So yesterday was day 10 of our trip and next to our all-night paranoid delusional spiral the most emotionally draining for me at least.
It started with a stupid fight about nothing. And it was completely ridiculous in hindsight but we’ve been together been 24/7 since October 30th it was bound to happen and will probably happen again. But that’s one of the good things about being friends with someone for 20+ years you can say “fuck you you horrible bitch, pass the coffee and let’s go to the temple later today” and everything’s fine and not just passive aggressive fine but actually ok.
We walked around and window shopped most of the day. There are street vendors and cafes and shops everywhere you can see, they are on top of each other and around every corner. There are Tibetan monks and tourists (both Indian and non-Indian) all over along with Tibetans trying to make a living. The streets are insanely narrow despite being invaded by pedestrian shoppers, cows, bulls and stray dogs but of course they are also used by cars and motorcycles despite them barely fitting through.
Anyhow, I saw a stray dog get hit by a car and heard it’s screams of pain and whimpering while the driver ran over it again (with the back wheel) and drove off. Thankfully a bunch of people ran to help it but it was one of the more atrocious things I’ve ever heard/seen and put me in a funk ever since.
I know a few posts back I explained in great detail the sacrificing of sheep for Eid and that might seem incongruous with me being seriously upset over a stray dog but the difference is with intent. The sheep dying, while shitty, was killed quickly and humanely, nothing went to waste and it was part of an ancient religious tradition (and no matter what I believe or don’t the intent was a sacrifice to god).
The driver who ran over the dog twice ran over it once, slowed down, looked out his window at it and then drove over him again and then took off. I stood in shock for a moment and took a step to help and paused because I didn’t know what I could do–thankfully there were a bunch of local people much closer who helped out because I would have no idea if there was a local vet or animal place and I couldn’t have helped end its life myself but the scream and whimpers of pain haunted
me the rest of the day (and still does).
Every country I’ve been to that has a stray dog problem pretty much ignores them. When we were in Kashmir I kept seeing graffiti that read “Dog Census 2011” and Ryan told Kris that there was a big issue about their stray dog problem and that they were going to euthanize all the strays but in McLeod Ganj all of the people treat the strays with love, petting them, feeding them and overall not treating them like rodents. So it just got to me.
I know accidents happen and dogs run in the street all the time. And frankly I’ve seen much worse on this trip. Unbelievable poverty, hungry children, women relegated to less than second class citizens (and all of that seriously gets to me too) but all it took was one poor dog to push me over the edge to make it all come to a head.
The Dalai Lama lives here most of the year and recently I’ve been reading a lot of Buddhist literature including books by him because not only do I think there is a lot to learn from Buddhist philosophy both personally in our own internal struggles as individuals but as a world community relearning compassion for ourselves and others. We’re all too busy thinking about ourselves when as the Dalai Lama states: “We are visitors on this planet. We are here for 90-100 years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”