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!