Last week the KAT center team put on a “rabies clinic”, during which time we vaccinated two hundred dogs in two days. We loaded into (and onto) the KAT-mobile and drove around Budanilkantha and surrounding areas vaccinating free roaming dogs and dogs with “owners”. In some case, the term “owners” in the western sense of the word is completely appropriate, although far more commonly, dogs here are fed by a community and have a local territory but no one human best friend with whom they sleep each night, play fetch and slyly receive food from the dinner table.
The clinic was a huge success in my mind. Numerous locals joined in the fun, children constantly ran up with their puppies, and we always tried to get locals to hold the animals for vaccines when applicable. To the best of our ability we worked to educate the locals although in many cases I left this part to the Nepalese workers, as it is difficult to mime the benefits of rabies vaccinations and sterilization. The day was exciting, fun and it felt like we were making a real difference, for both people and animals alike. People here are often taught to fear the street dogs due to rabies. I have to say this is a pretty valid teaching. However, when locals see dogs with ear notches and red collars they know they have received treatment from the KAT center and therefore have been vaccinated. These dogs are then more likely to receive food and warmth from their community.
P.S. pictures of the clinic are up on Facebook