Sunday, June 20, 2010

Neighborhood Street Dogs: Tan, Cutie, Scruffy & Scardy

Napping in the Street, Speed bumps make good pillows

Coming from a place where we have no stray dogs and never have dogs loose on the street, Nepal is a bit of a throwback to what America might have been like before my time, before leash laws, and dog pounds. Having never been around street dogs really except while traveling in other countries I had always kind of assumed that they were vagabonds moving from one area to the next looking for a good meal, a place to nap out of the sun, and then moving on. This is not the case. The dogs live in a small fixed area. Sure there are no invisible fences or leashes, but most street dogs stay within 100 meters of the shop that throws them leftovers and bits of meat. Most often these are butcher shops, and each butcher shop seems to support a couple of dogs. The one around the corner from us supports four, which is quite high. I think some of the nearby shops contribute, but I'm not sure. Sometimes there are only three, as the dog we call Scardy was missing for quite some time, but recently he's shown back up. 

The life of a street dog is a mix of the good and the bad. People here don't have affection for dogs like we do back in the States for the most part, but people usually treat them ok. When Tan cut his leg somehow someone took the time to clean the wound and wrap a bandage over the wound for him. Mange, flees, sores, sexually transmitted diseases and other untreated afflictions seem to plague many of the street dogs found throughout Kathmandu. It's not all bad though, people throw them the undesirable parts of animals, they get to nap in the road and at night they get to bark at the moon, or whatever it is they are always barking at. 


This is Tan. He seems to be the favorite of the people at the butcher shop. He's the only one I ever see napping actually under the table of the shop next door, the other three I never see beyond the front thresh hold of the building. Tan however isn't a huge fan of me, and when I stop to look at him or take his picture he's always a little uneasy and even gave a bit of a growl. Of all the dogs tan seems the healthiest, and even though he had a good sized cut recently on his front leg it seems to have healed up ok. 


Cutie is my favorite of the dogs. He seems to have a gentler disposition, though he is as cautious as most street dogs around people, and isn't real sure of me if I stop and try to get his attention. Recently poor Cutie has developed a balding spot on his rear back leg area, and he seems to have a case of fleas. Poor guy. Of the four dogs Cutie appears to be the youngest, and is happy to lead the barking for his team if another dog comes into their area.


Poor old scufster. This older dog has seen better days, but old Scruffy seems to do ok for himself. In the picture above he had been snoozing away until he awoke becoming aware that some weird guy with a camera was staring at him. I think the words "please don't kick me" were going through his head. No worries Scruff, was just looking for a picture. Kim thinks ol' Scruff is the cutest. I noticed the other day that he has a tumor or  some growth on the bottom of his tummy, poor ol Scruff.

Scardy has been AWOL for the better part of the last month, today though he was just napping in the street with the others. Once in a while I had seen him up the road. I had become convinced that one night the other three had taken him aside and said, "Look Scardy...your a good dog, but you know there's four of us here and only one butcher shop...and we can't ask ol Scruffy to go, and Tan lives with the owners, and well Cutie he does the barkin for if you know...if you wouldn't mind movin on." Well apparently he came back at least for a visit. Scardy gets his name because he's just a little more timid then the others, and gets a little nervous if you look at him too long. 

1 comment:

  1. I know these dogs look quite dead in the photos, but they are, in fact, alive.


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