Dogs of the Asirvadh Ashram

Hot dogs at the ashram

Along with the children, the Asirvadh Ashram is home to about a half a dozen dogs. These dogs are not quite pets, roaming free and providing a very effective alarm system (all night long). We enjoyed getting to know each of them and their quirky personalities. While we were visiting, we were lucky enough to meet the new litter of puppies that had just been born.

Chitu tries to escape the heat


Of all the dogs, Shreya was our absolute favorite. She is one of the tiniest dogs at the ashram and is also the smartest. In India, you really get the sense that only the strong survive (this goes for people as well as dogs). What Shreya lacks in size, vital for survival in a pack of dogs, she has made up with cuteness and brains (vital for survival with a pack of humans) – she is the only dog there who does tricks. She can sit and shake, when given the command in Tamil or English. This ensured her a steady supply of treats from the visiting Americans!

Fort Cochin, Kerala

There were several dogs cruising around the Chinese fishing net area of Fort Cochin. When the fishing boats came in, they would spring into action. In the meantime, however, they found plenty of time for napping.

Hey, wake up!

Sleeping by the fishing boats

Scrounging mama

Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu

One of the saddest sights as a westerner traveling in India is the huge population of homeless dogs that scrounge for food along the roadside. This one’s markings reminded us an awful lot of our own dog, but her life is in stark contrast to his sheltered existence.