Rescue, Foster, Adopt, REPEAT!
Author: Prathima Pingali,
Pawparazzi Pet Photography
Ah, Indies. The word in itself brings such warmth and a smile to my face. These unpredictable little cutie pies have conquered my heart in every way.
I’ve loved dogs of all kinds ever since I was a young kid. The action of walking up to one, petting it and talking in that funky high-pitched voice (I know a lot of you out there are smiling because you’re guilty of it too!) was such an innate action for me. I was just drawn to them!
They have personalities that are unique and full of surprises! My love for indies grew exponentially when I was in college. We had a few streeties in our campus that would hang around with us when we bunked classes or were outside shooting. They’d get all the love and food they wanted. It was then that I understood what it meant to take care of a dog that wasn’t anyone’s specifically, but instead, everyone shared their love for them equally.
It was November 28th of 2017, I had just returned from a trip to Africa and was sitting in my Dad’s office working on a project, when I started to hear a squealing sound. It was a high-pitched noise that I assumed was a bird mating call, and so, I let it be. I continued with my work and 3 hours had passed, but the sound hadn’t stopped yet. So, I decided to see where it’s coming from.
Lo and behold, a tiny little puppy was stuck in the gate of a house, squealing for someone to come and help him. The poor baby was so tired, that when I picked him up, he immediately fell asleep in my hand. I decided that I would take him home and foster him until I found the perfect family for him. For a very long time, my mother was against adopting a dog. She – like most people – felt that adopting a dog would mean getting a dog that has been through trauma. She felt that the dog will be aggressive, distant and unwelcoming to a new family. But that night, my mom returned home from work and fell in love with this little puppy. In that moment, nothing mattered. Not where he came from, what he looked like, how he acted, or even what health problem he could have possibly had. She only knew one thing; he was going to stay with us. That’s our story with Prancer. We adopted this cute little puppy who was in need of help and a family, and life could not have been better. He makes us laugh every day. That day, no one could have guessed that I was bringing home a real goofball!
Indies are one of the smartest breeds I’ve ever come across. As a pet photographer, I’ve worked with multiple breeds and even had a purebred lab, but after adopting my current dog – Prancer, a lab-indie cross, I’ve personally come to see exactly how smart they are. Here are some stories that I have to share with you!
First off, their communication skills are impeccable. Prancer will look at me and turn in my lap and end up with his butt pressing against my legs asking for a butt scratch. He’ll take me to his bowl if he wants food. And he even bounces around and shows me his leash when he wants to go down. If I tell him, “go wake up mom”, he’ll actually go to my mom’s bedroom, nudge her a little, jump on the bed, lick her face and wake her up! Indies pick up on social cues (such as your actions, the tone of your voice and the relationship you share with others) very fast.
Secondly, their immune system is extremely strong. They’ll eat literally ANYTHING because they are such foodies! But, mind you, after we start spoiling them, oh boy…! Prancer now knows that he’s the king. He will just turn his head away if he doesn’t like the food and we’ve come to notice that we need to change the recipe of the food we make for him every 2 weeks as he gets bored of it!
Third, each one has its own quirks, which makes them so unique and funny. They are always full of surprises, entertaining and will keep you laughing every single day. For instance, you can never predict what your indie pup will grow up to look like. As a pup, Prancer had the same fur colour running through his whole body, a sort of cream tone, but as he grew older, he got freckles on his face, started developing a beautiful golden colour and even has a white tip on his tail. It looks as if he was dipped in white paint! His eyes went from being dark brown to a gorgeous shade of caramel-brown.
The best part? Every indie is one-of-a-kind.
Indies have so much to offer us that we could never fathom. They sit on the road every day, looking at everyone who passes by, just hoping for someone to pet them and show them some love instead of being pelted with stones. As gruesome as it is, it’s a reality that we all know exists. Some of them are lucky enough to get adopted into loving homes where their hoomans pamper and raise them as their own children. I absolutely love how people are changing their status from pet “owners” to pet parents! After all, they are our babies.
Adoption is finally on the rise! It’s been a slow but steady ascent. This could be because someone from their friends’ circle has taken out the time to show them that even though these dogs have a history of trauma or abandonment, they show nothing but love to us in return.
I wanted to show people what it's like to have an indie and how much happiness and joy they bring to your life. How they make you think about something that’s bigger than just yourself. I travelled around India and spoke to 12 families that adopted indies and asked them about their experience with them and how this beautiful, smart breed has changed their lives, with the hope that people who read these stories would want to adopt indies as well!
In Jan of 2020, I released an INDIE calendar which featured 12 indies and their adoption stories. We at Pawparazzi came up with this idea to raise money to donate towards the welfare of all animals and raised Rs 20,000/-. WE donated this money to ResQ, an organization based out of Pune that not only cares for indies, but treats all animals from snakes, to monkeys and even leopards!
We try to do our part for the Indies every day, and we hope that you do yours too.
Rescue, Foster, Adopt, Repeat!
PS: A Mumbai based pet photographer, Prathima Pingali has been voted one of the top 100 Pet Portrait Photographers in the world by Pet Photographer of the Year Awards 2019. Her first dog Pax was her inspiration behind Pawparazzi and Prancer is her current muse and in-house model. If you wish to connect with her, please feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 7207616179.