As I started my drive back to Chandigarh from Delhi last week I saw a person urinating by the side of street within 2 minutes. Before I realized what was happening I found myself tapping on his shoulder before he had a chance to zip it up.

Some excuses and minor preaching later, I realized that there are just two types of people in India.

  1. Those who urinate in public.
  2. Those who stop them.

If you aren’t one- then you must be the other.

I’ve been the other for way too long. So I decided to stop and interrupt every man’s urinary bliss for the rest of the drive.

They kept coming.

…And kept coming.


…And coming.


And I kept stopping them.

73 of them in 4 hours and 250 Kms.


Seventy three !!!


This is us claiming that dahrti hamari maa hai (our land is our mother)… Or is it really our whore, our mistress (as a vegan I DETEST even typing such words….or worse).

At what point do we think it’s okay to urinate in public.


But the truth is since I never stopped anyone before today. I am just as guilty of allowing someone to urinate on my mother—unless my country is my whore too.

So let us decide if it really is our mother.

Then we will be the people who will stop others.

Because I know when stopped, they all either say ‘You are right. I am sorry.” Or they say the one thing that justifies all bad habits in the world.

“Everybody does it.”

Well I don’t.

And I won’t let you.


Where Have ALL the Old Strays Gone ?


The Indie dog is everywhere.

But you should challenge yourself to find an old indian stray dog.

They are young, they are omnipresent– and then they are gone.


Never have I seen an old indian stray dog.

The Indie dog is sharp as a tack, wily as a fox, confident as a politician, nimble as a trapeze artist, loyal to a fault, territorial as a landlord but always young.



Check their teeth; they are all under 2-3 years of age. If your city runs an ABC program or has an SPCA, take some statistics of their age and draw a bell curve.

Do they die young? Do they get shipped off for the Yulin festival? Its still a mystery to me.

The only sure thing is–

— POOF…they are gone.



I Lost Myself to Find Love, in India.


The amber readout of my Garmin watch flickers on my wrist. “Jeannie, don’t you stay out on the streets after dark in that country.” My husband’s words ring as clear in my mind as my doctors warnings, “Don’t you eat anything that the infamous street-vendors sell, Ms Baca.”


I hold up the saffron coloured Jalebi against the setting Bangalore sun and bite into the crunchy goodness. A burst of sugary heaven spiced with saffron explodes in my mouth. My salivating tongue feels the gritty texture of fried dough dipped in syrup. Take that, Dr. Whatley.

The yellow and green Auto-rickshaw driver appears more nervous that I do of the fading sunlight. “Madam, let yus go to Yotel. It’s getting dark, No?”

“Relax, Anand.” I lick the syrup off my fingers.


The soft January breeze teases my short hair. The gentle tuk-tuk of the scooter rickshaw lulls me into thoughts. I’ve always been a risk taker… When they offered me to do an assignment in India, I jumped at the opportunity. This mystical land; Nothing in India is kind to your senses- The colours are bright, the noise is crazy, reality is stark, people feel deeply- I mean anybody who has to ‘FIND THEMSELVES’ come to India- the land of–”


The rickshaw comes to a sudden halt. That’s when I first see Sita– “She’s dark brown and black. Nothing spectacular about her, but she’s run onto the road to come between the rickshaw and her three puppies.” She’s confident, fearless and not worried about herself-

She’s a mother.


Her hip bones protrude from her severely emaciated body. Then she looks directly into my eyes.

No, Jeannie, don’t even think about it. DO NOT…this is not your country, there is NOTHING you can do, You have a conference call in 20 minutes, your flights leaves in less than 30 hours. Don’t even think about it, just ignore–

She nudges her face against my palm. This is probably the first kind touch she has received in her short painful life.


Her pain is over- Mine has just begun.

She is now mine. Just like all the other animals in this world that have nobody, have me. She’s mine. I just have to find them a home and love—something all of us deserve.

As I sit back from the drab conference call, my mind races. What can I do? Who can I call for help? Who will help me in this foreign land? And Why?

My fatigued mind can’t think anymore so I put out a post on social media and close my fatigued eyes.

