially Aslan the lion, after whom we named our Lhasa Apso Ashoo, and others like Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass with the talking rabbit, the Dormouse, the Mock Turtle, the Walrus and the Oysters and the lizard named Bill! So yes, we grew up around animals and knew no other way than to love them.

Love for Amma and all other wonderful Indies
Adoption happened to me very recently. It all started with my rescue baby Chabbis, an Indie puppy who I found howling inside a manhole while walking my two other dogs (Django and Goldie) on the 26th of January two years ago. He was one month old and he’d fallen down the manhole and he didn’t know how to get out. So, I got him out, and then of course, I looked into his gulab jamun brown eyes and I couldn’t give him up.

And you know, once you have an Indie, then all the Indie dogs on the streets and the galis start looking different to you. Your eyes get opened in a whole new way and you connect with them and they connect with you. So, I get friendly with this stray on my street whom we nicknamed Amma because she was always pregnant.

The first time I saw Amma she had just delivered nine tiny puppies and she was so weak and tick-ridden and emaciated. Plus, she was scared of me and wouldn’t let me get close. And the vet came and looked at her and said she was too weak for neutering surgery, anyway. So I just left food for her at a distance. Then one of her puppies died, and we suspect the municipality came and got rid of the others, because one fine morning Amma just had the one puppy following her around. But we continued to befriend her and feed her and slowly she started trusting us. Then she got pregnant again, but this time we were prepared. We fed her well, gave her supplements and she had a litter of six gorgeous, healthy puppies. Two months later, we got her neutered and vaccinated and started looking for homes for the puppies.

And then we realised two things – nobody wants Indie dogs in India, and especially if they’re girls.

There were three boy puppies and three girl puppies and we finally managed to get the boys placed to lovely homes after posting a lot on FB groups and our Insta stories – but NOBODY wanted the girls. It really bought home how deeply sexist we are as a nation! I kept telling people that the neutering surgery is safe and inexpensive, but they would just shake their heads and ask for a boy. It was so frustrating and heart-breaking.

Happy, Kali, Cola & Rani— Make it to the US
Finally, I had no choice but to reach out to my sister Nandini Bajpai, a Boston-based novelist, who has fostered puppies with the organisation ‘Rescue Without Borders’ for years. They have rescued more than a thousand puppies from India and the Middle East and got them placed in carefully chosen homes in the US.

The puppies need a sponsor (which was Nandini, in this case), an international health certificate, all their vaccinations and must be more than four months old to fly to the US. They need to be micro-chipped also. It’s not a very difficult process. But the pandemic made things much more difficult. Usually, ‘Rescue Without Borders’ looks for friends and animal lovers who are flying to the US on Lufthansa (which has hands-down the best animal transfer service) and requests them to take the puppies along as excess baggage for an additional fee of about US$ 300-500 per puppy, which is easily recoverable at the other end as the adoption fee is usually about US$ 700 per puppy. But because of the pandemic, Lufthansa wasn’t flying to the Bangalore – Boston sector anymore. The only way to send the puppies was via Lufthansa cargo, which was not only much more expensive, but also a little scarier, because they would be flying unaccompanied on a cargo plane.

This was a huge hurdle; especially as the puppies were eating away and growing with gusto and the larger they got the more it was going to cost us to transport them! Also, some of my elderly neighbours were getting more and more antsy about the fact that I had mongrel puppies outside my home.

Finally, Nandini paid for the transfer out of her own pocket and once the puppies were placed into loving homes, carefully whetted by Rescue without Borders, the puppy adoption fee helped her recover (some, but not all of) the cost of the tickets and the paper work. Siva from ‘Global Pet Relocation Agency’ handled the actual paperwork and the transfer – he was very helpful and very experienced.

We got Happy, Kali, Cola and Rani ready for their long journey by sleeping them in their crates for a week before the actual flight. We put in their blankets and some of my old clothes to calm them, but that moment in the cargo terminal when I had to put them into their crates and shut the grill on their sweet, trusting faces was a heart-breaking one for me!

