Today is Dog Worship Day, Kukur Puja, in Nepal’s Tihar festival, a day when you will see all dogs, domesticated and strays, garlanded and fed treats.The origin of Kukur Puja is based on the Hindu belief in Yama, the god of death, who had two dogs as guards. Respecting and being kind to dogs on this day is meant to appease Yama and ensure one can pass the dogs en route to “heaven” when we die. All dogs are included as I’ve mentioned, whether stray or domesticated, personal or institutional such as police dogs, military dogs and dogs trained in search and rescue. In recent years this special day has had an impact in Nepal on the treatment of all animals generally and today messages about animal welfare will be in newspapers, tv and radio in Nepal.
I have been in Kathmandu several times during Tihar staying at my brother-in-law’s house where for many years they had a small dog called Gini. So naturally Gini was fêted and treated across this day too.
This morning for “a bit of fun” we visited one of our neighbours who have a lovely small dog, very friendly but excitable. Ruby gave us our usual excitement and we treated her to a doggie bone treat and a ribbon too.
On a final note on this day I am often reminded of my feeble attempts to learn and speak Nepali. I did learn enough to help me in my mountaineering forays into the Himalayas where “accommodation” was either in tents or village lodges. It was in lodges that my fluency was severely tested, especially when ordering food. Kukur and Kukra are two very similar words, except one means chicken the other means dog! Much laughter as I often ordered dog curry!