Ding Ding Ding

A series of messages jumping on my screen wakes me up. I rub my eyes in amazement as I read the screen. Facebook has been working while I slept.


A man who is a friend of a friend of a friend is traveling to Bangalore from Chandigarh to day and is going to be in Bangalore for a few hours. He just happens to have a friend who has a rescue in Bangalore and can keep the dogs there safely while we figure a way for them to get to the USA.

“It all seems far too convenient,” says my best friend over the phone.

“My gut says, I can trust these people.” I tell her. “I just know I was meant to find Sita and her puppies. “Gosh, Sita even has a best friend called Nandi– wonder if they will agree to take her too?”

So I ask.

So they agree. It’s as simple as that.


The rescue organization called Voice of the Stray Dogs (VOSD) picks up the stray dogs the very next day. Unfortunately one of the puppies has died. The person who came from Chandigarh works for an organization called Peedu’s People. They collaborate to save Nandi, Sita and her remaining two puppies.


My risk taking ways paid off.

I lost myself in belief of humanity and found love in India. The love of Nandi and Sita and her two puppies.

Now we all need your help to get these puppies to the USA so where we have homes already for them.

These poor dogs who have never known love or kindness deserve the same love I found.


Happy NUDE year.


The Indian male is a funny species. A dichotomy of mind-boggling proportions.


Today I was informed by my gym that 15 or so members had signed a petition to have my membership rescinded from the gym. My fault; walking around naked in the gym.

No- not in the exercise area—in the men’s changing room.

“Wait, what?” I shook my head in disbelief. “Of-course I’ll be naked when I shower.”

“Yes but you have to wrap yo’ ‘tings when you walk around.” He pointed at my crotch.

“Yes, but there‘s no posted rule, although I?ll certainly comply with the sensibility of other gym-mates.”


As I started my warm-up today, I reflected on my issues with nudity. I have a huge problem walking around in the buff unless I have to- but that only happens in front of women. With the guys, I don’t really care- well I grew up in boarding schools where we have community bathrooms.

But the average Indian male is a dilemma.


At a mind-numbing population of 1.25 billion people we certainly are comfortable being nude and having sex—in-fact seems like we are quite good at it.


So we are nude all the time—but we just don’t want to be seen naked.


There’s no nudity in our movies but when a director pulls of the coup of getting nudity cleared from our censor board, we throng to the theaters to see that nudity.

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But we are uncomfortable with nudity.

How does that work??

When we were kids and we were caught naked, all our cousins would sing- “Shame shame, puppy shame. All the girls know your name.”


Such was the shame associated with nudity—and somewhere it stuck in my mind. I’ve never been comfortable in the nude.


Years of trying to move forward took a huge hit today. I recede back into a shell which coddles me. I am very very comfortable in that spot.

But a progressive part of my mind urges me to stay naked and be comfortable with it… so I will live to fight another day—just not at my gym.



Delhi’s air is wretched. My city’s air is getting horrible too.


Almost 10,500 people die each year prematurely in Delhi owing to the omnipresent smog that has encapsulated the city for more than a decade now. The Particulate matter levels in Delhi are above 3 times the danger limit.


So when the Delhi government tried to implement an odd even formula for private vehicles (Allowing cars on the Delhi roads on alternate days only) the whole region went up in arms about the ‘inconvenience’ it would cause them (safety/business/recreational- etc etc; the laundry list is endless).

The issue is that we all talk a big game. But when it comes to actions and doing something to help there is just one question we need an answer for – WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?

This is the one question any NGO, Revolutionary, Activist (animal or environmental), 501 3C, Rescue group etc have a very hard time answering.

We expect people to change because of the lecture we are so handily giving them while they are just thinking the same thing-

-What the heck is in it for me?

-Why should I change?

-Why should I listen to this buffoon who thinks he knows more than I do?


We will crib about it but won’t act.

-We will say no to plastic until we need a drink of water/soda or a pack of potato chips.

-We will not carpool because it’s not convenient.