It was a ten hour flight, then a day’s layover in the large airy animal transit lounge in Frankfurt and then another ten hour flight and then they were with Nandu. They came out covered in poop of course, but they perked up soon. So it all turned out well. And their mother Amma still lives outside my gate. She’s healthy now, and carefree and tick-free. She loves belly-rubs in the sunshine and is an excellent gatekeeper for our home.

A caste system in the dog-universe?
Indie dogs are ideally suited for Indian conditions. They have short coats, they barely shed, and they’re acclimatised to the heat. Because they depend on humans for their food, they’re very friendly. And they’re right there on the road outside and available, if you want one!

But we insist on paying so much money to breeders to get fancy breeds like Huskies, Shitzus and Poodles to swelter in our hot weather, and in-breed them so much that they develop all kinds of health issues. Indies are original dogs, healthy dogs like the Australian Dingoes who are dogs the way dogs were meant to be before breeders started messing around with them to create exotic strains.

People need to realise this. Train and feed an Indie well, get all her vaccination and medication done and she will grow into a beautiful, healthy, intelligent and loving pet.

In our township, so many construction workers and their families keep Indies. They know how loyal Indies are, and how well they guard sleeping babies and the home and hearth of their masters’ tiny homes. It’s only us middle-class folks who are too snobbish to keep them. We only want pedigreed dogs, because those are status symbol. It’s like there’s a caste system at work in the dog-universe too – and so, in spite of all their beauty and their many virtues, the Indies are at the bottom of the heap!

Ah well, perhaps Indians will start adopting more Indies when they realise they have become such a craze in the US!

The awesome ‘paw’some family
As a family (my husband and our three children) we’ve had Django – our Lhasa Apso, now almost for 14 years. Then there was Goldie, our Golden Retriever who passed last year at age 14+ and is buried under a golden bougainvillea in our garden. And now we have Chabbis January Alva, who is just recently two. We’ve had Chaep, a gorgeous marmalade coloured ginger tomcat, and Lakai, a gorgeous calico girl and Christmas, a grey boy tabby.

Sweetest memories of my beloved furry friends
All our pets are special. Goldie has a piece of my heart because he was such a loving dog – practically human because he loved me so much. And he was absolutely fearless and super-protective. Every year, while other dogs would cower between the beds during the Diwali season, Goldie would come racing out like a golden streak and pick up lit Anars and Chakris in his mouth even as they fizzed and sparkled, because he thought the fire crackers were attacking our children! We tied him up every year, but he always managed to get out somehow and come running to attack the fire-crackers.

And then there’s our grumpy old man Django, who spends the whole day dozing on his cushion, ignoring us, but the moment you put on your shoes and pick up the car key, he turns into a capering puppy, rushing around like crazy and leaping into the front passenger seat before the garage door is even properly opened. He has a real Need for Speed.

One of Amma’s puppies – Happy, was just such a godi (lap) monster. He would stand and look at you beseechingly till you sat down and crossed your legs and made a godi and then he’d leap right into it. He’s still doing it. In his latest pictures on Facebook, I saw that he’s trained his American mom and dad to sit cross-legged and form a godi and he was sitting in it – the huge hulk!

Unconditional love in more than one way I’m at home the whole day with my pets, so that’s how I spend time with them. Whenever someone asks me – what you love most about your pets, I always say ‘their eyes’. I love the way they look at me. I love how non-judgemental and forgiving they are.

And now talking about what my dogs love about me! I think they love the food, the belly and bum rubs, and the sound of my voice.
Encouraging responsible pet parenting with a little help
You have to be consistent. Consistency is the key. And the dog needs to know you’re the boss. You cannot be afraid of your dog. Because then he is just not your dog.

To be honest, I’ve delegated the walking and the feeding to my domestic staff. But I do feed the puppies!


Chabbis with Anuja Chauhan

Favourite activity together: Chabbis and I love soaking up sunshine and he loves to chase butterflies! Django and I go for long drives with country music playing, and that’s our favourite way to unwind

Annoying habits: Django is always asking to be scratched… he is such a champi addict. We should have named him Champi. And Chabbis eats my socks – while they’re on my feet!

