Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail

-Kinky Friendman

At one point when we were climbing up, three guys and one dog intercepted us. We saw a small fright in their faces. When asked why they said they had lost their way and that the dog was leading them back to the base. Yes, that very dog. “Agar is home base Tak pahunchadiya tho hum isko bharpet kilayenge” – “If he leads us to the base, we will give him a hearty meal.” exclaimed one among the trio as he shrugged off a branch that had fallen on his shoulder and panted forward. I don’t know whether the dog was given the meal it deserved, but it caught my eye; a lot of eyes. We knew that these lovely animals would hold a special place in our hearts.

This is a post of appreciation and admiration for these dogs.

Some big, some small, all of the furry, all of them adorable. My cousin is a dog lover, took as many pictures with dogs as he did in the scenic spots of the trek. The first dog we came across was a dog named Bhuttu. The dark texture on the furry front and driven by an intimidating look, he was sure to induce fear into anyone who even dared to come close to him. However, looks can be very deceiving. He was as affable as a puppy. While we munched away on our dinner, he devoured his biscuits. No sooner we gave him a couple, 2 more joined in. Needless to say that they were also friendly, but being the first to be encountered by us in the Himalayas, Bhuttu got unconditional love. Other dogs also got, but Bhuttu? He got an extra percent. That extra percent got him more biscuits and food. Good guy huh?

Once we told Bhuttu that we would be right back from the trek, we found, in a small hut, more of the good guys while on the ascent. Pictures here, pictures there, the dogs occasionally staring at us sarcastically giving lessons on how to look nice in front of the camera. Of course, they know. They ain’t posers, they are meant for photoshoots.

For a while, the time in between the ascent from first base camp to the second base camp, we didn’t spot a single dog. In the second base camp, there were more dogs than humans. A good campsite indeed. Rarely did we hear a bark though. The eeriness of the mountains along with the sounds made by the paws of the dogs coalesced into one ghastly affair in the night.

In the second base camp, (sleeping time) for about 4 hours there was a hush, we sleeping inside and our furry friends sleeping outside. The battlefield was silent. The armies were getting ready. The trekker’s army set out to conquer the peak at 3:30. The expression from one of the dogs at the time suggested that he had already grown tired of seeing our faces and he would rather be with his own kind and fair play to him, he managed to not get immersed in boredom. Around 5-6 dogs and 6 of us climbed. When we stopped, they stopped. When tiredness started to command us, the dogs would render the command useless.

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When we picked up our pace, naturally they were swifter. The fun part was when they actually executed our instructions. Not bad at all given the relationship was barely 6 hours old.

If there were 5-6 dogs while scaling the summit, there were at least a dozen on the peak. People were admiring the scenery, but unwilling to leave the summit without them having a picture with the dogs as well as the scenery. Interestingly enough, there was a dog who was hated of sorts by the guides and he did get a harsh treatment as compared to the rest. The reason you ask? I know not. Anyway, we slid down in certain spots and the dogs ran down, waiting for us. Once at the second base camp, it was resting time. Our furry brethren, us all getting some much-needed recovery.

We managed to get a puppy in the frame in the second base camp before coming down to Sankri. We were on the lookout for the shortest route when one the guides came up to us and said “yeh aapke swath aayega, route isko patha hai” – “He will come with you, he knows the way.” Amazed and spellbound, we packed our bags and gave time for one of our 4 legged brothers to pack his stuff(not like he had any). The descent was smooth but we did encounter a small break up along the way. The dog that came with us scouted some ladies walking about 900 meters in front of us and he ran, not giving a second’s notice about the guys who cared for him for a good hour. Very smooth yes?

If the mountains give us life lessons, the dogs teach us day to day lessons.

Loyalty doesn’t come for free in today’s world. Loyalty is earned. These beautiful gifts teach one to be loyal to his objective and be satisfied with what one has set. Everyone is possessed by a lack of commitment at some point of time. These little-big guys teach us to throw that attitude away and move on with absolute commitment for true happiness is felt only when the mission is accomplished.

Kedharkanta – One small leap for us, a giant leap in my life.


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