Rather than give extravagant gifts to King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck for his birthday this year, Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering asked people to simply give back to their country. The King turned 40 on February 21, and the Prime Minister suggested a birthday gift from the people that would tackle some of the nation’s problems. He recently encouraged the public to either adopt a stray dog, plant a new tree, or clean up neighborhood waste. Bhutan’s PMO stated on Facebook, “Personal commitment such as this . . . would be the best gift for His Majesty.”
Bhutan has a growing number of stray dogs, but the government has taken steps to try and solve the problem. The nation launched Bhutan’s National Dog Population Management Strategy in July last year, which works towards reducing the number of free-roaming dogs through adoption and community-based initiatives. The PM’s birthday wish is an extension of these efforts, and people have taken his request seriously. In fact, Bhutan-based journalist Namgay Zam tweeted that she and her fiancé have already adopted 3 strays.
The request also came with the announcement that the PM is due to launch several programs in the areas of economy, education, health, and technology. It’s clear just how dedicated Tshering is to improving the lives of his people (and animals). In fact, Bhutan is one of the happiest places in the world. The Buddhist Kingdom has continually been ranked as the happiest country in all of Asia, and the 8th Happiest Country in the world according to Business Week.