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In the new year, give an indie pup a home

Adopting an indie brings with it a lot of joy. There is a feeling of satisfaction in giving these affectionate and adaptable dogs the love that they so deserve

Mumbai-based Aisha Mandal with Whisky
Mumbai-based Aisha Mandal with Whisky

The father wanted a Doberman, but his daughters insisted—"Let's adopt, not shop”. That’s how the Mandals—a family of four, including mother, father and two daughters, currently in Bengaluru—, got their furry family member. They were to choose from the two 30-day-old indie puppies that had lost their mother in a brutal road accident, and were in a foster home. 

The Mandals liked the one with a dual-toned face—the right side was white and the left was black. “Like Yin and Yang,” says Aaisha Mandal, 18, the older daughter of the family. But the other pup was more affectionate. “He just didn’t stop licking me,” remembers Aaisha. And that’s how the playful pup, christened Whisky by the girls for his long whiskers, became the chosen one and the first pet of the family.

Similar is the story of the Mumbai-based Wadhwas. The 13-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son were very clear that they wanted to adopt a dog nearly two months ago. So, while they were living in Mumbai, they went to YODA’s (Youth Organization in Defence of Animals) shelter in Mumbai. The staff there introduced them to a group of dogs which Cosmo, a 7-month-old indie, was not a part of. But he just walked into the meet-and-greet session uninvited and immediately took to the family. “The other dogs seemed unsure, also scared, but Cosmo was just so comfortable with us,” says Parikshat Wadhwa, an entrepreneur. He went with his wife and kids later to another shelter to meet more dogs. “But our heart was with Cosmo,” he adds. And Cosmo soon became Parikshat’s third child.

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I had a personal interest in this adoption. I had rescued the abandoned Cosmo (I'd called him Bahubali) from the streets of my neighbourhood four months before and sent him to YODA. I was so glad when I heard about Bahubali finally getting his forever home. Within less than two months of adoption, the Wadhwas have gotten so attached to the puppy that this year they attended their building’s New Year party for a very short while to rush back home before midnight in order to ring in the New Year with Cosmo. “We just didn’t have the heart to leave him alone at home and not include him in our celebration,” says Wadhwa.

Adopting an indie brings with it a lot of joy. There is a feeling of having done something good in making one of them a part of your family, and giving them the love that they so need and deserve. “To see Whisky grow big and healthy, from the really tiny and frail thing he was when he was little, gives us all so much joy and pride,” says Mandal.

Shatabdi Chakrabarti, a parent to two indie dogs, has had a similar experience. She found Dobby, now two, and Devi, now six months old, at her work campus in Mumbai. Dobby was a scrawny, frail puppy, extremely scared around humans. Today, he is a big, strong boy and a lot more comfortable around people. He was so anxious that he couldn’t sleep at all for several nights, recalls Chakrabarti. But today, he sleeps peacefully as he has developed a bond of trust with his humans. “Just seeing him sleep and become so comfortable with us makes me so happy,” says Chakrabarti.

Devi, was the last surviving puppy from her mother’s litter. All her siblings died days after birth and their mother also died, 10 days after Devi was adopted. The suspected cause was rabies. “Every time I think of the mommy dog, I feel so relieved to have gotten Devi home. At least she was saved,” says Chakrabarti.

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When you bring home an indie, you know you are not just helping a dog but also the society in fighting the problem of growing street dogs in the country.  And you get so much more in return for the care and time you put into raising indies. They have strong immune systems, easily adapt to the weather here, are intelligent, loving, comfortable with humans, and the list goes on. Moreover, they usually don’t suffer from allergies and are not fussy about food. “In the two years that Dobby has been with us, he has not fallen ill,” says Chakrabarti. Plus, the indies are very sturdy. “We travel with them extensively. Not once have they thrown up in the car or lacked the energy to discover a new place even after a long drive,” she adds. 

Even Whisky’s family is very happy about how hassle-free their pup is. They recently moved homes from Mumbai to Bengaluru, and while the humans took some time to adjust to the new weather and environment, Whisky seemed rather comfortable. It was surprising, given that he had many dog friends in Mumbai, but hardly any in Bengaluru. “We were worried about who he would play with in the new city, but Whisky soon learnt to entertain himself and was happy with all the mind stimulation games we got for him,” says Mandal. She also finds her dog to be very sensitive. Her mother suffered a minor heart attack, and in that tense environment at home, Whisky behaved extremely well—not troubling the mother, being extra gentle and caring towards her, and helping her heal.

That’s what sets the indies apart. These amazing dogs make for the best companions ever.

Riddhi Doshi is a Mumbai-based journalist, first-time pet parent and a Kathak student.

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