Qualities you love: They love me – even though I’m a really difficult person to love.

Goldie in Battle for Bittora

My novel Battle for Bittora has a dog called Ponky who is based totally on my darling Goldie.

Looking for home
Our four Indie puppies are looking for a home. If anyone wants to adopt the new Indie puppies they should contact me at my layout’s volunteer group PAWSS (Protection And Welfare of Strays and Our Society), e-mail: pawssofhtst@gmail.com

An Angel of Love Called Charlie!

Increible GEMS OF INDIA!

India has always been the land where dogs were loved and were a part of the household. It is in recent times that the trend of international breeds has taken over. Do you know that native dogs are the incredible gems of India. There are so many native breeds of India that people don’t know about. They are perfect for our climate and topography. So know more about these beauties. It’s time to woof for #nativebreeds in our 99th issue. –by Dr Aeknath Virendra, Dr Ninad Yagnik,  Tarang Bhatt, Dr Ranbir Jatav, Dr Ankit Meshram, Dr Aishwarya Das and Dr Ayushi Singh

Dr Aeknath Virendra

Dr Ninad Yagnik

Tarang Bhatt

Dr Ranbir Jatav

Dr Ankit Meshram

Dr Aishwarya Das

Dr Ayushi Singh

Know about our native beauty, Dr Aeknath Virendra emphasises that management of desi breeds is easier in the Indian climatic conditions. Environment plays a major role in the overall performance and also the immunity of the body. Breeds like St. Bernard and Huskies are not meant for Indian climatic conditions, but people get them here without realizing that their management would be difficult and expensive.

Sniff our Indian breeds who definitely need to be in the limelight and get all praise!

Regality from South India – Royal Rajapalayam
Rajapalayam, also known as the Polygar Hound or Indian Ghost Hound, is a breed from south India. He was the constant companion, boar hunter and guard of the royalty and aristocracy in Southern India, particularly in his namesake town of Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu. Rajapalayam has average weights of 30–45kg, measuring about 65–75cm and life span up to 20 years.

Dr Aeknath adds that Rajapalayam were working as war dogs during the Carnatic Wars and Polygar War against the British army. They are still at the Indian Army and they are posted on the borders of Kashmir. They are found to be very dedicated and devoted to their pet parents, yet very aggressive towards strangers. The one thing to keep in mind is that Rajapalayams don’t gel well with cats, so if you already have a pet cat this breed isn’t for you.

Combai – the mighty hunk!
Combai, also known as Indian Terrier, is a breed who evolved in the foothills of Western Ghats of South India. They are most popular for their aggression and loyalty. They are considered to be an extremely intelligent and powerful native breed. The breed had reached the brink of extinction, but thanks to the unparalleled efforts of dog enthusiasts in Tamil Nadu, they have now been revived. Combai’s average weight is between 25–30kg, measuring about 40–45cm and life span up to 9–13 years

Majestic and magnificent Mudhol Hound
Mudhol Hound is known by various names – Maratha Hound, Pashmi Hound and Kathiawar. He is a breed of Sight Hound from the Indian subcontinent. The Indian Army has expressed their desire to work with Mudhol Hounds for surveillance and border protection duties and recently they have obtained six Mudhol dogs for testing at the Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps at Meerut. Mudhol Hound is an extremely loyal, intelligent, and powerful breed. His average weight is 20–28kg, measuring about 65–73cm, life span up to 13–14 years.

Another attractive yet a very helpful breed, Mudhol Hounds have tucked in abdomen with well-muscled hind quarters and a tapering tail, strong at the base. There are two varieties available i.e. with smooth coat and with silky featherings.

Courageous Chippiparai – bred by royal families
Chippiparai gets his name from the town that the breed is believed to have originated from—Chippiparai in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. This breed was bred by the royal families of the area and continues to be a symbol of royalty and dignity amongst the Tirunelveli and Madurai rulers. Chippiparais are known to be fierce hunters. They would find and kill their prey. Chippiparais are Sight Hounds and they have eyes positioned in such a way that they get 270 degree scope of vision, which is more than most dog breeds.

