Camilla holds paw-wow for Nepal dogs

November 15th, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Camilla ParkerKathmandu, Nov 15 (IANS) When the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles walked her dog in Green Park in London last week, it was no ordinary paw-wow. The future queen of England’s stroll helped give a pat on the back of Nepal’s stray dogs.Camilla was roped in by Kathmandu Arts Centre, a project supported by the British Council, to raise funds for establishing a world-class arts centre in Nepal as well as the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre, a five-year-old charitable animal welfare organisation founded by British painter Jan Salter.

Forty-nine dogs took part in the sponsored dog walk from London’s Royal Overseas League into Green Park and the upmarket St James Park. Even in a city of dog lovers, the walk was an unusual sight with the canines wearing colourful red and yellow garlands and sporting red tikas on their heads.

Last Saturday’s walk was inspired by Nepal’s Tihar, the five-day festival during which the crow, cow and dog are worshipped. The third day of the festival - Kukur Tihar - sees dogs worshipped with the garland and vermilion dot.

Rupert was held as the top dog who helped raise most funds for his comrades in Kathmandu. However, it was not known immediately whether he belonged to the royal household.

After presenting some of the participating dogs with decorated collars, the duchess also visited during the week the Open Door Exhibition at the Royal Over-Seas League, comprising 108 artworks from British and Nepali artists, another fund-raising initiative for the two Nepal projects.

While Nepal’s deposed royal family did not hit the headlines for helping charitable projects, the British royals have frequently chipped in for Nepal causes.

In May 2006, a month after an anti-monarchy campaign forced Nepal’s king Gyanendra to step down from power and face the abolition of his crown, Prince Charles hosted a luncheon for over 100 people at the Clarence House, his and the Duchess’ official residence in London, to launch an international campaign for restoring the Patan royal palace complex in Kathmandu valley’s Lalitpur district.

Prince Charles had visited Nepal’s Lamjung district in 1998 and interacted with British Gurkha veterans, including a Victoria Cross recipient, met survivors of trafficking at the shelter run by Nepali NGO Maiti Nepal in Kathmandu, and inspected forestry and water projects in the Himalayan foothills.

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