Stories

Volunteering in Bhutan with HSI

 

We were invited by our good friend Antoinette Bradley- the Bhutan manager for HSI, as volunteers to contribute to Humane Society International’s National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Programme in Bhutan.

 

A collaboration with The Royal Government of Bhutan and Humane Society International Asia.

Not surprisingly, we jumped at the chance to visit a country very high on our bucket list, and to be a part of something we feel very passionate about.
HSI volunteer

Giselle and our good friend Toni (Bhutan Manager for HSI)




The programme was launched in 2009, and to date close to 50,000 dogs country wide have been sterilized. It is an incredibly sustainable programme that we were very proud to be a part of.

We spent 26 amazing days in Bhutan to help create videos about responsible pet ownership, how to avoid dog bites, and what to do if you encounter a dog that you think may have rabies.


The videos will be viewed in communities, schools, temples, and on television (budget permitting) nation wide.

Together with Toni, we did some brainstorming on how to simply and effectively get the message across, and came up with some great ideas. 

The videos present examples of Do’s and Dont’s, and use human to human interaction to show the viewers what NOT to do when in a situation with a dog; and human to dog interaction to show what to DO when in a situation with a dog.

HSI volunteer

Even sweet one eyed street dogs want love




We wrote up a script that encompassed HSI’s values and safety concerns, came up with something that we were all happy and confident with, and ventured out to the streets of Thimphu to do some filming of dogs and citizens.

Following Thimphu, we traveled South to Gelephu to visit Toni’s team and collect more footage.

HSI volunteer

The team sterilize a dog caught in the morning



When we arrived, the team was busy catching dogs humanely, and bringing them to their facility for sterilizations, and vaccinations.

In each district the aim is to sterilize 70% or more of the dog population, and the long term programme being implemented ensures sustainability, by having each district work independently on an annual basis to maintain the population of free roaming dogs through CNVR (catch, neuter, vaccinate, release), as well as involving the community.



When it was time to film the human to human interaction of what not to do, we were fortunate enough to have our new friend Nedup Dorji be the star of the video.

HSI volunteer

Nedup and his beautiful daughter. Thank you so much for helping out


Once the filming was wrapped up, we moved on to voice over work in Dzonka, the national language of Bhutan, and also added english subtitles.

The purpose of these videos is to educate and empower the people of Bhutan to take responsibility and make a difference in their own community.

At the end of our time in Bhutan, we attended HSI’s project task force meeting. A meeting attended by Rahul Sehgal the director of Humane Society Asia, project managers, and concerned stakeholders; to address the progress of the programme, assess the impact, and discuss strategies in positive ways to move forward. 
HSI volunteer

Locals bring their dogs in to be sterilized/vaccinated


During the meeting we also nervously presented our video to everyone attending. The feedback was very positive, and everyone was very happy with the finished product.


 We feel proud of what we have accomplished and excited that our videos will be viewed all around Bhutan.


The next step will be to share the videos throughout Bhutan asking people to take responsibility for their pets and the street dogs within their community.
HSI volunteer

So many dogs living in the streets. This girl wanted me to take a photo of her with the dogs cause she “love dogs very much”



It was a great honor to create videos for The Royal Government of Bhutan and HSI Asia, that will contribute to the well being and welfare of the dogs of Bhutan, and the health and safety of the people. 


We hope to be a part of more kindness, and compassion by contributing again in the future.

HSI volunteer

Look at those beautiful eyes



Remember: 2 dogs can produce approximately 65,000 dogs in 7 years!!!

Spay and neuter your fur friends!

ADOPT DON’T SHOP!!

A very special thank you to the Royal government of Bhutan, Bhutan’s National Centre for Animal Health, and Humane Society International Asia, for allowing us to be a part of the first ever nation wide dog population mangement and rabies control programme. 

Many thanks to our friends Nedup and Keshab at New Focus Multimedia, in Thimphu, Bhutan for all of their help in creating the videos. We greatly appreciate it!
HSI volunteer

Nedup on the left and Keshab is beside Cody on the right. These two guys helped us out so much. Thank you!!



A million thanks to our good friend and super vet nurse, Antoinette Bradley. 

Thank you for your trust in us, and sharing your expertise! 

 

 

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Comments To This Entry.
  1. Franca July 17, 2014 Reply

    What an incredible experience guys, we wish we had the chance to be there with you to help out, thanks for sharing! One more thing we are totally with you, ADOPT NOT SHOP! 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody July 21, 2014 Reply

      Franca, it would have been awesome for you and Dale to come out and see Bhutan.
      Have you guys done anymore volunteering since ENP?

  2. Angie Away July 23, 2014 Reply

    Neat project! Nice you can make a difference as you travel!

  3. Ayngelina July 23, 2014 Reply

    Wow what an incredible experience and what a way to see Bhutan.

  4. Diana Edelman July 24, 2014 Reply

    I love that you two were involved in this, and love that this initiative exists. I wish more countries with an overpopulation of street animals would do the same as Bhutan.

    • Giselle and Cody July 29, 2014 Reply

      Hey D,

      We wish more countries were involved in projects like this as well! Slowly but surely it is happening.

  5. Mindy & Ligeia July 24, 2014 Reply

    What a fantastic opportunity and for such a great cause! I wonder if volunteering in Bhutan is in our cards…

  6. Juno July 25, 2014 Reply

    Making street more safe and giving the dogs comfort – awesome idea.

    • Giselle and Cody July 29, 2014 Reply

      hey Juno,
      yes it is a great idea, and it is for the health and safety of both dogs and humans.

  7. Camels & Chocolate July 27, 2014 Reply

    YOU GUYS. As a HUGE dog lover, this warms my heart that you did this, and I want to go and adopt every one of these precious faces. Kudos to you.

    • Giselle and Cody July 29, 2014 Reply

      Hey Kristin,
      thanks very much. We felt very lucky to be a part of this project.

  8. Jordyn August 16, 2014 Reply

    WOW!! What an incredible opportunity you two had. Bhutan is at the top of my list of places to travel and the experience you had would have been so much better. I have done guided tours before but always prefer to be in a country and to be free to do what I want. Would you two go back?

    • Giselle and Cody August 24, 2014 Reply

      Hey Jordyn, Bhutan was such an incredible country. The fact that we didn’t have a guide was a great way to see the country and have totally different experiences than most people. We were able to wander around Paro and Thimphu and interact with locals in a more genuine way. If we had a chance to head back we would do so in a second. It is one country that will always stand out.

  9. […] flies. Last year at this time we were in the Kingdom of Bhutan exploring the amazing country and volunteering with Humane Society Asia, and today we are home in Canada looking forward to spending Christmas with family and […]

  10. Elizabeth February 25, 2015 Reply

    You guys have a pretty amazing life and it’s so beautiful to see you giving back while travelling.

  11. Wendy April 29, 2015 Reply

    What an amazing opportunity to really delve deep into the culture, get to know local people and make a real difference. That opportunity is all the more precious in a place like Bhutan that is normally open to tourists only through very expensive tours. I hope to make it there one day, one way or another.

    • Giselle and Cody April 30, 2015 Reply

      Wendy, it was a very different experience compared to so many other people who head to Bhutan. We were able to roam the streets freely and interact with locals on a real level. Not some tour where the locals are dancing in order to please the tourist. It is one of the highlights of our travels. Hopefully you will make it there one day because it is as amazing as everyone says.

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