Measuring about 75–79cm, average weight of Chippiparai is 15–20kg with lifespan up to 13–14 years.

Loyalists at heart – Kanni
Kanni is a royal and rare indigenous Hound breed also known as a Maiden’s Beastmaster whose roots can be traced to Tamil Nadu. During ancient times they were generally used for hunting by landlords. The name Kanni means ‘pure’ in Tamil and was given to the breed for their loyalty and purity of heart. The Kennel Club of India registered Kanni in two names – black and tan colored dogs from the breed are called Kanni and rest of the colors are Chippiparai.
Average weight of Kanni is 16–22 kg, measuring about 64–74 cm with life span up to14–16 years.

Bhotia with the stamp of supremacy
Bhotia, also known as Himalayan Sheepdog or Himalayan Mastiff, is the breed famous for being a livestock guardian dog. They are most commonly found in the Himalayan foothills from Kashmir to Eastern Nepal. In 2005, Bhotia was one of four Indian dog breeds featured on a set of postage stamps released by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology by Government of India to celebrate the country’s canine heritage. Average weight of Bhotia is 23–41kg, measuring about 51–66cm, but can be up to 77cm, with life span up to 10-11 years.

Tuffy of India – Indian Spitz
Indian Spitz is a Spitz type breed that belongs to the utility group. They are known to be friendly and affectionate and make great pets. The breed gained a lot of popularity in the late 1980s and 90s. Fluffy, cute, and tiny Indian Spitz is an ideal breed size for modern Indian homes and just slightly larger in size than their cousin breed Pomeranian. Average weight of Indian Spitz is 8-20kg, measuring about 35–45cm with life span up to 10–14 years.

Dr Aeknath says that this breed is one of the most intelligent and it is really easy to train them. Two varieties are available i.e. large and small. Indian Spitz is one of the highly expressive breeds. Their fox like ears make them all the more lovable and adorable. Their small size makes them a convenient breed for modern homes with less space.

Native at heart – Indian Pariah Dog
Indian Pariah Dog, also known as Indian Native Dog or INDog, South Asian Pye Dog or Native Dog, is landrace of dog native to the Indian subcontinent. They have erect ears, a wedge-shaped head, and a curved tail. The breed is easily trainable and is a good guard dog. They are the best example of ancient group of pye dogs. They are most suited for Indian weather conditions and are robust and strong. Average weight of Indian Pariah Dog is 20–30kg, measuring about 51–64 cm with life span up to 10–13 years.

From princely shadows of Nawabs – Rampur Grey Hound
This breed has been around 300 years and it is believed to have originated in north India. The Nawab of Rampur state, Ahmad Ali Khan bred the breed but the popularity faded when the Maharajas were no longer ruling. Originally bred to hunt large animals, they are known to be one of the fastest dogs in the world and can reach speeds above 60 km per hour. Sad to say that Rampur Grey Hound is near extinction but this rare breed has just recently gained popularity among desi dog enthusiasts. Average weight of Rampur Grey Hound is 25–29 kg, measuring about: 61–69 cm with life span up to 9–15 years.

They are affectionate with unwavering loyalty for their pet parents. They are found to be playful with kids and also have protective instinct. It is been also said that a single Rampur Grey Hound can hunt down a golden jackal without any fear. So, Dr Aeknath suggests that if you are planning to have a royal dog with a fearless instinct, he would say that Rampur Grey Hound is what you will love.

Fierce Gaddi Kutta – not for faint hearted
An enormous Mastiff-type breed originating from northern India, Gaddi Kutta is sometimes referred to as Indian Leopard Hound or Himalayan Sheepdog. Some people mistake them for Tibetan Mastiff, one of the most sought after breeds. But they are less bulky and have a mane like black lion. This breed is certainly not for the faint hearted. They are huge, aggressive, and incredibly strong. However, they are very intelligent and can herd goats and sheep with little or no training. Average weight of Gaddi Kutta is 35–45 kg, measuring about 70–78cm with life span of up to 11–13 years.

