After scanning through hundreds of photographs of lovable Indian "community dogs" as well as their rescue stories, Rambo of Indore, has made it to the finals of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) third annual Cutest Indian Dog Alive contest.
The proud owner of the dog is Ishaan Nair. Rambo and Ishaan first met when Rambo's mother, a stray dog, gave birth to six puppies on the road in front of Ishaan's home. Now, all the dogs are part of Ishaan's household.
"My family rushed to help the mother with delivery, gave her food and treated her as a member of our own family. Since then, she and the pups have been the biggest part of my family," said Ishaan.
"Rambo, his siblings and their mother are lucky dogs, and they have returned the favour of being rescued by bringing much love and joy into Ishaan's life," says PETA CEO Poorva Joshipura. "All rescued dogs are already winners because their lives were saved by people who love them for who they are," she added.
The lucky pup who wins the Cutest Indian Dog Alive title will receive a "100% Desi Dog" doggie T-shirt, and his or her guardian will receive a certificate, a "My Dog Is a Rescue" T-shirt and an autographed copy of PETA India founder Ingrid Newkirk's book Let's Have a Dog Party!
The second- and third-place winners will also receive prizes, and all three top placers will receive participation certificates and appear in an upcoming issue of Animal Times, PETA India's magazine for members.
PETA has urged prospective guardians to adopt an Indian "community animal" from the streets or an animal shelter rather than buying puppies or kittens sold in pet shops.
Pet shops and breeders often keep animals in dismal conditions, and because pedigree dogs are bred for certain exaggerated physical traits, such as long ears and drooping backs, many foreign breeds of dogs suffer from issues ranging from breathing problems, cancer and heart disease to bleeding disorders, skeletal malformation and eye problems.
In contrast, Indian "community dogs" are healthier and more robust than their "purebred" cousins are.