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Street Dogs of Nepal, update Jan 08

January 13, 2008

A glimpse of a visit by two Irish SDON members to the SDON Centre in Naicap, Kathmandu Valley in November 2007.

Twenty one months had passed since I last visited NEPAL. Id met Rai Dhan, Para Vet on that first trip and had started what was now a small rescue centre in the valley as we both had a mutual concern for the street dogs. Living so far away in Ireland didn't help the situation but we had both agreed to do our part to continue helping the dogs on the streets in the Swayambunath area, even if from different sides of the world.

Our initial meeting was brief but it had spawned what was now a small active centre with permanent canine residents and with a few hundred dogs already treated, we had spayed or neutered and returned them to the streets. With excitement and apprehension I was looking forward to being back. My part was to keep the funding coming in, Rai's was to keep the work progressing in Naicap.

My mind was racing as the taxi drew near the centre. The little site was hidden in a dip but I had recognised the painted signs immediately from the photos Id seen.

Dogs and people came to welcome us with cream coloured scarves, a tradition in Nepal. Rai and Balkumar our trainee Vet and Bol our professor who does the operations were all there. Cathy (UK) and Cimmi (Japan) were our valued volunteers. So it was real, Rita and I had finally arrived.

Progress so far:

We had moved locations a few times as locals had complained about the barking, we were now set up on a small rented site in the countryside. Our transport to and fro was by local taxi. The same taxi collects and ferries the sick dogs for us at a reduced fee. We have no other transport. Other taxis id learned wouldn't travel the makeshift rocky road.

The centre is basic and small and a permanent site is needed as soon as we can raise the money. We have a small building where operations are carried out and another room where the dogs sleep. The dogs are separated in cages at night but have the freedom of the site during the daytime. I have to say the bamboo and clay constructed buildings will hopefully some day be replaced by more permanent structures on our permanent site but our work is in progress. I had brought over medicines that people in the UK and Ireland had donated, and it didn't take long before Rai set us to work cleaning, building and dishing up dinners.

The reality.
The weather was warm, the setting magnificent but the suffering was all around us. The centre dogs were happy for the most part but Kali wanted her freedom. She had been taken in for spaying with her mother Rose who was in a very bad condition. Rose had had so many litters she was skin and bone and bald from skin infections and parasites. Rose is still with us and always will be but Kali was one of the many returned to the streets where she had been picked up. We always check that the dog we spay has a person to continue feeding them once they are returned to their area. Kali had a lady who had fed her so hopefully she'd be fine, it was heart-breaking though when she ran after our taxi .. I wanted to keep them all, I wanted to help them all, at one point during an operation I broke down as I felt I couldn't do enough and the enormity of the task engulfed me.

This major operation carried out by Rai and Professor Bol for a cancerous tumour on Sheeva was a complete success, she is another permanent SDON dog however but for operations we are in dire need of Elizabethan collars and other basic equipment which I have since posted over to Nepal and unfortunately our parcel has gone missing in the post. Balkumar had been making do with piping on the dogs necks to stop them removing their stitches. Yes, conditions were crude and far behind Irish standards but everything costs money and much more is needed. I soon learned nothing was thrown away in Nepal, and everything has to be bought.

Having fed and attended the dogs early morning, we went to the Crittipur area to collect a dog who had been hit by a car. Rai had gotten a call about him and despite not finding him on that day we found a small pup curled up and crying in pain. He too had been injured but the screams of fear when he was lifted were unforgettable. He had never been touched by a human before and the rest of his siblings hid on us. We took him to our centre and he settled on our knee in the taxi, now he is recovered and he waits for an adoptive family. However the next day we found his brother lying dead on the same patch of rubbish on the side of the road, this little fawn pup hadn't been so lucky. People passed him by untouched by the sight. This is an everyday occurrence on the streets of Nepal

THE STUPA, THE MONKS- the dogs and the filming.
SDON has a person employed who feeds the Stupa dogs daily with rice, meat and vitamins. There are about 70 dogs in the Bhuddist Temple area and up until now the Monks had objected to the females being spayed. However through gentle persuasion they have now agreed to allow us proceed. There have been many litters over the last few months so this is a good development. At night the tiny little pups go into the crevices in the Stupa walls where the candles are lit during the day as its warmer for them. A heart of stone would melt on seeing them.

Another boost to our efforts came in the way of an American Film Company who asked us to allow them to film our work. This company spent a week with Rai and our workers in the Centre, our feeding routine and the process involved in treating and operating on a street dog was filmed from start to finish and we await a copy of the DVD as promised. It will be promoted in the States.

So that's the current situation in Nepal. Our week was filled with tears, laughter, and optimism and we left there knowing we would return. I had visited sites that we could possibly purchase in the future as our permanent base and I think we would need to raise 15,000 euros for the land and another 5000 euros to build. This would get us started as our space is too small at the moment. The temporary accommodation is hard to heat also but I got lots of blankets when I visited and I need appeal urgently for dog coats and Elizabethan collars.

Conditions are very basic in our centre with no running water or facilities on the site. Everything has to be carried almost a kilometre.

Please if you know of a company that might sponsor us or some way to help our fundraising it would be a great help. Its not that easy to fundraise in Ireland either so SDON really needs help to make life for the Kathmandu dogs a little better, street dogs are just like any other dogs, only more scared, more hungry and they have never known comfort.

*SDON has a no kill policy

Bernie Wright and the SDON NEPAL TEAM.
berniew@esatclear. ie.
Post donations to SDON, PO Box 4734. Dublin.1

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