King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan turned 40 on the 21st of February. Given that he is a king, there is probably very little that he lacks in terms of luxuries. So, what did this king receive for his birthday? Good deeds.
The Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lotay Tshering, asked that instead of gifts, the people of the small Buddhist nation do charitable for the benefit of the country. The PM suggested that in order to bring a brighter future to the nation, that people either adopt a stray dog, plant a tree, or pick up trash in honor of the king’s birthday.
In a statement on Facebook, Tshering said, “Personal commitment such as this . . . would be the best gift for His Majesty.”
Bhutan has a stray dog problem, despite the government’s efforts to do something about it. Last July, in an aggressive campaign to lower the number of homeless dogs roaming around, Bhutan’s government introduced Bhutan’s National Dog Population Management Strategy, which has an aim to implement community-based initiatives, such as adoption. The PM’s birthday request for the king was an extension of that initiative – and it’s something that the people of the country took seriously. In fact, one journalist, Namgay Zam, shared a tweet saying she and her fiance had adopted 3 dogs together.
The request followed another announcement that the PM was scheduling the commencement of several other programs designed to benefit the areas of economy, education, health, and technology. With all these changes, it’s clear that the PM is doing his best to work towards the benefit of the people and animals of Bhutan. While it may be a small country, it’s actually one of the happiest countries in the world, according to Business Week. They ranked it as the happiest country in Asia, and the 8th happiest country in the world. Not bad at all.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.