“My dog Zeus needed to be taken to the veterinarian a few months back because he got sick. It was on the way to the vet that I saw stray dogs who were starving and sick. It was during the peak of COVID so I decided to use the money and time I had to do something that would help these animals. That is how I initiated the “Zeus for Stray and Homeless Programme”, named after my dog. We were also blessed by the support of His Majesty the King. This brought together our current team of six. Four of them work in the kitchen. It’s been almost 180 days since the start of the programme. We have fed over 40,000 stray dogs till now.

We try to provide medicines and carry out rescue programmes for those in distress and drop them off at Jangsa Animal Shelter. However, we are mainly focused on the feeding of stray dogs, whose population is almost 17,000 in Thimphu, 90% of whom are left without food according to the survey we carried out. Dogs getting violent and aggressive could be because they are underfed and anxious. We try to provide nutritious food to ensure they remain healthy. We have fixed areas for feeding them which is how the dogs have adopted to the routine. Now dogs at some places know the time we usually come and we see them waiting at their usual locations. We also bring puppies who don’t have the care of their mothers and put them up for adoption.

The funding for the programme is mainly from within the team. Nowadays, people who are interested to help offer financial aids as well. Even though funding is limited, the positive feedback and the turn up for adoption is good enough to keep us doing what we do; not just for the approval from society but for the general well being of the animals as well. We are hopeful that registering as a Civil Society Organisation will help us receive proper funds and move forward.

I have always been an animal lover. I believe we all have similar souls capable of the same emotions. Previously, I could not do much for the animals because my job as a tour operator gives me limited time to do anything else. In a way the pandemic has allowed me to give 100% focus on this programme which otherwise would not have been easy.

From the public I would appreciate all kinds of help, provision of medical supply and even help in the form of labour. Financial help is definitely the most beneficial as it can bring other things easily. We are currently constructing a shelter at Simtokha for puppies who have little chances of surviving on their own. We would be grateful if people could come forward to contribute in this construction so that the animals could benefit from it.”

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