The Luckiest Street Dogs in Kathmandu
The Saturday Camp
I met up with Andrea (the founder of Street Dog Care Kathmandu) at the weekly Saturday camp for local street dogs in and around Boudhanath Stupa. Lots of people were there working (and volunteering) to wash the dogs, comb them (as their Winter fur is coming off in bucket loads!) and treating them for mange and other more serious ailments.
(Below: the Street Dog Care Saturday camp underneath the colourful umbrella at Boudha Stupa)
And then this one little street dog pup (below) was bought in by it's neighbours. It looked like it had had a broken leg, and unfortunately kept trying to walk on it, making the bone protrude even more. It was obviously very painful, and quite clear that this was a major problem for this dog that would not heal by itself.
After assessment it was determined that the dog had been nutrient deficient when it was young (meaning its mother was also probably nutrient deficient). This is what not getting nutrient rich milk as a pup looks like, we have seen it in other street dogs and we now know what it is. The pooch would need to be fed proper dietary meals, after which it would hopefully recover in full.
Ailments and injuries like this on dogs are not uncommon in Kathmandu. If you've ever been there you'll know why - the street dogs are plenty and the education regarding their health is not a priority for families on the poverty line. However this amazing not-for-profit organization completes all 'maintenance and repairs' on genuine street dogs for FREE. Including free food.
Andrea founded the organization in 2008, and today it has many different arms; the Saturday camp for local street dogs, the shelter where mainly old and permanently maimed dogs are allowed to 'retire' and live out their lives in a safe space, the rabies vaccination project (1000 dogs last year!), and spaying of dogs in monasteries.
I also visited the shelter this trip, and fell in love so many times over.
(Below: I wanted to bring these two back with me of course)
Solely relying on funding from all over the globe, they have managed to build a fully sustainable NGO that (did I already mention this?) ... provide ALL medical treatment to anyone who walks in with a genuine street dog for FREE.
This global funding includes the new shelter land that had to be found after the earthquake (and all infrastructure), the many surgeries, wages of their 5 local staff, all the new dog houses, jackets, blankets, toys and the endless demand for medication which often cannot be found in Nepal.
The small golden lab at the beginning of the video above had been brought to the shelter after it developed the noticeable neurological symptoms you can see in the short clip. Unfortunately this dog was not a street dog, and in keeping with their policy the team could not help it.
His owners had bought him from a breeder, but didn't want him anymore, and if no one would take him there was only one other option for this little soul.
So Andrea proposed that if they would adopt one of the shelter dogs, then they could take the pup in and he would have a home there indefinitely ... a win / win for both sides, and obviously a HUGE win for the pooch.
I spent some time with this dog, and while he can't move properly or walk, he is such a vibrant little puppy who only wants to play and cuddle. His mind and personality don't seem to be affected by his disorder (which is permanent), only his body. He will remain at the shelter for his whole life, he is extremely lucky.
There are many ailments present in these dogs; injury, birth defects, disease, health deterioration, and sometimes just plain old age. The one thing they all have in common though is their will to live.
Andrea and the team offer them the opportunity to exist as they are able, to just to be a dog in the world. No matter what that looks like. As with us humans, they are all unique and beautiful individuals with a right to be here.
Diamond, the tiny 6 week old pup in the picture above has had a rough start to life. He has a huge abscess in his abdomen that will need surgery if the medication doesn't work. As he had to be taken away from his mother at such a young age, she may not accept him back into the pack or street community where he was found when he recovers. He may be at the shelter permanently as well.
Not that this is too bad of a bad situation though, when your digs look like this!
We thank you all for becoming part of our story and enabling us to help our 4 legged friends & family. Without you we could not do this.
Thank you for becoming part of their story as well.
If you also feel strongly about this and would like to help, please donate or inquire here >
Until next time,