Khaire, the earthquake-detecting dog
Khaire, the earthquake-detecting dog

An early warning system is a very good thing, even if it has four legs. Gopal Pariyar’s dog Khaire is even more precious to his family, since he saved their lives when the big earthquake struck on 25 April.

Gopal is a tailor; his tailoring business was going very well. He had four machines, and was making a good living, good enough to afford building a new three-storey house for his family of six. They were living downstairs, while construction went on upstairs. As it was a Saturday, they were relaxing, thinking about how to enjoy their day off.

Then Khaire began to act very strangely. He ran left and right, into the corners of the house. Then he began barking, in a way that wasn’t at all his usual style. Finally he ran outside, still barking. Gopal had heard that strange behaviour in animals sometimes signaled the coming of an earthquake. He called his family, and they followed the dog outside. Within seconds, the ground started to shake, and the walls began to break.

An hour later, and Gopal Pariyar’s house was just a pile of dirt and stone. He had lost everything: clothes, utensils, his food stocks of rice and maize, and everything he owned. But he thanked God that he had been able to save the most important thing of all – his family – thanks to his dog, Khaire.

He is not alone; in his VDC about 1000 houses are broken or damaged. The Pariyars are staying in a temporary shelter. It is very difficult for them to adjust. The children are scared, and the parents are worried about how they will manage when the monsoon comes. So far they have received just 10 kg of rice and a tarpaulin.

Gopal is not without hope though. He is planning how to reopen his tailoring business, and wants to begin building a concrete house, this time with just one single floor.

I’m sure his new house will have a special place for Khaire, the earthquake-detecting dog.

(Story information and photograph from CASA, a UMN partner.)

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