I have a daughter in Nepal. Last week she sent me photos of the street dogs in her neighbourhood wearing tika (red powder on their forehead and paws), and marigold garlands. The dogs got special treats and dressed up for Kukur Tihar - the festival honouring dogs. In her neighbourhood the street dogs are all in good condition. I'm guessing your german shepherd Hero was a street dog in a neighbourhood that looked after their street dogs.
Wow, small world eh? Yes, Kukhur Tihar
is the one
day that most all Nepalese treat dogs kindly, then its back to kicking and throwing rocks.
But I respectfully disagree about the condition of street dogs here. In my work with www.animalnepal.org
, I've found that most all street dogs have internal problems (parasites, worms, fungal infections, etc.) - even if they are looking fed, which many are.
Then there is the problem of traffic accidents, as congestion in the city is awful, and the likelihood of hitting a dog, cow or chicken is high. Once a dog is hit, there are few who will care for it outside the occasional good samaritan with extra rupees, or one of the few animal welfare groups like AnimalNepal.
I classify non-pet dogs here in three categories: street dogs, community dogs & strays. Street dogs often run in packs, are very primal, and not friendly or cared for at all. Community dogs are those that are fed by folks (cold store owners, meat shops, concerned citizens, etc.) and are like outdoor "pets" with no real owner, just folks that make sure the animal is fed everyday. These community dogs also provide security at night for an individual house or a marked area, and during the day are mostly harmless. Strays are just lost from a real home, or as often the case, discarded for lack of any proper facility for unwanted pets.
Thankfully, for the last decade or so, Kathmandu residents are embracing the idea of individual pet ownership - as a philosophy and as a business, where dogs live in a home and not a cage out in the yard (although that's the condition for the majority of pets here), and bought from reputable (and un-reputable) breeders.
Krypto and I used to go to local schools
and hold pet training sessions, but he recently past. That was great as Krypto was a 40kg monster with the disposition of a teddy bear, and he was very accessible to children. Kids here are raised here to fear dogs (with good reason, as incidences of rabies is a bit high, and real street dogs really bite hard). So these sessions would explain to kids how to deal with the situation, how to approach a community dog or new friend, and how to properly care for a pet at home.
Well, perhaps this new rescue doggie can take his place... we'll have to see...
Ps. Tell your daughter that I said Namaste!
and best of times in this magical (and often cruel) land.