The Kalu descendants.....Champa, Frags, Spike, Guts & Dotty. xxx
So...where were we?
Well we have met Kalu in our first chapter. Here are some members of his family whom we have loved over the years.
This litter was a very outgoing and social pack. Kalu had a few litters we knew of over the years and these were the only ones who were not too timid to befriend.
Before we go on, let me tell you a little about where they live.
Kalu lived out the front of a long row of shops. Mostly motorbike hire shops, chai shops, a clothing shop and of course, our old silver school.
The road in front is a dusty, busy part of town with buses, camels, cows, motorbikes, rickshaws and taxis constantly going up and down it! Luckily, behind the row of shops is a large, closed compound. It's a bit like a giant sandpit for the dogs and wonderfully safe. The only downfall is the difficulty for them to find food...especially when the town's tourist season comes to an end.
In India, much less now, but back when we first started going in 2001, generally most Indians were not such huge dog fans. You would see them being shooed away, sometimes beaten or having rocks thrown at them, and not many people would give food to street animals. ( apart from the cows of course! )
Now, you must understand, India is a poor country so food is not taken for granted, and it is also a country that still has a rabies problem, so both these factors make it easier to understand the general attitude and fear of street dogs amongst the people and children of India.
The presence of the shops in front of the compound meant that we were not the only travellers to know and love this pack and between Tony and I and one very lovely Italian man who spoke no English, we tried to ensure these dogs always were being looked out for. We would buy huge bags of dog food to leave for 6 months whilst tourist season was low, and we found some very kind Indian friends to give the food. This is no small feat as, as I have said, Pushkar is a pure vegetarian town and nobody wants to touch or smell animal meat products....so we are always eternally grateful for their help.
The compound used to have an old granny that lived in the tiny room on the grounds, however we never got to meet her, I think she had passed on years ago and nothing had been done with the land or the tiny room. The dogs were born in the compound, their mother having always stayed in there herself. She is a shy old girl and knows how to take care of herself. We see her catching birds and sneaking in and out of the compound being careful to avoid humans and any dangers!
Meet mum n dad!
Kalu & Momma
Now for the little 'ens!
We shall start with the biggest personality but the runt of the litter.......Champa!
Champa, otherwise known as smiles, was a very pretty and gorgeous girl.
Mischievous, naughty, bossy and dainty are my best words to describe her. She was loved by the Indian shopkeepers the most ( being a lucky black coloured dog ! ) and she was the most like her pops in her nature too .
Next up we have Dotty.
here is Guts...!
Guts was called Guts because, as I think you may have already guessed...she liked her food...and everybody else's food too! Guts was a speed eater...gobbling down her share of curd chapati and moving on to the next bowl - ain't nobody getting in her way! The biscuits would come out and be scattered across the sands and she was like a canine hoover mowing them all up! As you can imagine the rest of the pack didn't really get on so well with her and she was quite outcast, although she truly held her own and was highly independent.
Now on to the boys...let us introduce you to the handsome Mr Spike.xx
Spike was a true gent! He was gentle in nature, always well behaved and very very soft to pat!! As you can see he was a beautiful brindle boy and was a true Rajasthani dog with his tribal colours and patterns! He was never grumpy and was a friend to all his brothers and sisters, he tolerated Guts the most too!
last but certainly not least....is our Fraggy xxx
Fraggy is the biggest of the pack but definately the softest! I have literally caught him once jumping out of his skin at his own shadow in the sand! He is a peaceful giant with a soft, loving and loyal nature. He is passive and loves nothing more than love and pats...he will happily bypass a meal for just an hour of pats and cuddles!
In India survival is tough for everyone, ( maybe not too much for India's billionaires but.! ) it is survival of the fittest. We hope and pray the other dogs either left the compound and have found their own way or have departed this Earth without suffering.
Dogs in India have a hard life. They are not welcomed and can be severely mistreated, even by those who do take them into their families. I won't go too deeply into such worlds with you, however, we are so thankful to one fantastic organisation we came upon whilst living in Pushkar.
They have helped us with many dogs we have brought to their hospital and shelter and have a fantastic neutering and rabies program for the town as well as free treatment for animals from the poor. They have a wide variety of animals at their shelter including camels and pigs!.
We first got to know them through our care for Kalu and his family. All our pack were neutered by them for free.
This charity and our experiences with them will be the focus of our next blog.
TOLFA - Tree of Life for Animals.
Welcome to the first ever edition of The Doggy Tribune!
We wanted to create a place to share and honour the amazing and very special dogs that we have encountered upon our twenty years of travel, and to include some of the excellent humans and charities we have had help from, and have sometimes helped.
These are our firsthand experiences with street animals throughout Southeast Asia and the charities that I will mention in the coming blogs are places we have also had personal experience with, and whom we think are wonderful.
We first met Kalu, which means black in Hindi, back in 2008 in Pushkar, India.
This is a place where Tony and I have lived much of our lives together. It is in Pushkar that we first started learning to silversmith and we would return year after year to study with our teacher and visit our human and animal families!
It is a very holy town in the state of Rajasthan and many Indian pilgrims come from all over India to visit the lake which is the central heart of the town. The lake is said to hold Gandhi's ashes.
Every dawn and dusk the town is filled with the sounds ( sometimes very very loud sounds at 4 am in the morning! ) of bells and prayers and worship. The lake has many different ghats. These are the areas and temples around the lake which have steps leading down onto the lake and are each associated to various castes, tribes and rituals.
It is a magical place in India which we hold very dearly in our hearts. This has been the first year we haven't lived there for our few months in many years, and our hearts and prayers go out to all the people and animals in the hope they may be managing well at this time.
Now then, back to Kalu!
He was always a scraggly boy, full of desert dust and road gruel, and as we got to know him over our five years of friendship he had dreadlocks and all - like the true sadhu baba dog he was!
He was a very playful character! When Tony and I would arrive in the morning for class he would literally go ape and run about like a lunatic for a while...much to our delight and the crowds of Indians who would stop to watch and marvel at his behaviour!
He was forever stealing the milk for the chai breaks...you'd turn around, milk bag has gone...and so has Kalu! He also enjoyed an actual cup of cold chai too...he was an Indian dog after all!
He was very very happy when we ordered a pizza at break time! ( Pushkar is a pure vegetarian town so a typical doggy diet on the streets of Pushkar includes milk, chapati and biscuits....and occasionally pizza....hopefully with extra cheese! ))
He wasn't as keen on everybody though...he had a bit of a love/hate relationship with his Indian families that ran the shops where he lived and most people were quite intimidated by him and his wild eyes, yet many would feed him. Black dogs are considered lucky in Pushkar. ( lucky him! )
He was quite fussy and certain about who he liked and didn't like. He didn't seem to like sadhu babas all that much, these are the wandering spiritual seekers of India who would wander past with their long dreadlocks and robes. Some foreign tourists he would wag for and others he shouted mightily at and some local people he liked and respected and others he just ignored and generally snarled at! We felt very lucky to be able to love him and be loved by him!
Kalu will have fathered many puppies in his day, and we were fortunate enough to meet and love a few of his litters.
These five Kalu descendants ... Fraggie, Dottie, Champa, Spike and Guts shall be the focus of my next blog.
Kalu died around 2013. He lived a big and happy life. He was the king of the row of shops and had them all to himself, all other animals giving him his territory. He was known by many and is still joked about to this day between our Indian friends who still have their shops on the strip.
x With love to Kalu x
x holly & tony x
With twenty years of experience working with stones, we are happy to share some of our knowledge and tales with you here in our blog!