In the kingdom of Bhutan, in South Asia, citizens have been urged to adopt a dog or plant a tree as acts of kindness to celebrate the birthday of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
A post by the Prime Minister’s Office reads, “At an individual level, Prime Minister said one can choose to plant a tree and care for it, adopt a stray dog or commit to manage waste in your neighborhood.
“Personal commitment such as this, he said, would be the best gift for His Majesty.”
The appeal for “gifts of kindness” was made on Facebook by Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, and has been welcomed by animal charity Humane Society International which has a been working for humane control of street dogs and their welfare since 2009 – when it launched a nationwide spay and neuter program in Bhutan in partnership with the government.
By helping to catch, neuter, vaccinate and release nearly 100,000 of Bhutan’s street dogs over the last ten years, HSI helped “establish a long-term dog management program that includes providing veterinary care, community spay/neuter clinics and promoting responsible pet ownership”.
Kelly O’Meara of Humane Society International, said, “Bhutan’s King is famous for declaring that national happiness is more significant than Gross Domestic Product, so acts of kindness like adopting a street dog are a perfect way to celebrate his birthday.
“After almost 10 years of HSI’s dog sterilisation project in Bhutan, we can see that the dogs are healthier and people are happier, and we have empowered local veterinarians by sharing our skills and expertise so that our work can continue long into the future.”
Born 21 February 1980, King Jigme Khesar – who ascended the throne on 6 November 2008 after his father abdicated – is the second-youngest reigning monarch in the world.
Image by HSI