Each of our last seven holidays have been spent in South Goa, India. We kinda like it there. You may have guessed.
One of the many reasons we look forward to our annual sojourn is the wide, open, quiet and expansive beach we have just a short three hundred metre walk from our hotel. I say ‘quiet,’ in the context of there being not many tourists. Humans.
There are, however, several small groups of dogs, each little pack having a strictly defined territory, centred around the various ‘shacks’ (bars ‘ restaurants) dotted along the sands.
It’s fascinating to see them identify a potential intruder and rise from the shade of a sunbed where they were sheltering and more than likely being fed by patrons of that particular shack, and race out into the open space to drive them away. They are, however, acutely aware of the ‘line in the sand,’ where their territory ends, and the brakes are quickly applied as they approach it.
Within each pack, there is generally harmony.Although us tourists are not encouraged to feed them – there is still a definite rabies risk in India, Goa included – we do, and the dogs seem to recognise there is plenty for all.
Where you do see aggression, other than in territorial disputes, is when a bitch is in season. Virtually all dogs on the beach are strays, often born of beach-dogs themselves. They are ‘entire,’ and when a male gets the urge, then that’s when it all kicks off!
Poor wee Patch (our name for her.) She had a number suitors that followed her relentlessly for a few days. She fought off many approaches but was completely exhausted in doing so. The males would jealously fight each other for the opportunity to mate with her. This obviously caused a bit of alarm to those visiting the beach to enjoy the sun, beer and food.
Enter Sue and Phil, two of our friends. They successfully managed to separate wee Patch from the others and offer the solace of their sunbed whilst I stood guard, ready to chase away the amorous, or rather, randy, males as they approached.
After a couple hours deep sleep, we fed Patch and she then toddled off onto the deserted sands. The males had long since acknowledged the futility of their attempts on this particular day and had retired to the shelter of the palm trees.
It wasn’t long, though, before they picked up on Patch’s scent and it seemed to be that with an air of resignation, wee Patch reluctantly accepted the advances of one of the group.
We fully expect to see some interesting looking puppies next January!
There was one little puppy by our shack this year, and it was so lovely to see him be allowed to take his first steps away from the sanctuary of his shelter. Gradually, over the space of three days, and under the watchful eyes of his mum and dad, the little ‘un padded first along the skirting of the beach, then on the back edge, where he was still close to his home, and then finally onto the open expanse of the beach itself.
This is the short video of that first big adventure.
Roll on January 2018!