Our AMAZING volunteers! From left to right, Dr Wendi, Monica, Dr Sarah, Helen, Dr Alicia, and Trish, posing in front of Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh
Geordie is a dear friend we've known for 4 years, and was directly the impetus for this Treat, Spay, Love journey after an eye wound last summer. He doesn't always venture this close to Thiksey Monastery, but when he does, he poses for his LIFE.
A statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, at Thiksey.
Stakna monastery as seen from Thiksey
Diana, aka Dirty Diana or Dirty D, was also sterilized at Nang and returned to Thiksey. She was in heat when we left last summer and it pained us to not be able to help her then.
Hugh! (Send good thoughts to Hugh as he apparently has a bad veneral tumour that is causing big problems; he is currently at the Dr in Leh)
Young novices during morning puja
The Mahasiddha Kukkuripa, supreme dog lover, as painted at Stakna Monastery. Read more at https://tricycle.org/magazine/kukkuripa-dog-lover/ :: In Kapilavastu there lived a Brahmin named Kukkuripa. Puzzling over the problems of existence, he came to place his trust in the Tantra, and in time chose the path of renunciation. He began his itinerant career by begin his way slowly toward the caves of Lumbini.
One day, on the road to the next town, he heard a soft whining in the underbrush. When he investigated, he found a young dog so starved he could no longer stand. Moved to pity, he picked her up and carried her with him on his long journey, sharing the contents of his begging bowl, and watching with delight as she began to grow strong and healthy.
By the time they arrived in Lumbini, Kukkuripa had become so accustomed to her affectionate, good-natured company that he could not imagine living without her. And so he searched for an empty cave large enough for them both. Every day, when he went out begging, she would stand guard, waiting patiently for his return.
So deeply involved was Kukkuripa in the continuous recitation of his mantra, that twelve years pass as quickly as one. Almost without realizing it, the yogin attained the magical powers of prescience and divine insight. But the gods of the Thirty-three Sensual Heavens had taken notice. In fact, they were so impressed that they invited him to celebrate his achievements by visiting their paradise. Flattered, and amazed by their attentions, he accepted the invitation and embarked upon a ceaseless round of self-indulgent feasting and pleasure. On earth, his faithful dog waited patiently for her master to return. Although she had to root around for whatever she could find to eat, she never strayed far from the cave.
And, in truth, she was not forgotten. Despite his luxurious existence, Kukkuripa sorely missed his loving companion. Again and again he told the gods that he needed to return to the cave to care for her.
But his heavenly hosts urged him to stay, saying: “How can you even think about returning to a dog in a dark cave when you are enjoying our good favor and every luxury and comfort we can offer? Don’t be so foolish—remain with us here.” Time and time again, Kukkuripa allowed himself to be persuaded.
But one day when he looked down from the Thirty-three Heavens, he realized that his loyal dog was pining for him—her eyes were sad, her tail drooped, and she was so thin he could see her ribs. Kukkuripa’s heart ached for her. Then and there he descended from paradise to rejoin her in the cave.
The dog leaped and pranced with joy when she caught sight of her beloved master. But no sooner did he sit down and begin to scratch her favorite spot, just behind the ears, than she vanished from sight! There before him, wreathed in a cloud of glory, stood a radiantly beautiful dakini.
“Well done!” she cried. “Well done! You have proved your worth by overcoming temptation. Now that you have returned, supreme power is yours. You have learned that the mundane power of the gods is delusory, for they still retain the notion of self. Theirs is the realm of fallible pleasure. But now your dakini can grant you supreme realization—immaculate pleasure without end.”
The she taught him how to achieve the symbolic union of skillful means and perfect insight. As an irreversible, infallible vision of immutability arose in his mindstream, he did indeed attain the state of supreme realization.
Renowned as Guru Kukkuripa, the Dog Lover, he returned to Kapilavastu, where he lived a long life of selfless service. And in due time, he ascended to the Paradise of the Dakinis with a vast entourage of disciples.
Hugh passes by a "mani wall" at the base of Thiksey monastery (a wall that is topped with many rocks inscribed with the mantra of compassion Om Mani Padme Hum).
Nerbles photobombs his probable-Papa, Singay
<3 It was hard to bring the dogs to live at the rescue center, but not only was it Rinpoche's request, but now at least they will be guaranteed food throughout the winter.
A row of pups at Thiksey
Nerbles is a ham
Building bridges through cookies
Downtown Leh Bazaar
Geordie is a staple at Chamba Hotel. He's no dummy, he knows where the food is.
The interior of Thiksey's photang teaching palace
Making friends with milk
Young novice monk Norbu steps up to the plate and blows the horns pre-morning prayers
The scene from the roof of Thiksey monastery looking south
Conchs being blown before morning prayers at Thiksey
Sponsoring morning tea at Thiksey's puja
The Prayer Wheel meeting point
Geordie accompanies us during our walk to lunch at Cafe Cloud (until I had to walk him back home, haha...)
The area ooutside Stanzin's house is a happening place for Thiksey pups
The weather got weird in late May!
We were happy for the snow in the mountains, as Thiksey has had a few dry summers as of late.
