Monday, January 9, 2017

The who and what of Charles-Brown.

Charles-Brown Whimperbug Souza was, and is, my first dog.
He was picked off the street by a friend, who gave him to me when I least expected or even wanted a dog. I had just moved to India and everything seemed new and different. Besides, I didn’t know much about keeping dogs as I’ve only had small animals, like guinea pigs, growing up. But with those worrisome doubts,  I began my learning and loving journey with the furry face that I call 'son'.

He was about 6 months old, and the ‘nicest’ puppy you could ever get your hands on. He wasn’t a tubby, rolly-polly playful bugger, as puppies usually are. He was sweet, quiet, cuddley, and pulled on your heart strings in ways you never thought imaginable. I think that’s what dogs do really. Make you realise that there was more love in that crumbly old heart than you thought one could have.
And man, was he a smart cookie! He could learn tricks in an hour, and was school-boy obedient. I had only a few instances, countable on my fingers (which is a rare puppy-experience), where he destroyed my books and shoes. It’s been 6 years now since I moved to India and he’s been my constant sidekick, my muse, the love of my life, my boy.

I get asked about breed he is ALL the time. I used to get a little peeved when that used to happen, I guess like getting asked if you’re Indian if you have coloured eyes or are really fair and then people not believing you. But to be honest, I probably would have wondered the same thing if he wasn’t mine. I know my wonkiness stems from the fact that Indies don’t have the good rep they should have.

Indies or Indian Pariah dogs or Pyes are our beautiful Indian street dogs (well most of the street dogs are pariah dogs) and the breed is thought to be one of the oldest in the world! Though Charlie is almost certainly NOT a pariah dog, most streeties are now called lovingly Indies. I love that. I love knowing that Charlie is one of us. Funny thing is that for two years his fur was very normal Indie-like. I like to say that he got petted into his heavy coat. haha. He also had the cutest floppy ears that took two years to erect into his pointy fox-like ones that he has now. They erected one at a time.

Because of Charlie, I always encourage adoptions. And I try to sneak in my ‘adopt Indies’ philosophy a bit more, only because (I don’t even know how it’s possible!) they aren’t adopted as much. Everytime I see a litter of stray pups, I imagine Charlie as one of them and my heart breaks into a million pieces.

Oh, I didn’t even mention how he was when I got him!
Charlie was roaming an area where my friend worked and that area had an old pack of dogs. Packs usually don’t like stray dogs, especially males, into their territory for obvious reasons. So my friend picked him up and got him to me. He was oh so thin and frail. And in a few days, he was in the hospital because he was undernourished and had eaten wood amongst other junk. It was the first time in my life I had ever cried in public. He was so tiny and helpless and perfect. Anyway, in a few days, he was back to being him and though he’s got way more health problems than most Indies (Indies are known to be hardy and strong), I always say that he probably does because he knows he gets more love and cookies that way. Sly little bugger.

That’s about it really. I know I can go on about him forever but I guess that’s what happens when you’re in love huh!

Oh yes, and here’s just a few illustrated bits about Indies. (thank you Rajeshwari, Priya & Sandeep for the bits:)

And a bit of information about adoption etc.

Best website about stray dogs (a bit traumatic and so real):

CUPA: (they also have a shelter for abandoned older dogs)
CARE (where Henry-oats was adopted as well)
BOMBAT DOGS (Facebook group for everything dog-related):

TAILLOVERS COMPANY: (Favourite dog store in town)
Indra Pet Clinic (Charlie’s vet- Dr.Dheeraj):

Out of Bangalore:
Adoptions in Bombay for a litter NOW:

World for All (Adoptions and animal NGO in Bombay):

(This is Charlie and Oreo. Oreo's mummy, Michele, used to take care of Charlie when he was little, and when I was out of town. She hence adopted an Indie, Oreo, who is Charlie's girlfriend (though Charlie is a terrible boyfriend and steals her cookies and chewies, and also her mother's love). They are our poster children for #adoptdontshop :)


  1. Hi Alicia,

    I am kinda your stalker on Insta, FB and now this blog! I have my house filled wih Chumbak stuff and now with your recent creations. I love your work. It inspires me alot! I can relate to your stand on simple yet beautiful life, animals and adoption. More power to you.

    Love to you, Mr. Charles Brown and Mr. Henry Oats.


    P.S. please don't report me for stalking you.

  2. While Parle G are not bad in moderation, dog biscuits (which don't have sugar, salt or baking soda) make better treats for streeties. But please spread this awareness about people who feed ParleG to streeties as a MEAL. This could be extremely detrimental, ironically for dogs who don't have another source of nutrition. Please encourage folks to buy dry food like Pedigree (although not a gold standard, is nutritionally better) for streeties instead of ParleG or Marie/

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