He’s Like My Son

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An account of a very special lady and her dog, whom we met at our camp in Upper Pisang – As soon as she handed her dog to us, she put her hands to her face and turned away. Her 5 year-old dog had never been to the vet, and she was terrified.

When our vet tech Subash began the process of cleaning and shaving her dog, she covered her face with her hands and said, “He is like my son. Please do it properly.” Despite her anxiety, she entrusted her dog to us, said a prayer for it, and left. When she returned to pick up her dog later that day, she had brought sweets for the entire team! After soothing her dog by patting it on the head and speaking to it, she started her round, thanking each member of the team, and giving us a lemon candy! How sweet! After receiving sweets from the lady, vet tech Narayan went to his supplies and picked out some coffee sweets to share with the lady too! 

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Didi watches as her mutt wakes up from its anesthesia

She lives on her own and looks after a little guest house in Upper Pisang. She shared that she’s doesn’t have any children or family in Pisang, so her dog truly is her only family. “People make fun me,” she says, “because I [treat] dog better than some people [treat their own] children!”

Having recently injured her knee, she was unable to carry her dog back up to her home that is perched along a steep mountain trail. I offered to help her carry her dog (even though I was uncertain if I could make it! We were at 3,800m, and although I was younger than didi, I would bet I wasn’t as well acclimatised to the thin air as she was!) and thankfully, a curious trekker who visited our camp earlier, passed by just as we were leaving the camp, and offered to help carry her dog when I got tired. It didn’t long for me to get tired. It might have been less than five minutes of climbing, and I asked Jonathan to take over. We passed the dog back and forth a few times before we finally got to her place. What a work out!

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Jonathan Andres, a trekker from France, helps carry a sleepy mutt home

After we laid the dog down on some dry grass, didi invited us into her home and offered us tea. We climbed up a skinny wooden ladder to her porch, and sat cross-legged on a thin woollen mat to make it more comfortable. From the porch we had a most incredible view of Annapurna II mountain. Not a bad view for a simple house.

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Didi prepared a fire from wood and put a some water to boil. “It’ll take awhile,” she said, “no gas.” We told her that’s no problem at all, neither of us were in a hurry. “Come in see,” didi gestured for us to enter her home. “Here me sleep, here dog sleep.” Her bed was a mattress laid on the floor, and her mutt had a bed that was, a bed. “He’s like my son,” she tells us again. “He follows me everywhere. People laugh at me, but I don’t care.”

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From left: Hsu Han Yen, didi, Jonathan Andres. Photo by: Debby Ng/HMP

The Himalayan Mutt Project is raising funds for our 2017 neutering and anti-rabies vaccination camp in Nepal Himalaya. DONATE today