Helen and Jamyang, post-tea
A beautiful statue of Avolokitsvara (Chenrezig), the Bodhisattva of Compassion, inside Dhukang Karmo at Thiksey. Compassion was obviously a HUGE topic on this trip!
View from Thiksey Monastery toward the south
Singay is the master of holding hands.
Our Portland, OR vets, Wendi & Alicia <3
The Indus River by Stakna
Heroic pose for a little guy
Rigzin and Dr. Namgyal greet our crew for a meeting at the Nang facility.
Rigzin shows us this resilient one-legged lady at Nang
Helen & the donkeys at Nang
Dr. Sarah, Dr. Iqbal, and Dr. Namgyal
Some of the dogs of Nang
Some dogs at the rescue facility at Nang
The crew (minus BJ, the photographer) at the Indua River at Stakna
Cozying up on a windy night
Singay & Trish
Nerbles, the little guy who captured my heart.
Helen and Trish inspect the local Ladakhi breed of cows at a breeding center in Leh
Monica the Puppy Whisperer
Getting the dogs used to the cage we will use the next day to transport them to Nang
The pre-op waiting room at Nang for our Thiksey puppies
Trishg, Dr Sarah, and Dr Alicia pre-op
Dr Sarah on shaving duty (with BJ's own hair clippers, haha...)
Monica addresses some pre-surgery jitters with TLC.
Dr. Alicia drops in on Nurse Helen's post-op recovery room
Our makeshift recovery room <3
Randi poses gracefully upon her return to Thiksey.
Loading some of the bigger the dogs on the morning of the surgery
Geordie escaped surgery THIS time! He's a true escape artist and a real goober! <3
Team meeting at Live to Rescue's Nang facility <3
Dr Alicia provides Dr Wendi with a bit of light.
All hands on deck.
Dr Alicia <3
Taking careful notes of the procedures and meditacations
Sterilization surgery at Nang
Monica and Trish handle the Bravecto feeding the the young ones, to take care of skin parasites for 3 months.
A cozy redovery puddle
Trish the Transporter
Dr Wendi displaying her techniques
Monica goes right to the source in the Thiksey puppy holding pen
A well-deserved and delicious lunch break at Nang!
Dr Wendi <3
Dr Wendi mid-spay
The Ladakhi vet tech team was second-to-none! <3
Not taking any chances with this feisty lady (Morgan)
Dr Wendi showing Ladakhi vets some of her techniques at their request. She is am amazingly talented shelter vet surgeon!
Nerbles and his (half?) siblings
Our team (minus BJ and Lobsang, the photographers) during our surgery day at Nang
Monica going all in
Releasing the sterilized adult females back at Thiksey--this is Diana!
The Ladakhi crew at Nang was invaluable! <3
Our friend Stanzin at Stakmo monastery
Our friend Stanzin at Stakmo
A view of Thiksey from the back side
Sherub and Norbu singing a song about Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism
Scoping out family wedding videos at our friend's house! Ladakhi weddings are quite an event!
Visiting Stakmo monastery and taking a spin around the prayer wheel
Stanzin explaining some images at Stakmo to us
Helen meets and greets Singay and Randi
Helen making the rounds with Singay and Randi
BJ & Singay
A view from our friend's backyard
We had the privilege to see our friend's family photos, such a treasure!
Monica giving the puppies medication at Nang
This is Norbu, the lucky pup who flew to Canada! His two back legs were fractured, but we know he'll recover quickly with Monica's love!
Alicia models three NEW puppies (who will be sterilized later this summer) Cassie, Charlotte, and Theodosia, left to right
Zora Blue is an excellent, protective, loving mama (shown her woth Theodosia and Charlotte)
The courtyard of Hemis monastery
A view from Thiksey facing west toward Shey
Monica & the pups of Nang
Monica in a sea of puppies
We went back to the nang facility to distribute medication for parasites
Getting a better view at Nang
CATS dance troupe <3
Monica dancing with the troupe
A wonderful scene from our last night, as viewed from the roof--Randi (white and black with all black head) making new friends!
BJ petting crazy Sandeeples (promise he's not choking her, haha...this was after she ran circles around us for about ten minutes and was out of breath!)
Dr Alicia & Morton, a local dog who shows up at Thiksey when there are teachings
Our crew and our dear friend Chamba
Our talented, compassionate, skilled, wonderful team of vets!
Hugh gets a little familiar
a wonderful photo of Geordie by Alicia!
Apparently I was teaching gang symbols to Randi
Monica and Norbu upon arrival in Delhi--thanks, Air India crew! <3
Diana & Li'l Abner (Abbie) enjoying some cookies post-milk (you can see the milk on Abbie's face!)
Norbu and Monica on their way to the Leh airport in Ladakh!
Norbu says a final farewell to Ladakh!
Quality time with Singay and Colin
Singay challenges a dog on the wall; the other dog hopped off shortly therafter
THESE goobers! Theodosia (with a dusty nose from hiding a cookie), and Cassie
Zora Blue & her pups playing (Cassie, Theodosia, and Charlotte)
Colin & BJ (he was a little scared by the music--Colin, not BJ)
Colin and his girlfriend Trish
For a supermodel, Geordie sure was dificult to pose with.