Since moving to Nepal we have made a lot of new friends and reconnected with old ones too. But there is one friend in particular who stands out from the others. There’s never been a time when he wasn’t happy to see us. He sometimes gets so excited he starts to shake. He’s not always the cleanest, but he’s really cute. He’s a pretty fast runner and he loves to eat! If you haven’t figured it out yet, our new friend is a dog! His name is Jackie. If you’re like some people and think that Jackie is a girls name, think of Jackie Robinson. That’s what I call him sometimes. I didn’t give him his name, the kids in the neighborhood informed me that his name is Jackie.
Jackie lives on the same street as us, so we met him within our first week of moving here. Dogs in Nepal are usually left outside and not kept in a yard. That is the case for Jackie. He has free reign of the neighborhood, but he never strays too far from home. For being a dog that lives outside all the time, he sure is one of the most friendly dogs I have ever met! It always makes my day when I step outside the gate and there he is, or when I come home and he’s running down the road to greet me. He never fails to put a smile on my face. Now if any of you know me, (Sonja), then you know that I am a cat person. 100%. And I am still am, don’t get me wrong. But I have fallen in love with this dog! It could be that I don’t have to clean up after him, but that’s a discussion for another day. Cats are hard to come by in Nepal, they probably stay pretty well hidden because of all the dogs in the streets. Last year we did have a cat in our neighborhood here in Nepal and I fell in love with that cat too! Sadly, I have only seen one cat even close to our neighborhood this time. I love animals of all shapes and sizes, so it really is no wonder that a dog could steal my heart too.
I know that Jackie doesn’t just bring me joy. The kids in the neighborhood like him too, although he is pretty scared of their soccer ball. His owner loves him too. I’ve had one conversation with her when she saw me petting Jackie. It wasn’t a long conversation since my Nepali is still a work in progress and she doesn’t speak English, but we were both able to communicate how much we like Jackie. I think that my love for Jackie brings other people joy as well. Just this morning he was outside our gate and two of the construction workers from the house next door were walking down the street and stopped to watch me pet him. I didn’t realize they were watching me, but when I looked up they had big smiles on their faces. I don’t know if that’s because they like Jackie a lot too (he likes to go into the construction area and hang out with the guys) or because they thought I was funny for how excited I got about a dog. Either way, it brought a smile to their face.
I am so thankful that God created all these animals and that we can get so much joy out of them. “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, the wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that is was good.” – Genesis 1:24-25. Animals are good, they are good indeed.