-We will detest animal cruelty but we will continue to eat animals for variety/flavor.

-We will cry about an unsafe city but we won’t stop to help a person in need.

-We will clean up our house/shops and leave the trash by the roadside.

-We will wait for our city’s air to be as horrible as Delhi before we act.


We all change because of fear.

-Fear of the law.

-Fear of personal loss.

-Fear of someone else gaining more than us.

-Fear for OUR loved ones.

There is JUST ONE other alternative; Negativity out, Positivity in.

  • Show them what is in it for them. A better life, more involvement. Add personal stakes to education.
  • The ONLY hope is our future generation. So let’s make such things a part of their curriculum and not just lectures/seminars.
  • Grade them on it. Give them prizes and rewards for such work (much like sports and studies).


Over decades we’ve been making the same inputs and expecting different outcomes. That is the definition of insanity.

It’s time to answer that one question; even for the children.


Are the Unfortunate Ones, More Fortunate??

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I picked up a bait dog the other day, abandoned at a park, injuries all over his face and legs. An open wound on his hind leg. He’d snap if your hand went anywhere near his head .

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But when I brought him back to the shelter, he responded to the women while growling at men. A man must’ve hit him, repeatedly.

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I named him Wyatt- In honor of a puppy that we’d just lost to a freak accident.


While tossing and turning all night; I figured that we couldn’t just leave him at the shelter. In the metrics of animal control, he was just another dog. Just another number.

He’d be deemed as human aggressive in 72 hours and euthanized- that much I knew.

So I contacted people who care, those don’t take NO for an answer- who stop at nothing.

Those people were;

A woman; not intimidated by a gargantuan sum of money a trainer asked to neutralize Wyatt’s human aggression.

A man who pleaded with others to save Wyatt’s life and then stepped up himself; willing to risk his 10 other pets and learn how to deal with an aggressive animal.


The overall figure we needed to raise ran well over 2500$.

As donation after donation came in and friends responded to our pleas to donate, I asked myself- WHY WYATT?

Why do we expend all our resources to save one dog- just because he has a story while hundreds other die at the shelter because their story isn’t sad. Because it doesn’t get Ooh’s and aah’s and likes on FB.

The unfortunate become the fortunate.

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Is Wyatt’s life more important than Paris’s life? The quiet, shy pit bull who died amidst our last minute pleas to save her.

Sometimes we see so much cruelty around us that one dog becomes a SYMBOL.

A symbol that we will not allow cruelty to win over love.

It’s still just one life and NO Wyatt’s life is not more important than any animal that is euthanized.

But we root for the under-dog. We look for the unfortunate ones- and try to make them fortunate.

We try to make LOVE win- because we DESPERATELY need to believe that good wins over all evil.

Wyatt is well on his way to recovery- while several have died un-noticed.

Both we and them have been the unfortunate ones.


I’m Only One Person. What Can I Change?

Snip20151003_1 Yesterday I was in the Euthanasia lab.
21 dogs were on the list.

After a dog is tranquilized it is unable to move, but i can feel death coming. It can see humans around it drawing up the syringe with the blue-juice, finding its cephalic vein. The injected poison burns the dog as it enters their blood stream and almost immediately the dog stops breathing.

In those few seconds before and during the injection process is my chance of petting their head, looking into their eyes and make sure I am the last person they see. The person who killed them and apologized to them on the behalf of humans. The person who mentioned this black and tan Doberman, Speed who supposedly would watch out for them in heaven.
I tug at their ear, hold their paw as there eyes turn glassy and their tongues loll out of their mouths.
Yesterday- they kept coming and they kept coming. We made some last minute calls and got 4 of them off the list but what was more important was that 17 dogs died- and I killed them.
At one point as I pet a dog that was being put down for being “human aggressive”, the vet tech asked me if I’d been bitten by a dog yet.
“No, I haven’t. In my 9 years in rescue, cruelty and animal control, not once.” I eased the loop off the brown pit-bull on the end of a catch pole.
My supervisor who was just boasting about how much of an expert he was claimed, “It’s just a matter of time before you get bit, Inder.”
Thats right. I might get bitten, but never because I failed to read the body language of a dog.

