I have been meaning to post this for a while now. Below are some of the images from a series created for the CUPA Calendar 2012. Some of you might have already seen them in the calendar itself. I thought it would be nice to share some of the images, stories and thoughts here.
Basically we wanted to showcase portraits of people across demographics and their adopted pets. Dogs to be more specific. As a passionate dog lover, and having adopted both my boys from shelters, I have a soft corner for the cause of pet adoption because I have seen closely how it affects these orphaned/abandoned creatures and how deeply it changes how we look at animals in general. This is also where our native Indian dogs come in. Over the last few years, my folks and a few others in the close family chose to adopt these guys and every time we see them we are talking about their incredible energy levels, sharp intstincts, robust health and supreme adaptability to the local conditions. And needless to say they make amazing, ever faithful, keep-you-on-your-toes and slobber-you-with-love kind of pets. They have been around for really long, so they have obviously tuned themselves to be survivors and that’s what makes them so right for us. They are easy to care for and pretty much know how to care for themselves. Isn’t that how nature might have intended it to be ? It’s funny that we overlook these facts and the fact that hundreds of dogs – so many beautiful, exotic ones particularly – are abandoned ruthlessly each day by their so called families. Everywhere. Between us all, we already have so much to care for, no ?Just take a walk in the local neighbourhood or make a dash to an animal shelter if ever you are ready for a pet or if you might be considering another. I doubt that one would ever want to look elsewhere. In the recent past, I have seen several Bangaloreans opting to take in these abandoned orphans or the natives from the neighbourhood into their homes and this fact comes in as a small but bright hope in a world where all it took was a teeny little snarl from a local native dog to tick off a chain of unpleasant reactions. I won’t elaborate on that, it is another story by itself. So this year’s theme was inspired by these hardy survivors, the native Indian dogs and their remarkable parents. Right from those with modest means to the affluent – they chose these guys over buying a pet and every one of them had incredibly moving, heart warming stories of adoption. All the images were made in Bangalore with lots of love.
Gunda and Gullamma
Every household in the village of Venkatapura near Koramangala in Bangalore includes a much adored dog as a part of their family. Every one of them was either an abandoned orphan or a homeless stray from CUPA. Despite their modest means, the love these folk feel for their dogs is so moving. One would be amazed to see how effortlessly their lives are entwined with their happy, faithful companions and how they coexist. Seen here is that companionship shared by mighty, gentle Gunda and the spirited lady Gullamma who is 85. Isn’t Gunda just gorgeous ? He is easily one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen. So strong. So big. So gentle. I was so tempted to steal him away :) Right after we finished this shot, a bunch of little kids descended on Gunda tugging at hime from all sides. The gentle giant was so patient through all the commotion and the excitement. And so cute and enduring especially with the kids.
Gunda and the little ones
Pappi, Harshitha, Ankitha
Pappi, an abandoned orphan from CUPA was adopted by Harshitha, Ankitha and their family from the Venkatapura village that I mentioned above. The bright little guy likes to follow his sisters everywhere and is always ready for a game which involves lots jumping.We could barely get him together for this shot. If you are wondering how he finally gave this cutie expression, treats in the background did their job.
Gigi (far left),Toby (center), and Rani (right) and Sheila
Gigi’s congenital condition took away one of her limbs when she was a puppy, but that was even more of a reason for Sheila Narayan and her husband to adopt her almost eleven years ago. Gigi is fiesty as hell, loves her various beds and challenging her brother Toby at play and usually gets her way. Toby joined the family when they found him as a frail little pup, lost on the streets. Rani too, was found lost in their neighbourhood and recently joined the brood. She is blazing fast and is keeps the family on their toes.
Jogi and Maya
Jogi is the braveheart, whose sixth sense prevailed in the midst of his illness, 6 years ago when he was a puppy and wandering alone. It led him to his home which was with TV presenter, Maya Sharma and her husband Nandu. Jogi fought back a lethal condition with Maya and Nandu’s care and is at the very heart of their lives today. He loves to be perched in the balcony taking stock of the goings on and passersby,making astute observations about the world around him.
Foxey with Calum and Matilda
Foxey made his way into the hearts of Claudia Scott and her kids right from the time the family moved into Bangalore in 2008. When wandering the streets in their development, Foxey took to Claudia’s kids Matilda and Calum and they to him. Despite odds, it was clear to Claudia that Foxey had become an inseparable part of the family. He is much doted as you can see in this picture and can often be seen accompanying the kids to play or lounging in his comfortable bed as they toil away at homework.
Linda, Jenny and Liz
Linda was found as a puppy on the streets by Denzil George who took her home into the loving care of his daughter Jenny, and Liz, his wife. Linda’s energy, sense of humour and love keeps Jenny on her toes and their home filled with laughter.The family believes that the right- ful way to welcome a pet into one’s home is by adopting what is already available to us through nature – the homeless strays that are left to fend for themselves in a difficult world.
Ramu and Kumar
Kumar, a plumber by profession from the Venkatapura village adores dogs and has consistently rescued or adopted them, from CUPA and other places. Despite their simple means, his wife and he provide for a loving home for their three dogs. His faithful Ramu accompanies him everywhere, from the neighbourhood tea shop to his plumbing jobs.
Bingo’s favourite morning walk with his master
Bingo was adopted from CUPA by the Reddy’s (my dad and mom) when he was just four weeks old. A true survivor, he bravely fought a lethal disease when he was just a puppy. We were constantly amazed by his will to live and helped him make it through the battle. Today, three years later, he stands tall, strong and handsome, brimming with love and extremely clever ideas. Apart from chasing and hunting down the other gentle inhabitants of my mother’s garden, his other favourite pastime is plotting to discreetly make his way into the kitchen and make lots of food items disappear into thin air.
I hope you all enjoyed these images of these beautiful fellows. We forget that like us, they too have life stories, complexities, needs and desires. All they ask is for love, kindness and a tiny little space in this world and that too, to be with us. And all we need to do is share just a little more. How hard is that.
This world belongs to all its creatures, after all.
PS : The actual calendar can be seen here