A Sanctuary for Animals in RSPCA Bhutan

As a young child, Tashi would hide the strays and keep them safe when dog catchers were sent to deal with the ever-growing population of ownerless mutts. Attention averse by nature, Tashi has recently quit her consulting job to return full time to advocate for the animals she loves.

Dogs being taken care of at the RSPCA Bhutan (Source: www.drukasia.com)


The very first animal shelter in Bhutan is the Royal Society for the Protection and Care of Animals. The RSPCA was started in 1999 by Tashi Payden when she was an undergraduate. Growing up in Southern Bhutan, she had always loved dogs, including the stray dogs that proliferated in her community.

Tashi Payden – the lady who started the RSPCA

As a young child, Tashi would hide the strays and keep them safe when dog catchers were sent to deal with the ever-growing population of ownerless mutts.  Attention averse by nature, Tashi has recently quit her consulting job to return full time to advocate for the animals she loves.

The woman who initiated the very first spay and neuter programs, Tashi is the reason the canine population is slowly coming under control.

The RSPCA’s aim is “to protect and care for all animals in Bhutan, to ensure that the welfare of the animal are taken care of, and to work in harmony with all relevant stakeholders bearing the interest of the animals.”

The primary aim is to create a place where mankind and animals can live together with mutual love and respect for each other, and where every life is valued.



About the RSPCA

The Bhutan RSPCA is an established CSO under the Royal Patronage of the Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.

The RSPCA is a no-kill shelter, and a place where over sixty dogs, two cows, a bull and a donkey call home.  Acting as an open rehabilitation center for animals, the dogs that stay at the RSPCA have a varied history.

Some had previously dealt with problems such as aggression while others were traumatiSed from being too dislocated from their original homes. There were also mother dogs abandoned when they had their puppies, or dogs which are simply too old and sick, hence no longer valued.

Tashi and her team are aware of the diversity of needs that challenge the dogs in their care. Much attention is given to the emotional well-being of the dogs, many who were street dogs, with no understanding or any prior experiences of a house and owner.

 ‘One of the most stressful things we can do to the dogs here is keep them closed up, because all their lives they’ve been used to roaming around outdoors. They don’t understand human boundaries. Unless the dogs are seriously sick or injured, we don’t make them stay indoors,’ says Tashi.

A shelter which does not cage animals

Hence their shelter does not use a cage system like most shelters do these days. Instead, the dogs have roughly 1.5 acres of land to run around, with shelter and a main building that the dogs have free access to.

A room in the main building has been rendered as windproof as possible with donated tarp, and scattered mattresses make a cosier bed for nursing or ill dogs.

The RSPCA has a small space at the local veterinary office in Thimphu where the animals in dire need of medical attention are kept. The dogs go through a 3-step program of deworming, anti-rabies vaccines and sterilization after immediate treating for medical conditions are done.

Ultimately, the aim is to find the dogs good homes if possible. Naturally, the task is made easier when the dogs are still young. Tashi says ‘We try and adopt out all the puppies, because I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Even if the dogs grow to become less cute, the adopter will always remember the small, cute puppy they first adopted.’  

How to be a sponsor for the animals

However, even if you are currently unable to adopt a dog, the RSPCA encourages you to volunteer or sponsor an animal. You can come down to the shelter, and personally pick the animal you would like to sponsor. Other ways to help are collecting food, bringing the RSPCA sick or injured dogs, protecting animals against mistreatment and assisting them during sterilization and anti-rabies campaigns. 

As the RSPCA shelter is near Ngapiphu, 7km from the Thimphu City, they hope to draw more interest to their cause. Like Tashi, the organisation has had to reinvent itself to further its cause.

The RSPCA plans to revamp their paths, create parking within the compound, construct an area for volunteers to stay, and eventually build a treehouse for the children who come as part of their ongoing Buddies animal education program.


For more information on how to help or be a volunteer, please visit:

Website: http://www.vib.org.bt/html/who/rspca.htm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Royal-Society-for-the-Protection-and-Care-of-Animals-Bhutan-368074466553525/


Written by KIB for the New Bhutan Times.

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