PETCHABOON: When the abbot of a temple in Tambon Taboh preaches about the need for love and social harmony, he has a good example to point to right on the temple grounds: an orphaned monkey and a crippled dog who grew up together and have become loyal, inseparable friends.
Phrakhru Arun Pacharakij, Abbot of Pa Reirai Buddhist Temple in Petchaboon’s Muang District, said the female monkey, named Somsri, is a one-year-old Crab-eating Macaque. She was brought to the temple as a newborn by villagers who discovered her alone in the jungle after her mother had been shot.
“When Somsri was brought here she was completely helpless. We bottle-fed her a mix of sweetened condensed milk with warm water,” the Abbot said.
About the same time, the Abbot’s mother brought to the temple another animal worthy of considerable pity: a newborn pup that could not use his back legs. Named Book, the light-colored pup was raised together with the monkey.
Now, about a year later, the pair do everything together. When they go for a “walk” no easy feat for a dog with front-wheel drive only Somsri jumps on board, riding Book like a jockey. The two wrestle and jump up and down, much to the amusement of visitors to the temple, who ensure the pair always have lots of food.
When they are not playing, Somsri indulges her simian instincts by grooming Book, carefully removing any mites or ticks she finds. Book returns the favor by guarding her primate playmate, growling menacingly and barking if any stranger tries to approach her.
“The way these two always look after one another provides a valuable dharma lesson,” said the Abbot.
“Even though they are both lowly beasts they are still capable of having a deep, mutually beneficial relationship with each other. So why are some humans, all of whom belong to the same highly-developed species, barely capable of understanding one another and always fighting?” asked the Buddhist preacher.
“We should feel ashamed of ourselves in front of these creatures,” he said.
Bamroong Wannathon, President of the Toboh Tambon Administration Organization, said the relationship between the two animals was as magnificent as it was strange, especially given that under normal circumstances monkeys and dogs tend to be natural enemies.
“I think the special circumstances of how they were brought up together is the only way to account for it,” he said.
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