Bhutan has lots of dogs in the country. Some are pets but most seem to be stray. Each lodge I work with has a few "lodge dogs" that they take care of but strays always seem to try to work their way in as well. In Thimphu there was a stray who was barking too much so the staff brought him somewhere far away and dropped him off, leaving him to find new quarters. Somehow, me made it back.
At the Paro lodge, where I am housed mostly, there was a very cute new girl stray that had been hanging around recently. She was adorable, and liked to follow me around and I really wanted to take care of it. But sadly, as I move around a lot for work and also will be leaving next month, it wouldn't make any logical sense. Still, I liked the dog a lot and would feed it extras of my food.
One night I brought my dinner back to my room to eat in privacy. I had a plate of Indian food and also a little basket with raita and flatbread. I put the basket down a top of higher ledge near my door, opened the door and walked inside to put the plate down. When I went back outside to grab the basket, I also had a little meat for the dog. The dog was gone. He had followed me back but then disappeared. Was he scared of me? I couldn't find him anywhere, and then I noticed my bread basket was gone. She had somehow gotten up to the ledge, grabbed the basket and then ran away. I was surprised and upset. Upset because I really wanted that yoghurt with my food and also I needed to bring that basket back tomorrow and now couldn't.
Luckily in the morning I found the basket and ramekin a few houses away with a mess of white raita everywhere around it. I saw her later and was going to be upset, but she was too cute to be mad at. (see the first picture to understand why.) However, it wasn't just me she was stealing from. Sometimes when guests would eat outside the dog would act all cute and beg for food. Then when the guests weren't too careful, she'd steal a muffin or croissant from the table. A smart but sneaky dog, and something you can't really have around a 5 star hotel. So there was talk of getting rid of this stray.
I came back to my room the other afternoon and off to the side was a crate with food in it and a door open by wire. Clearly a trap of some sort for this stray. The dog had followed me back to my room, as usual, and then when it got the scent of food in the air she left me and headed for the box. She was just sniffing all around it at first, not going in as it was like she knew what was up. But then she went in and started to eat the food. The cage had to have the wire pulled to drop the door, so I pulled it. I felt bad and conflicted. I knew that the dog had to leave, but I really loved playing with it and looking into her cute cute eyes. But, it had to be done. And if not me, the security guy would have been over in a few seconds to do the same. In fact, when he got there he kept thanking me for doing it. Not that it made it any easier for me.
I hope this stray makes it back ok, but I'm not sure she will. I was told they'll bring it to a farm to play with other dogs and be taken care of and better fed. Hmmmm... does Bhutan have the same sort of fairytale story to tell the kids about dogs dying as we do in the western world?