LHASA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Every dog has its day, and the expression is especially true for Marig, a former stray dog that once prowled the streets of Lhasa, but now has a name and a home.
Thanks to Tibet's first stray dog adoption center, which opened in late 2013, 2,000 lucky dogs no longer have to worry about food and safety during the chilly winter on the Tibetan Plateau.
"We saved Marig from the brink of death," said Dawa, a social worker at the center. "We brewed Tibetan medicine to cure his illness and prepared a single room for him to recover."
Migmar Tsering, a director of the city's appearance management committee, said stray dogs had become a nuisance for urban transportation and a danger to tourists, which prompted the Lhasa government to invest a total of 8.8 million yuan (1.45 million U.S. dollars) to build the center.
Located some 20 km from Lhasa, the center covers over 13,000 square meters of land with 96 kennels and several rooms for weighing food, quarantine, treatment and cremation.
Dawa said the dogs ate nearly three tonnes of food in the center's first two weeks of operation. The dog food is Tibetan-style with tsampa, a major local staple, as a special additive.
According to a Tibetan legend, it was dogs who endeavored to bring the seeds of highland barley -- the principal material for making tsampa -- from a faraway place to ancient Tibetans before local people learned how to grow food.
In addition to three sacks of tsampa and two sacks of dog food each day, Dawa makes two pots of bone broth with vegetables every day as a winter treat for the dogs.
Tsamlha, a 68-year-old local woman, murmured to herself while feeding dogs in Sera Monastery.
"Eat some more, little puppies," she said.
Before the center opened, the responsibility of caring for stray dogs mainly fell on local monasteries, where monks and residents provide them food.
A Tibetan saying says, "Do not hurt dogs in monasteries, or it will break the heart of the Living Buddha."
However, the monasteries' ability to care for strays is limited. While the monasteries will still be allowed to shelter stray dogs, the new center will relieve some pressure from overburdened monasteries and the city's streets.
"The local government has full respect for the religious tradition, and whether to send dogs to the adoption center is up to each monastery," Migmar Tsering said.
As for street dogs, public security bureaus and city administration offices are in charge of capturing and sending them to the adoption center, where they will be registered and quarantined before being given a kennel in the new home.
The center is currently full, but dog owners may go to the center to retrieve their lost dogs, and the center allows for dog adoptions.