Monday, July 21, 2008

The Laid-Back Dogs of Kathmandu

Carly, Molly and I have been especially impressed by the laid-back nature of the dogs of Kathmandu. Here are a couple hanging out on the steps of one of the shrines at Pashiputinath Temple.

There numbers are large since there is not a culture of animal population control here nor the personal income to afford it. When you are a professional with a Master's degree (or two) and you cannot afford to go to a movie, eat at a restaurant or buy petrol, you cannot afford to spay or neuter an animal. There is one group working to raise money for sterilization but by the looks of things they have a long way to go before they even make a dent. They are literally on every doorstep, street corner, curb, stairway and in the entryways into the small shops. Most of the dogs seem to have a home with one of the store or stall owners and certainly a few are officially owned and wear collars. To see someone out walking a dog on a leash is a true rarity. The dogs are in pretty good shape since the ones without official homes feast on the garbage piles described in a previous post.

Previously the three of of us thought that their laid back nature was an adaptation to the constant traffic, noise and chaos that is the rhythm of Kathmandu. We still think that is true. In Thamel, the motorbikes, bikes and taxis come within inches of their paws but they never move or blink an eye. They never bark or threaten us. It's like they are on puppy Prozac. IF the dogs get out of line, some people thrown small rocks at them - which I am not in favor of.
However, Carly has most aptly described their game. She says the reason these dogs sleep all day is that they are 'gangstas' that party (bark, fight and run around in gangs) all night. Her theory is that this laid back daytime demeanor is really a hangover from their nightime escapades. I think her theory carries some weight.

Oh yeah, what about the cats? WHAT cats? In this survival of the fittest kingdom there are very few cats. The only ones I have seen are behind a gated, stonewalled garden enclosure or up on a rooftop.

I miss Maggie!


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