When friends and family tried to cheer me up late last night, they reminded me that I wasn’t a cause of their death. But the fact is today there thousands  more dogs on the list- all across the country.
We keep saving one or two dogs here and there but thats akin to plucking apples to kill an apple tree.
Today I got a police call, aggressive pitiful at large. Got out of the yard and the owners were out of town.
The neighbors told me that he had charged them several times and today broke through the fence. The police officers stayed 20 feet away with their guns drawn.
I put a leash around my arm and sat on the driveway.
“Aren’t you going to use your pole?” The female officer lowered her weapon.
“Naah, let me try it my way first.” I peeled open a bag of treats and tossed one at the dog.
He looked at me and I looked away; feigning disinterest. Then I asked someone 50 feet away a question and then looked at the dog, appeared interested.
I sensed the gears in his head turning. Should I, shouldn’t I?
He walked towards me, then circled me and picked up the treat.
In the next minute he was eating out of my hand and in another minute he was my long lost friend.

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Then he dropped and rolled over.

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From then on my soothing voice turned to say the most sarcastic comment within earshot of the police. “Are you the puppy, everyone here was calling aggressive?” I rubbed his ear and he purred in pure joy.
The police had now holstered their weapons and took turns petting this big-papi.
The neighbors came out to thank me. They said they were ready to hear shots and see bloodshed today.
Well, you fix the root cause.
And what is the root cause? – Lack of education. Lack of knowledge.
So we show them.
We educate them.
We don’t talk- we do.
We teach the kids COMPASSION
We educate against breed specific STEREOTYPING.
We show the citizens by example.
We educate kids how to read a dogs body language and prevent bites.

We are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution.
This is what we do to change.
Or else, much like I was yesterday; we are all killing them, in our own way.

The Legend of the Blue Jay


If you’ve never seen  Blue-Jay up close, you’ve missed on a character so complex that it seems like J.J Audubon’s words “Who could imagine that a form so graceful arrayed by nature in a garb so resplendent, should harbor so much mischief.” aren’t adequate to define one.

-They mimic hawks to protect their families.

-They are intelligent and social birds who have a dulcet of a voice.

-The use their voices to alert other species of birds when predators approach.

-They are nest-robbers.


Nature in it’s bounty has given them a color so brilliant and markings so uniform and pretty that we have to stop and appreciate the artist who drew up these pretty birds.


Then one of them fell to the ground today.

Unable to fly; it flapped it’s wings in front of a citizens car and hopped up and down. It’s neck lolling from side to side.

As I showed up on the scene, I noticed a stick approximately 4 inches long and 2 cm in diameter sticking out of it’s anus. As I removed the stick with a lot of care the bird collapsed into my palm.

This poor bird couldn’t hold it’s head up. The weight of it’s head kept on knocking it off it’s feet.

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The bird was in pain.

After making a few quick calls, I realized the only humane thing I could do was to put it out of it’s misery.


There was no human to be held responsible, no case to be filed.

Somebody just put a bird through extreme cruelty and there wasn’t a thing I could do.

Tonight a social birds family waits for their mother’s familiar call but she lies silent by my desk. Silenced by me, silenced by us; humans.

Nature keeps on doling it’s bounty on us and we keep on abusing it. We don’t realize that the Blue of a Blue-Jay is more precious than the Green of the Dollar.

We don’t deserve the song of the Blue-Jay or what nature offers us with open arms.


Hoarders R’ Us


The worst form of animal abuse is when you are abusing an animal and in your demented mind, you think you are helping them.

Inflicting cruelty while being ignorant to it and then claiming a moral high-ground is the worst.

I got called out to a call today and the signs of beginnings of a hoarder situation were clear as day.


-Inability to discard items that have nothing more than sentimental value.

– Inability to keep living conditions clean and hazard free.

And this was just in the backyard.


As me and the Police officers entered the house, we smelled the Ammonia smell generated by cat feces and urine. Most hoarders are so used it that they cannot smell it in their house.

