Tima and Voka.

Peace Corps is unpredictable. Two posts ago I talked about when we adopted a dog that was in heat. You can read about it here:

Umusiki w’imbwa.

Two months later, the inevitable happened. Our dog had puppies. Here is a sketch I made of her before she had them.

Pregnant Ka'cyenda.
Pregnant Ka’cyenda.

One day Ka’cyenda slipped out in the evening, and didn’t come back all night. We thought maybe she went to have her puppies, but going out to search for a black dog in the middle of the night isn’t very practical. In the morning, I went out to look for her, and I found her in a grove of banana trees near our house. We later discovered that it is a dog nest, and it is used by all of the female dogs in our area.

Ka'cyenda in her nest with puppies.
Ka’cyenda in her nest with puppies.

Ka’cyenda’s best friends, two street dogs, were protecting her. The female street dog would not let me get close to Ka’cyenda and her puppies, but let Kirsten pass with no problem. I guess the birthing nest is a female only area. The male street dog and I stayed back and chased off any other male dogs that might have wondered by.

We were expecting 3 or 4 puppies, but there were 8. That first couple of weeks was devastating, as 4 of the puppies died. Ka’cyenda didn’t produce enough milk, and despite our best efforts, we could not save them all. I think that burying those puppies may have been one of my most difficult moments in the Peace Corps. Although I never was before, I became an animal rights activist that week. I find it challenging to explain why the treatment of dogs has become so important to us. In Rwanda, education about dogs is vital to the health and well-being of both dogs and humans.

So, we ended up with four puppies: Tima, Yaga, Voka and Cheeto.(Heart, Soul, Avocado, and It’s little)

Three of the puppies found homes through WAG. They are an AMAZING organization that helps find homes for dogs in and around Kigali, Rwanda. If you love dogs and want to help find homes for some of the sweetest rescue dogs in the world, like and support them!  –> www.fb.com/WAGKigali <–

Anyway, I could write an entire book about dogs in Rwanda. It would be a Jane Goodall style documentary about the social interactions of wild African dogs, and about how we literally became part of a pack. But for now I’ll just let you enjoy my painting of our adorable puppies.

Tima and Voca
Tima and Voka

Before I go, Yaga and I would like to wish you a happy Independence Day!!

Happy Independence Day!
Happy Independence Day!

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