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Off Leash: Meet the REAL Slum Dogs of India

A British photographer captures the daily lives of the subcontinent’s street dogs

When she left England in 2007 to travel through India, Eloise Leyden knew she’d see street dogs. She’d traveled in Asia and Central America in the past, and seen the profusion of stray animals who roam many city streets. She planned to put her newly minted degree in photography to good use by undertaking a project that would give her trip to the subcontinent more meaning.

“So I had it in my head that I would concentrate my camera on the stray dogs, and so I got there, and the more I was photographing them, the more I sort of fell in love with them … but I never anticipated that I would get so involved in their actual place in India, the situation that is out there, and how they can be helped,” Leyden says.

Through a chance encounter in Pushkar—a city in the Indian state of Rajasthan—Leyden heard about the work of Tree of Life for Animals (TOLFA), a nonprofit group that runs an animal hospital and shelter in the city. Founded by fellow Briton Rachel Wright, TOLFA’s goal is to take steps to humanely control the dog population through spay/neuter programs and provide veterinary care to any animal who needs it—especially street dogs.

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