Yeah, I was signing that old Who song to myself when I met a dog. His name was Tommy, which I thought was a strange name for anyone or thing living in Nepal. I wondered if his owner, one of the care takers at our Clinic site (a foreign-owned hotel), had some UK experience to give him such a name.
I had seen Tommy in a cage the previous day, today the caretaker spoke of how Tommy wasn’t barking, because a mountain lion had attacked him the previous night. After my encouragement, the owner tied Tommy’s leash on a post. We were on the grass lawn next to our treatment building, and the owner started poking Tommy’s ribs. Tommy was yelping, and bearing its teeth at the owner in great pain. I thought he was seriously about to bite the owner. The owner just didn’t care about what looked like Tommy’s broken ribs, as well as an open wound. “Stop that,” I said, quite forcefully.
This dog was really in quite a state of shock, and I pointed this out to some of the trainees that had gathered. We had introduced new tools to them, one of which was good for shock. Sorry Tommy, I wasn’t able to give you more than 10 minutes of treatment, since we only had an hour and a half to eat lunch.
I was miffed at the owner’s attitude towards Tommy, and remember having remnants of that feeling going into dinner time. I think it was Laura who said to me that dogs are at the dregs of the social ladder in Nepal. I realized that my desire to work on Tommy must have been a bit of a surprise to some of my new Nepalese friends. In my eyes, I was excited to share my fun Boston animal patient experiences with my new Nepalese friends. In their eyes, it probably wasn’t worth the time to work on Tommy.
Catherine had to also struggle with the Nepalese perspectives towards animals. She felt Aamaa’s water buffalo, which Catherine has named Lu Lu, had an inhumanely short rope giving him little amount of space in his shed. She perseverated about it much as I probably did about Tommy. Lissa had to remind her that we are in a different culture. With some exasperation she finally exclaimed, “You are projecting your beliefs onto this situation.” Let go was the gist of her message.
I gotta say, Lu Lu really loves Aamaa. At one point while doing a dress rehearsal for our community presentation, Lu Lu started going crazy. “Moooo!” she screeched for a minute or two. “Moooo!” I had to stop my presentation she got so loud. Suddenly Aamaa appeared with a big basket on her back filled with freshly cut hay. Lu Lu had seen her approaching long before we did and was quite ecstatic that dinner was arriving. He also glowed when Aamaa did her morning and evening milking. I have tried to approach Lu Lu, but it beats me how to interact with her. She shaked her horns like my hands were a pesky fly.