… a lot of ways to describe ‘Mans best friend’.
It’s a funny question to ask, but I’ve often asked people, ‘why do we love dogs?’. I was forwarded Jon Katz’s ‘Why we love dogs‘, some time back and one line really struck me – “In America, we love our dogs. A lot. So much that we rarely wonder why (we love dogs) anymore”. I think this is true to a large extent in Bhutan too. There are very few people I know who have this inbuilt fear or loathing of dogs. People here are quite tolerable to stray dogs snugly sleeping outside their homes or shops (or even inside), they even pat them occasionally or feed them.
There is another way we know that dogs are well-loved around these parts – our choice of books.
John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.
Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound streamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good—Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, “Don’t hesitate to use these.”
And yet Marley’s heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Marley shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy, and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was there when babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Marley shut down a public beach and managed to land a role in a feature-length movie, always winning hearts as he made a mess of things. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.
Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.
The stray with an ugly big head, a rickety twisted body and a deep urge to travel and see the world is the central character in “Dawa: The Story of a Stray Dog in Bhutan” the first work of fiction by Bhutan’s best known women writer, Kunzang Choden.Written in first person narrative with the background set in present day Bhutan, the 129-page novel traces Dawa Koto’s adventures and experiences as he travels from Paro to Bumthang and his rise from ignominious stray into a leader in the dog world.
Dawa, who loses his mother and his siblings in tragic circumstances as a young and helpless pup, wins over other stronger and ferocious dogs in Paro and Thimphu. His rise as the legendary “Leader of the Howling” is attributed to his beautiful voice and his uncanny gift to learn different languages.
Dawa has the gift to understand different human languages as he was an excellent translator in his previous life as a human being.
It is the insatiable urge to travel that brings Dawa to Thimphu, his becoming the leader of the howling pack, and the eventual trip to Bumthang in search of a cure after he is infected with mange.
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.
When Jon Katz hears about Izzy, a 3-year-old Border collie kept alone in a field on an abandoned farm, his heart speaks louder than his head and he agrees to take him in. Once again Jon finds himself challenged by a dog. Having found his human, Izzy wants to go with Jon wherever he may be, and jumps fences and chews through locks to do so.