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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 15:52 GMT
In pictures: Nepal dogs honoured

Dog on the Tihar festival in Nepal

Nepal is celebrating the festival of Tihar, its equivalent of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. In Nepal, on the second day of the feast, special honour is bestowed on dogs.

Alsatian at the Police Dog Training School in Kathmandu

On this day, called Kukur Pooja or Kukur Tihar, its canines are garlanded, adorned with the Hindu powder of blessing, the tika, and given festive food including sweetmeats - jalabis.

Dogs in Kathmandu

According to the Hindu scripture, the Mahabharat, dogs accompanied Dharmaraj Yudhisthir on his journey to heaven. There is also a Hindu belief that dogs guard the underworld.

Police dogs in training

This training school has 51 dogs on which the rituals of respect are bestowed. They are used for rescue and search, for tracking criminals, explosives and drugs, and patrol work.

Puppy at the police school

Other dogs from the neighbourhood may also be lucky enough to get a look-in. Of the dogs in the training school, many are puppies, some born on the premises, others from outside.

Street dogs in Kathmandu

Even Kathmandu's many street dogs get garlanded. Ironically, for the rest of the year dogs are not generally well treated and many are left to fend for themselves and feed on scraps.

Policeman with Alsatians in training

But every dog has his day and here at the Police Dog Training School, it's recognised that no animal has a closer relationship with people. (Text, photos: Charles Haviland)

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