Post by Anup Aryal & Report by Usha Adhikari
It has been said often that a dog is man’s best friend. However, man is not always a good friend to a dog. In many societies including in Nepal, dogs are a public nuisance and health hazard due to our own actions. Practices of not spaying or neutering our pets leads to people dumping unwanted puppies in the streets. Not having a cultural acceptance of caring for dogs leads to these street animals being neglected. Furthermore, resource constraints lead to no tangible programs to address the problems caused on street dogs. Eventually, dogs have a terrible existence in the streets and humans pay the price through dog attacks, rabies and other unsightly scenes of unhealthy dogs roaming our communities.
Thankfully, the overall attitudes towards animals are slowly changing and some organizations and people are actively working to improve the conditions of street dogs in major cities like Kathmandu. Rukmini Foundation had organized events in the capital and the success of those programs were instantly recognized. With the hope of improving the overall situation in our village, a first ever dog spay camp was organized.
Since community problems require community solutions, Rukmini Foundation along with collaboration of Dakshinkali Municipality and Shikharapur Community Learning Center organized a 3-day camp to treat as many stray dogs as we could, and we even extended the invite to any pet owners who may not have spayed or neutered their dogs. In total, we looked after 174 dogs by spaying/neutering them and giving them Rabies vaccination and other treatments. The Let’s Care Nepal organization was instrumental in capturing and transporting the dogs from every corner of the community. As you can imagine, gathering stray dogs is not very easy, but the great collaboration between our team and Let’s Care Nepal team made it possible to achieve success in completing a difficult task.
Rukmini Foundation’s Bahini Junu Tamang (Veterinary Technician) assisted in the process. This illustrates that education and opportunity can help solve these large community problems. Stray dogs in our community do not get the care and affection they deserve. They are often treated badly by people. They are seen as a nuisance by the villagers and often abused by throwing stones at them, chasing them or hitting them with sticks. Everyday survival act of looking for food can be dangerous for dogs. As a result, dogs become aggressive and attack humans, often women and girls when they can.
In a society where people lack proper resources to sustain themselves, it is hard to think about stray animals. However, since we live with them, it is critical to improve their conditions as well. Rukmini Foundation along with other organizations were able to use the 3 days to show that proper care of stray dogs is possible, and this spay camp is going to help reduce the number of stray dogs in our community. This will help humans as well as dogs who have less mouths to feed. A win-win for the whole community. Finally, this shows that with understanding we can become a better friend to dogs.