Chhimi Dema 

It has been 29 days since Yeshey Choden passed away.

The 98-year-old was from Nambur Goenpa in Chumey, Bumthang who settled in Changzamtog, Thimphu.

She is remembered for her compassion and love for all animals.

Every life on the earth mattered for Angay Yeshey. She compassionately cared for animals all her life. She wept for dying animals, prayed for them, and took it upon herself to treat sick animals.

In her 70’s, she raised about 15 dogs and a few cats. She took under her care bulls and yaks taken for slaughter.

Her compassion was a story that inspired many.

During the 10th Moenlam Chenmo in Samtse last year, His Holiness Je Khenpo shared about Angay Yeshey’s compassion to the devotees present.

His Holiness spoke about her immense compassion, treating animals with tenderness and love. “No aggressive dogs would harm Angay, and she never feared them. Aggressive dogs would come near her, sniff around, and leave. This was because of her compassion bringing tranquillity to the animals around her.”

In her younger days, she worked as a businesswoman traveling to Nepal for trade. She had keen interest in Bhutanese textile and weaving.

Angay Yeshey had an eye for designing kiras, table runners, and place mats. She had a shop to sell her work and earnings from it were donated to monasteries and monks.

She was also an avid gardener tending her plants and fruits when she wasn’t taking care of animals.

Her three sons saw their mother as a person who had unconditional love for animals, who deeply felt their suffering and was determined to ease their pain.

Angay Yeshey lived with compassion, humility, and kindness from her younger days until the end of her time.

She was a staunch supporter of animal welfare organisations such as Jangsa Animal Saving Trust, and Royal Society for Protection and Care of Animals (RSPCA).

Angay Yeshey was part of RSPCA since its inception in 1999. She used to help catch dogs for sterilisation, feed them, and took care of them post-surgery.

When RSPCA was overwhelmed with intake from the shutdown of the dog pound in Memelakha, Angay Yeshey took more than 20 puppies to raise them at her house. She sponsored and built the animal kitchen at RSPCA.

Tashi Payden Tshering, executive director at RSPCA, said that when Angay Yeshey became frail, she used to send her family members to check on the welfare of the animals at the shelter.

She said that Angay Yeshey was passionate about animal welfare and always checked on the welfare of the people working at the shelter.

“Angay Yeshey was a woman well advanced in thinking for her time. [She was] a compassionate, warm-hearted woman who genuinely cared for the downtrodden. The RSPCA family misses her. She has left a big gap in the hearts of all of us.”