November is the official month for giving thanks for family, friends and for any other blessings we may have had throughout the year…and I’d like to think that our four-legged friends are included in this celebration as well. Even more, why don’t we celebrate dogs a little earlier than Thanksgiving?
Mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 6 and pack your bags for Nepal!
Well, if you can’t make it to Nepal this month you can still celebrate Kukur Tihar wherever you are with your furry companion. November 6 is the “Day of the Dog” Festival, the second day of a five day celebration. Tibet Travel explains that dogs, both strays and those who have homes, are honored with calendula garlands, called mallas. Dogs’ foreheads are also painted with red cinnabar, called a tika, to mark them as an object of devotion; they are believed to be the guardians at the gates of the afterlife. The flowers and red markings act as symbols of sacredness and act as a blessing to those who encounter the dog during the festival, according to Dogster. Finally, the dogs are treated to a fancy dinner that may include milk, eggs, meat (or high-quality dog food) or sel roti, a deep-fried confection much like a doughnut.
How can we honor our dogs on Kukur Tihar and Thanksgiving?
We can certainly adorn them with flower necklaces and forehead paint, but I think we
can all agree that their favorite part of any celebration (or any regular day) is food! With Thanksgiving leftovers, you can prepare a concoction of turkey, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy (The Bark). Or how about a special “Thank You Casserole” by Rachael Ray?
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/4 pound ground turkey
- 1 small carrot, chopped or grated
- 1/4 cup green peas
- 1 cup unseasoned stuffing bread cubes
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 2 cups turkey or chicken stock
In a medium skillet, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until light brown, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas and lower the heat to low. Stir in the bread cubes and remove from the heat.
In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, then add 1 cup turkey stock and cook, whisking constantly, until the gravy thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Soften the stuffing with the remaining 1 cup stock. Place in a bowl for your pup and let cool for about 5 minutes. Top with the gravy and let cool for another minute before serving.
Even if you decide not to feed your pup any leftovers, the usual staples of dog bones, biscuits and treats will put a thankful smile on any dog’s face.
Carve out a moment, today, to thank your dog, however you choose.
Why are we thankful for our dogs? American Kennel Club reminds us why: always having someone to come home to, they allow us to be silly without judgement, they know when we need them without having to say anything, they make us smile even when we don’t think we can, they stand tall and proud beside us, their tails are always wagging and of course, they give us unconditional love.
Let’s honor our dogs this month and show our thankfulness by guarding them with protection and comfort, just like they protect and comfort us throughout the year. To compliment their red tika markings of Kukur Tihar and to protect their feet from the upcoming salt, snow, ice and freezing temperatures, suit them up with the Ice Fire Red Saltsox. They will lick your face with gratitude (instead of their feet covered in harmful salt) when they feel the security of not slipping on the icy pathways especially if we have an early Thanksgiving snowfall.
The Nepali dog celebration also includes a festival of lights. Wide Open Pets explains that lanterns are lit at night to symbolize the power of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and the falling away of obstacles that prevent humans from experiencing and authentically connecting with the world and all its living things. What a beautiful tradition and one that I hope that you can somehow adapt into your celebration this year.