Chhimi Dema  

Jigme is friendly. And smart.

Wagging his tail and sniffing around, he likes his new home, Nakulu Dog Shelter in Thimphu.

He’s got around 350 friends at the shelter.

The four-acre shelter was established in January this year and is managed by Animal Lover Group.

The shelter was constructed by the Department of Livestock and handed over to the group after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on January 16.

According to the MoU, the department would provide technical support such as sterilisation, treatment, and micro-chipping.

The shelter bears the cost of vaccination and feeding.

At the forefront of the group is Zeus, a dog-feeding organisation.

Zeus spends Nu 34,920 in a week to run the shelter; the organisation spent Nu 700,000 on building an office, kitchen, caretakers’ house, and related infrastructural development.

“We are in the process of procuring official documents to raise funds… It has been extremely difficult for us to afford the ration and other miscellaneous expenditures. We would be pleased to receive support,” the team wrote on its Facebook page of Zeus.

A member of the Animal Lover Group, Erzang Gurung, said that the group requires people’s support to ensure that the dogs have enough food and good shelter at Nakulu.

She said: “An individual’s support by donating old clothes or giving financial support would make a huge difference in making a good living condition for the dogs at the shelter.”

The shelter has five enclosures, including an isolation room to treat sick dogs. The dogs are micro-chipped under the care of Nakulu Shelter.

The team leader of Animal Lover Group, Thinley Norbu, said that the group wants to provide a better shelter for the dogs. “Soon, we would like to expand the place so that the dogs can move around freely. We seek people’s support to make a difference at the shelter.”

The group hopes to expand the current shelter to a large-enough open space and make it into a dog sanctuary.

Thinley Norbu said that the team is striving to give a better life to the dogs and make the community safe and clean. “Coming forward to manage the shelter is a way of giving back to the nation.”

The group has a rescue team to bring the aggressive dogs to the shelter.

“People can call us if they have aggressive dogs in their neighbourhoods,” Erzang said.

The team can be reached through Zeus’ Facebook page.

The lack of space and funding to run the shelter remains a challenge for the group today.