Our roommate called home just over 2 months ago to ask his wife if he could bring home a dog. His wife, like most Rwandans, hates dogs. But he talked her into it – since most people are really afraid of dogs, it is good protection to have one.
Plus, he was an orphan… his mom had just been hit by a car. We guessed that the puppies were about a month old. He was christened “Jimmy” with the help of our friends.
For the first few days I wasn’t sure if he would make it – he just wanted to curl up in small spaces and hide, and didn’t interact much. We gave him a lot of love and attention, and coaxed him into drinking milk and eventually more and more solid food. He got lots of baths, because he was covered in fleas.
But Jimmy perked up, and is intelligent, sweet, energetic and playful. He has grown a lot, and we suspect that he will get quite large. I occasionally feel bad because Jimmy is probably better fed than most of the kids we see every day.
Last week our roommate saw Jimmy’s brother near our house, and coaxed him into coming into our yard for a reunion.
I almost wept.
I like dogs. I can’t imagine adopting dogs rescued from Mexican streets, or calling myself “mommy” to a dog like some of my friends, but I like dogs.
Jimmy’s brother was also sweet, but obviously not as well off… he was flea covered, about half Jimmy’s size even though they are the same age, and he moved so slowly – only as much as necessary. Jimmy literally ran circles around him, wanting to play.
Mike and I tossed around the idea of seeing if we could adopt him, thinking he would be a great dog with a little care. And I felt a little angry that people could care so little for their pet… but let’s be honest, they probably don’t have much to eat themselves.
As much as I like dogs, I am really more interested in investing in the lives of people. And this brought home to me in a very real way the difference between a well-nourished child and a malnourished one. One of our goals is to improve farming techniques to increase nutrition – especially for kids and the most vulnerable parts of the population. It has seemed like everything is happening so slowly (besides legal permissions, relationships and plants take time to grow), and this just made me more impatient to have an effect in this area.