I have met thousands of dog and cat owners over the years but Mr Ranasinghe from a January 2009 clinic made such an impression on me that I have never forgotten him. The sheer love Mr Ranasinghe had for his dog Patty shone out of him, he brought her to a sterilisation day and she was clearly nervous being in a strange place, surrounded by strange people, dogs sights and smells so he sat down with her and quietly spoke to her.

When she was having her pre med injection Mr Ranasinghe covered her eyes with his palm so “she will not see the needle and be scared”. During the op, he paced around like an expectant father and sat with her afterwards until she was fully recovered.

sri lankan street dog owner cuddles his dog before surgery

We went back to his village a few weeks later to do additional vaccinations and Mr Ranasinghe brought Patty in to see the vets.

As he left he said, ” Thank you, I love Patty”.

I never saw them again as my work never took me back that way but I often think of them both. There are many many examples of poor and misguided ownership here but equally there are people like Mr Ranasinghe whose dog is clearly a much loved family member and that gives me great hope.


sri lanka street dog getting pre surgery cuddles