It is common knowledge that while many of us profess to be dog lovers, when it comes to adopting one, we opt for well bred, pedigreed, good looking dogs, while strays are left on the streets to fend for themselves, because, hey, they are strays. We are scared to touch them, feed them or provide them a decent home. It is this unfair attitude towards mongrels, that Arpita Rao wishes to change.  

This 25-year-old from Hyderabad, runs a project, Mongrels Of India, on Facebook and Instagram, that aims to improve the reputation of stray dogs in the country and instill a sense of empathy in people towards strays and mongrels. 

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

The project may be only two-weeks-old, but it has already garnered tremendous response. In conversation with ScoopWhoop, Arpita says,

It's not wrong to own a breed, but spending thousands on importing them instead of spending way less to feed one outside your door, neuter one outside your door, is sheer ignorance. And its not only the case with dogs, people do that with cats, birds etc.
Source: Facebook

Inspired by the Humans Of New York page, Arpita wishes to share adorable pictures of stray dogs and feature incredible stories from the country, to change this negative perception about them and encourage people to open their homes and hearts to these pooches.

Our first, Pepper, is from my university campus in Navi Mumbai. She was the runt of the litter, about a month old, covered in fleas,ticks, ants and lice, lying in a marsh, hardly moving. From the day we got her into our home things turned around for her and she is now a beautiful 11 year old. No one will look at her and say she's 11 going on 12. She looks so young and for her age very sprightly! Next was Lizzy. An abused stray pup (thrown on the street because she was a mixed Labrador and not a pure Labrador ), she was all alone and scared and slept underneath a sugarcane cart. She lived on juice which the vendor would feed her out of pity. When we finally brought her home, she was thrilled to be here and till date she is reluctant to leave the house even for her walks. She loves chilling in her sofa! A couple of years later, one of the dogs my parents used to feed on their daily dog feeding rounds(they still do), followed them home. She wanted to be part of the family and didn't give up. She sat outside our building on the road come rain or shine, day and night, sometimes even when she was soaking wet in the rain. Our hearts melted and that's how she become our third baby, Doofus. They are all senior dogs now and I can vouch for the fact that stray/indian breed dogs have little to no health problems, do not require specialized training/trainers and are much lower maintenance than any purebred dog. They bring us nothing but love and joy. Story by : Tamara Lopez #mongrelsofindia #moi #dogsofindia #dogsofinsta #mongrels #flufferpower #withyoualways #adoptdontshop #encourageadoption #dogs

A photo posted by Mongrels of India (@mongrelsofindia) on

Mylo was adopted by one of my neighbours, they wanted a dog and I helped them out. She selected Mylo and went to bring him in. On the same night she called up saying that her husband thinks stray dogs can be dangerous for their daughter. I was stunned. 12 o clock in the night I went to her house and she said her friend and the family vet had advised against Mylo and that they should keep a pure breed. I was amazed with all the comments. Took Mylo back home and I was thinking what to do next. We went to return him to the place we got him from. I found out that Mylo is being returned for the 10th time. That's it. I decided to keep him, even though it wasn't the right time to have a dog since my mother in law was very very ill. I convinced my husband that I would like to foster Mylo for few days, and he agreed. Within a few days I managed to convince my husband. Although it was very difficult, we made it happen. And so, we have Mylo today. Story by : Puneeta Singh #mongrelsofindia #moi #humansofindia #dogsofinstagram #dogsofindia #strays #mongrels #adoptdontshop #encourageadoption #dogs

A photo posted by Mongrels of India (@mongrelsofindia) on

What started off as just a Facebook and Instagram page featuring pictures of strays, that Arpita captured during her travels, she now aims to much more. She says,

There are a few people who have already come to me and asked me where they can adopt the featured dogs. And I have told them to go the closest rescue centres. My page is two-weeks-old and I think I have to do a lot better to start making an actual difference.
Source: Instagram
Source: Instagram
Source: Instagram
Source: Instagram

It is stories and efforts like these that give us hope. Open your minds and be kind to one another.