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{ THE LAST WOOF }

THE DOGS OF

DHARAM

WRITTEN BY TJ THOMPSON PHOTOS BY TJ THOMPSON AND HILLARY LEVIN

The Dalai Lama wisely said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” As a member of the press for the non-profit Technology Connection for Tibetan Nuns based in Baltimore, Maryland, I traveled to Dharamsala, India to take part in the 30th anniversary celebration of the Tibetan Nuns Project, headquartered in Seattle, Washington (tnp.org). This enlightening trip included participation in four days of teachings by His Holiness. What struck me most during my trip was not the profound words I heard from the Buddhist leader of compassion but rather the profound presence and plight of countless homeless dogs in the area. The unpaved path getting from the airport to my hotel at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains was a winding drive through very narrow streets flanked by steep ditches. There was the constant sound of the multiple cab drivers’ high pitched horn honking along the road. “BEEP beep, BEEEP BEEP, BEEP!” The horn was not a form of road rage or an expression of anger so much as it was a warning: “Here comes a cab, get outta the way, hey move, Hey! These streets are barely wide enough for these cabs, you might get hit if you don’t get outta the way…!!” Unfortunately, many of the dogs wandering the streets don’t know the language of the horn—especially the young pups.

Top, clockwise from left: Rambo after surgery (photo courtesy of darescue.org); exhausted Dharamsala street dogs; Tibetan monk with his friend; Tsu working the crowd at the main temple. Above: Tibetan nun spending time with homeless dogs at a nunnery. 38 • CityDog Magazine

As I became more familiar with the area I saw dogs at every turn. Among them, at the temple where the teachings were held, I met a royal old girl who has made the grounds of the temple her domain. “Tsu” according to the locals has been the unofficial greeter and loyal supporter roaming the lawns for several years. “Puppet” as he had been dubbed due to his mangled legs, appeared to be able to function only by an angel pulling his strings to enable him to walk the streets to forage for food and water. There are many more that go unnamed, starving for food and human attention. At the end of a meal, I would ask for a “doggy bag” to pack up my leftovers, not for a later snack, but for the street dogs. These dogs showed such gratitude to the smallest display of kindness. They licked my hand after their small meal. They walked by my side rubbing their ears against my leg. I would be reminded of their failing health by the coarse, cracked dry nose that scratched the palm of my hand in a gentle nudge

CityDog Magazine Winter 2018 Issue  

Smart, city-savvy and fun, CityDog Magazine brings the joys of life with our four-legged friends to dog lovers throughout the Pacific Northw...

CityDog Magazine Winter 2018 Issue  

Smart, city-savvy and fun, CityDog Magazine brings the joys of life with our four-legged friends to dog lovers throughout the Pacific Northw...

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