They are natural livestock herders and require least or no training for that purpose. They are highly intelligent with natural instinct to protect their territory, and hence, are aggressive with strangers and this is what makes them a preferred guard and watch dog. Dr Aeknath says that Gaddi Kuttas are known for their loyalty and affection to their family members.

Brawny hunters – Banjara Hound from Maharashtra
Banjara Hound, also known as Vanjari Hound, was a breed worked with nomadic people of Maharashtra for hunting purposes. It’s a Sight Hound type dog breed and they are known for their impeccable stamina. Banjara Hounds are one of the best watch dogs; they have the best vocal chords, and high sense of hearing. Average weight of Banjara is 27–33kg, measuring about 69–76 cm with life span up to 9-12 years.

Gull Terrier – native cousin of Bull Terrier
Gull Terrier, also known as Gull Terr, is a rare native breed who was originated in Punjab in India and Pakistan. The breed is said to be a hundred years old. They are related to their international cousins Bull Terriers from the Great Britain. Their large erect ears are a stark feature. They are highly trainable and very protective about their pet parents and territory. Average weight of Gull Terrier is 20-29kg, measuring about 46-56cm with life span up to 10-14 years.

Dr Aeknath explains that Gull Terriers are good with children in their immediate human family. However, they are known to be aggressive with intruders and strangers. They are well known for being very fast, agile and smooth on feet.

It is time to go vocal for local and know more about these wonderful Indian dog breeds. They’d be great companions, will protect you and your family, and will thrive so well in the Indian climatic conditions, so there is no reason that our Indie friends aren’t given a chance!

(Dr Aeknath Virendra is from Mumbai Veterinary College, Mumbai; Dr Ninad Yagnik and  Tarang Bhatt are from Paws & Claws Pet Clinic, Bhavnagar, Gujarat; Dr Ranbir Jatav is from Department of Veterinary Medicine, Nanaji Deshmukh Veterinary Science University, Jabalpur, MP; Dr Ankit Meshram is from Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Chhindwara, MP; Dr Aishwarya Das is from Madras Veterinary College, Chennai; Dr Ayushi Singh is from Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Nanaji Deshmukh Veterinary Science University, Jabalpur, MP)

More native buddies in the block

Kumaon Mastiff: One of the strongest dog breeds of India, Kumaon Mastiff has a large and muscular body structure and are usually lean. They belong to Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and internationally they are bred in Finland and Italy. They have great protective instincts and are commendable guard dogs. As compared to other Indian dog breeds, Kumaon Mastiffs are more expensive. But if you can afford or adopt them in some way, then it is highly recommended to conserve this beautiful native breed. Unfortunately, they are very near extinction.

Bhakarwal Dog: One of the ancient working dogs of India, Bhakarwal Dog is also known as Kashmir Sheepdog and Kashmir Mastiff. They are huge with heavy bones and fluffy coat which give them a maestoso appearance. They are being adopted by the police force across the country. They are also near to extinction—one of the main reasons is that they can only produce 2-3 pups a year. An interesting debate about their diet is that some people say that this breed should be fed only vegan food, while others say that they can be given meat as well. There is no particular research done which can validate any of these points.

Bully Kutta: Bully Kutta is known by many names – Indian Mastiff, Pakistani Mastiff and Beast of the East. This beautiful herculean breed was mainly originated from Sindh region between Pakistan and India. They are not preferred as a family dog as they are remarkably aggressive and are difficult to train. The great Mughal emperors adopted Bully Kuttas for both protection and hunting.

Tangkhul Hui: Also called Awang Huijao, this rare breed is mainly found in Manipur. According to Indian mythology, it is believed that Tangkhul Hui evolved from Asiatic black bears. They are quick learners with extraordinarily high discipline and working comprehension. They are also found to be aggressive with strangers and hence can be kept as a guard dog.

Wonderful Weimaraners: Friendly & Fearless Gentle Giants