As we get older, birthdays tend to change a little bit for us. We may not get as excited as we used to as children, and, we may not want gifts as much as we used to. We’re adults, we don’t necessarily need more “stuff” but a nice experience or a donation made to a charity of our choice is always a welcomed gift.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan is a king, therefore, he’s already got all the creature comforts and luxuries that he needs. That is why the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lotay Tshering, asked people to simply give back to their country, rather than send him gifts. King Jigme turned 40 back in February, so in order to mark the momentous occasion, the country’s Prime Minister addressed the nation to give the king “gifts” that help give back to the nation and solve some of the country’s issues – a very wise choice for a birthday gift. Citizens were encouraged to either adopt a stray dog, plant a tree or clean up trash around their neighborhoods.
As Tshering wrote on Facebook, “Personal commitment such as this . . . would be the best gift for His Majesty.”
Like many other countries in the same region, Bhutan has a stray dog problem, which has been on the rise despite the government trying to solve the issue. Last year, the country unveiled Bhutan’s National Dog Population Management Strategy with the hopes of working towards reducing the stray dog population through community programs such as adoption. The Prime Minister’s birthday request for the king was simply an extension of these initiatives.
Our @PMBhutan has just asked every Bhutanese family to adopt a stray dog each as a gift for His Majesty on His Birthday today in order to deal with our stray dog population problem in a humane manner. And to plant a tree.
My fiance and I have adopted 3 strays already. 🙂
— washyourhandsལགཔ་ཆུ་འཁྱུ། (@namgayzam) February 21, 2020
And it seemed to be taken very seriously throughout the nation. For example, Bhutan-based journalist Namgay Zam shared a tweet that she adopted 3 stray dogs with her fiancé.
Nation celebrates the auspicious day and in Thimphu, all wishes, festivity, music and colours converged at…
Posted by Prime Minister's Office – PMO, Bhutan on Thursday, February 20, 2020
Following the birthday request, Tshering announced several other programs set to be rolled out that will be dedicated to serving the areas of the economy, education, health, and technology – all clear examples of how the government of Bhutan is doing its best to serve the nation as well as their animals. In fact, the small Buddhist Kingdom has regularly been ranked as one of the happiest places in the world. According to Business Week, it’s the happiest country in all of Asia, and globally, it ranks as the 8th happiest country in the world! That is pretty impressive.