My Dog Friends

Author: Yugal SehgalOriginally published on February 12, 2021

I love dogs! Having grown up with a dog, I share a special connection with them. I think I can communicate with them, earn their trust, and be a good human example to them. After all, dogs just as much need to know that not all humans are bad. And last year I made four new dog friends. Four furry little beasts. Whitney, Brownie, Rocky, and Whitler.

Now, admittedly some of these names are based on the color of the dog’s fur but they were intended as pure quips so hold your race horses! (See what I did there?)

Unfortunately, Whitler recently passed away due to a mysterious illness. I miss him. But on the other hand, Whitney became a mother for the first time and gave birth to five adorable little puppies.

It's the circle of life and it moves us all.

They are all strays and they rule our street. I've been observing them since the start of our friendship more than a year ago and I can say that their lives are as fascinating and dramatic — at times even more so — as any human being’s. Don't believe me? You will when you've read their stories.


The sweetest of them all, Whitney is a young female dog not older than two. She's spotlessly white, very intelligent, has the most beautiful eyelashes ever seen on a dog, and is a fierce, fierce mother. Her life, however, has been nothing less than tragic. Four of her five puppies died, in sets of two at a time. The first two were accidentally run over by a car within a month of their birth, and the other two died in sickness not long afterwards, just a day apart from each other. She continues to mourn for them even after all these months. She has oddly developed caution against tyres and gives them a long suspicious whiff every time she comes across them. It is heartbreaking to see. But tragedy has curiously made her the strongest dog of them all and she is now the leader of the pack. If some dog is bold enough to mess with her, she's quick with her fury. From a sweet, meek dog into a brave, fierce mother, she has evolved into an impressive doggess. A total badass! All that without ever being the alpha. Who then is the alpha, you ask? This guy:


The grumpiest of them all, Rocky is the male head of the pack. What's curious about him is that he suffers from an ailment that hinders his ability to walk straight and makes it difficult for him to get up right away. But despite that he has managed to become the alpha. Now if you know anything about the dog world, you would know that — to quote Ric Flair — to be the man, you've got to beat the man. So that means Rocky became the alpha by ousting the former alpha. Considering his ailments, that’s pretty impressive! He's strong and fearsome despite his limitations. Only Whitney can hold her own around him. But don’t get a wrong idea, he’s also a softie and makes the cutest face by squinting his eyes when you pat him. He loves head pats! And he loves sunbathing even more. Offer him sunlight and food, he would pick the sun over food. But don’t think he wouldn't steal it from the other dogs when he gets the chance. That’s the alpha shtick, after all. This next guy is always losing his food to Rocky:


The meekest of them all, Brownie is as sweet as his name. He’s so different from the other dogs, I suspect he’s part Shiba. His mannerisms are very pet like. He does a little tap dance when you feed him a biscuit, and can sometimes also catch one, which is pretty impressive. He loves to chill and sleep on cartons, piles of clothes if he can find them, or any surface that isn't the floor. Another pet-like tendency. He’s very agile and loves climbing things. When it comes to food though, he gives in easily to the other dogs and backs away, but he doesn't easily budge when biscuits are at stake, those are his absolute favorite. He's usually cautious around humans but overtime has learned to trust me, which makes me very happy. So I am a little biased towards him and give him a few extra biscuits just because of it. But someone else has begun to steal those from him. And no, it’s not Rocky.


The most precious of them all, Pilloo is the sole surviving pup of Whitney's. Named Angelo, he's better known to us as Pilloo, which is a cutesy Indian term for puppy. His life, however, has perhaps been the most dramatic of them all. He was bullied a lot by two of his brothers, so much so that he suffered a nasty jaw injury at their hands, because of which his lower left jaw is now crooked. They would pick on him and attack him like they were in a dog fight, a very vicious, one-sided dog fight. He would hide from them and rarely come out. But he was very loving and trusting in spite of it. He would tail humans and adorably hop after them, wagging his little tail while he was at it. He would even try to play with his brothers but they would chase him away. When those two died, Pilloo mourned for them for days — he mourned for those who hurt him. He was so visibly affected and weakened, we didn't think he would survive, but he miraculously did and his life since has been thankfully a lot better. He's 4 months old now and is a healthy, tough pup with an adorably fierce bark. And don't underestimate his consumption abilities, he can eat a full grown pigeon by himself. I’ve seen him do that a couple of times now and it's disturbingly amusing. He has come a long way and his journey, to me, is the most inspiring of them all.

Together they make a strong and clever pack and I view them as if they are my pets. All of them have had a difficult life in one way or another, and they continue to soldier on despite that. They continue to be fierce, brave, sweet, and loving in spite of their hardships. And that’s why I wanted to share their stories. I may want to be a good human example to them, but when I look at them, I realise they are a better example of goodness to me than I could ever be to them. They are my dog friends.

Yugal Sehgal writes about life, mindfulness, and people. He lives in India. Follow him and @drawcuments on Instagram.