Known as one of the happiest places on Earth, this secluded Buddhist kingdom has its own measures for success. The country’s king declared back in the 1970s that “gross national happiness” was more important than gross domestic product, or GDP, thus showing the world that its citizens’ wellbeing is a priority, not its material growth. Bhutan’s minister of education told the media back in 2012: “GNH is an aspiration, a set of guiding principles through which we are navigating our path towards a sustainable and equitable society. We believe the world needs to do the same before it is too late.”
The small kingdom, which is cradled by the Himalayas and tucked in between India and China, has once again shown the world where its priorities are. The Buddhist state celebrated its king’s birthday when its prime minister Lotay Tshering called upon the nation with an unusual (at least for us) request.
As the kingdom of Bhutan celebrated its king’s birthday, the country’s PM asked the people for a gift
Image credits: PMOBhutan
Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck turned 40 late in February this year. As a way of saying “thank you” to one’s country and king, the kingdom’s prime minister has asked citizens to “plant a tree and care for it, adopt a stray dog, or commit to managing waste in your neighborhood.” He then added that “personal commitment such as this, he said, would be the best gift for His Majesty.”
He asked citizens to “plant a tree, adopt a stray dog, or commit to manage waste in the neighborhood”
Image credits: PMOBhutan
More than two thousand people have liked the prime minister’s Facebook post, many of whom were congratulating the king on his birthday. Others have noted the PM’s gift “request” and found it amazing. “I do all of these things daily! Four dogs, many trees, and always cleaning up beaches,” one woman comments.
It’s not the country’s first initiative to care for the stray dogs roaming the streets
Image credits: David Travin (not the actual photo)
For a long time, Bhutan was known not only for its happiness index, but for its huge stray dog population as well. To combat this, back in 2009, the country carried out a nationwide program to spay and neuter the four-legged friends with the help of Humane Society International. The volunteers used the Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release method, with dogs being released the same day in the same location they were found in. As of 2016, more than 71,000 dogs were spayed or neutered and given the rabies vaccine.