There were litter-boxes by the dozens, with dry feces in them. There were cat feces on the floor, under the bed, in the closet, on the mattresses, on furniture.


Scores of old collectible items from the 60’s and the 70’s littered the house. Open cans of cat-food were scattered on the floor.

Among all this ciaos were 32 cats; hard to even count as some hid under the furniture and some frittered from one room to another. 2 separate litters of kittens were in the mix of animals.

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The owners were on vacation in Spain and in their mind they had RESCUED these cats; even the 4 kittens those lay dead amongst the mayhem or the cats with infected eyes and severe upper respiratory infections.


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One of the dead kittens had been almost completely eaten up by some of the biggest maggots I’ve seen.

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While investigating cruelty it is IMPERATIVE to get into the mind of the perpetrator. It is absolutely essential to be able to interview him/her so that you can understand their mindset and educate others.

I didn’t get a chance to interview them because they were overseas but I can see that they were novice hoarders. They had started recently (maybe within a year) and were getting there quickly. One can tell from the items in their house and the way they have been strewn. If the collectibles follow a theme (and their theme was old music LP’s and jukeboxes and sports trophies) then they can be helped with adequate and consistent counseling.

However, if they have been collecting items just for the sake of collecting (and in this case I saw that with the empty bottles of 66 in the yard those were buried halfway to form a path- in somewhat creative way) and the range is so wide that there is no theme; then you are in trouble.

In Houston we had pulled 72 cats and 23 dogs in a house half the size of the house I went in today. That was a point of no recovery for the humans.

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Prosecution and punishment are tools to dissuade in our fight against cruelty to animals. Real change however, will only be affected by education and to educate we need to understand people AND be empathetic; even to the perpetrators we all in animal activism are so ready to kill.

It’s a difficult task. Clearly it is.


It’s harder to be empathetic and non-judgemental when someone has clearly hurt an animal so badly. When I see this human I will have the image of the kitten almost liquefied by maggots clear in my head- but when I interview him, I will be empathetic.

So help me, god.

The verdict of -GUILTY.


Innocent until proven guilty; That is what human law is based on.

It’s different for animals.

Why?; Because we said so.

I went to a woman house today that has been built on a lot in the woods. She has peach trees those are frequented by skunks.


Skunks eat, grasshoppers, beetles, frogs etc during spring and summer and fruits and vegetables in the winter. So this woman traps them in traps to save her peach tree and cats (from being sprayed).

Thats where I come in and enforce THE LAW.

All skunks must be euthanized anywhere they are seen or caught; be it babies or adults- that is it for them.


The reason? Skunks are rabies SUSPECTS. They can transmit Rabies so we can’t let them live.

So explain this to me again? We move in on their land, then we trap them in their natural habitat and then we kill them?


So I put my tranquilizer needle through the cage and the skunk uses the only defense mechanism it has.

It sprays.

Yes we all know its an offensive smell and it’s a skunk, but have you seen the fear in it’s eyes when it sees the syringe coming? When I introduce the syringe in the second time, it knows it’s out of the spray so it cowers into a corner and lets the syringe poke it.

It’s anal glands desperately eject the final drops of spray those aren’t even enough to make me recede.

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The woman is carrying her grandson and telling him that the “Skunk has to go see Jesus”.

It stops me in my tracks. Really, woman? You’e going to cutify killing a skunk to your grandchild?

As I walk away I ask her not to trap animals in 100 degree weather and leave them out in the sun because if they die, I will write her a citation for cruelty to animals.

She is angry now and says that the law doesn’t make sense.

Really, woman. How would you like to be caught in a cage without food or water and bake in the sun till you die or survive long enough to be executed?


Then she speaks the most commonly spoken lie in the world. “I am an animal lover” she says.

At worst, It’s a dating line to attract the opposite sex. At best, it means that I love my pets. The rest of the animals can go take a hike.

That skunk and all other skunks and raccoons those are going to be trapped in the US today will all be presumed guilty.

There will be no trial, no defense; Just a verdict and an immediate punishment. DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION.

Justice will die a slow death, though.