India is estimated to have over 1.7 crore stray dogs, a majority of which are Indian canines and those left abandoned to a life on the streets. A large number of people in India still prefer to purchase their pets rather than adopt, and Indian dogs are rarely their first choice, or even in the top three, because they’re ‘mongrels.’ 3-month-old Skye was one of these unfortunate street dogs, fighting for survival after her family was run over by a car. But Skye’s story had a happy turn of events when she was adopted by the Divans. Not only was Skye given a better life but she’s now on the rise as an Instagram star under the name Indian Dogue, the brainchild of 13-year-old Shai Divan who started the page and began posting adorable pictures of Skye in various outfits. Needless to say, the resultant photographs are heartwarming and became a quick success in a digital world that can’t get enough of costumed-Skye.
Speaking to Shai over the phone, she told us about Skye’s life before she became part of the Divan family. The streets of Kharghar were Skye’s home, when she was found and rescued by Dr. Srilakshmi who fostered her and nurtured her back to health. When the Divans decided to get a dog Shai tells us that her father and sister, Leah, preferred to get a popular breed, but Shai convinced them otherwise; “I was stubborn and insisted that we needed to adopt. So, my father spread the word, and when Dr. Srilakshmi found out she brought Skye over, and we fell in love.”
“I always wanted a dog,” says Shai, “I’d spend much of my free time playing with the thousands of soft toy dogs I have and watching videos of them online. Instead of buying a dog I thought we could give a home to one that really needed it. Although, I wasn’t sure about it at first. I did some research, watched a couple of videos about handling strays, and it turns out that they’re easier to train, they’re healthier and even live longer.” Using props Shai would find around the house, Skye transforms into Harry Potter along with a cape and broom, a chef frying some eggs, a marathon winner and even has her own Oscar award for absolute cuteness. As a puppy, Skye was abused by local shopkeepers once she lost her parents, and sadly, hers is all too common a tale in India where animal abuse, especially of strays, is rampant, making this story all the more heart-warming.
Going through Skye’s Instagram feed it’s safe to say that she is one patient pup. Looking pretty fabulous in all the costumes, it all began one night when Shai’s father was out and she ventured into his room where all the laundry was kept. “Dad’s room was empty, the laundry was all out, like my football jersey. I was really bored, and I thought that if Skye was patient enough I’d dress her up. The first few looks were pretty terrible. I put her in Dad’s swimming trunks, some everyday clothes, even glasses. Originally, I’d just make her wear a t-shirt on top and accessories with shoes, socks and hair-bands,” shares Shai. Her favourite costume so far? “I love the one where Skye’s going to the Oscars! I put the most effort into that one. We recently got a new television which came in a big box. So, I painted it white and flipped it upside down turning it into a stage for Skye to stand on, and it was also the first time that I got her to hold something in her mouth.”
When Shai started out, she had a whole bank of costume ideas for her pup, who is now a year old, but she says she’s been struggling for new ideas for the last two weeks, and has even asked her friends to pitch in. Skye’s most recent get-up was of a shopkeeper, and we can’t wait to see what the dynamic duo will come up with next.
Follow Skye’s adorable make-over’s on Instagram, we’ve posted below some of our favourite pictures, courtesy of Shai Divan.
Words: Sara Hussain