It Is A Woofderful Life

A dog’s house is his castle—alm­ost literally. Bombay House, the 94-year-old building that ser­­ves as the Tata Group’s global HQ, has been a comfortable den for stray dogs for decades.

When Ratan Tata became chairman of Tata Sons in 1991, he regularised his tenants, furnishing amenities that were the equal of anything available to employees of the Homo sapiens persuasion.

“They had a vet on call, a budget for their upkeep and regular medical checkups, and were habituated to sleeping on mats,” a staffer said.

In 2017, this privileged class of eight canines was briefly disco­m­f­ited when the building was ren­­ovated, but the luxury has returned, with plush new facilities, including toys, mattres­ses, and “lots of hiding places,” says a delighted Abodh Aras of Welfare of Stray Dogs.

How Gujarat’s Panchot Village Helps the Stray Dogs?

Absentee landlords grow fat off the rent paid by those who till the soil. No, this isn’t the 18th century Ireland depicted in Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent.

For one thing, the landlords are dogs of the four-legged variety. Farmers in Gujarat’s Panchot village started the tradition roughly 80 years ago by don­ating some hard-to-maintain land to a village trust. The trust annually auctions off the right to till each piece of land for a year, and all income from this is in the name of the village’s 70-odd stray dogs.

The villagers go to great lengths to feed the dogs—in 2015, the trust constructed a special building where food is prepared for them, and volunteers distribute the food daily.  Recently, the construction of the Mehsana bypass made land prices shoot up—so the dogs ‘own’ about Rs 83 crore worth of land.