I get this question in one form or another from a lot of people back home, maybe not even about getting another dog, just why in general.
The life of a village dog is not pleasant but some are better at it than others. Some village dogs honestly don’t do well indoors. I don’t know if it’s due to poor training from the PCVs or genetics, probably both. They haven’t had any breeding, nothing to promote highly trainable dogs. Thank about how many different breeds we have and how diverse they are, everything they were bred to do. There was an issue of National Geographic that had an article about dogs and all the different varieties. The best part was the pull out spread with dozens of different breeds. I showed it to my neighbors, first words? “ah, this one (the French Bulldog) is very ferocious.” Me- “that one is maybe this big” Their eyes got big. They don’t understand how a dog can be anything more than something that lives on the outskirts of life.
And I’ve seen that, some dogs here are much much better in the village. And you don’t understand that until you see it. They are pretty wild, some of them. My dog however. My neighbors really like her a lot and I know they want to have her, they’ve said it many times. Actually a lot of people have, someone will see her and say how she looks very good, very fat, and ask if they can have her or buy her. There is no acknowledgement that her looking so nice is because I feed her or that she is so friendly because I don’t treat her badly.
She is special, she kept me sane for two years, and has been a big part of my life. I could try and find another PCV who loves dogs but you know what, I love dogs. I love my dog and I don’t want to give up my dog. I don’t want her to go from being fed regularly to scrounging for leftovers, fighting among the other dogs and having multiple litters of puppies, each more draining than the last.
I don’t want that and I have the power to change it, apathy is a pretty poor reason to just stand aside and do nothing. The magic number for a puppy here seems to be 8. If they can make it out of 8 weeks that means the mother had enough food to feed them and get them to weaning. The next big one, and maybe the hardest is 8 months. They don’t have mom anymore, they have gone to someone else’s house and are on their own. When I say ‘on their own’ I really mean it. Very few people leave water out for their animals, dogs, cats, chickens, or goats, they are expected to survive on their own. Food is precious, a puppy might get some left over nsima (boiled corn flour) or a bone here and there. I see a lot of pups growing very slowly or with bowed legs because they just don’t get enough protein. This is also the age range where they have to contend with most diseases, other dogs spread distemper, rabies and parvo all over the place, puppies don’t have high survival rates of these diseases. If they can get through 8 months then they usually survive to adulthood.
Tiger, Dora’s mother has had probably 15 puppies since I came here, I know of two that are still alive, maybe 3.
Dora got lucky, she found me, I took her in and helped get her over her bout with distemper, it would have killed her. Call is bring a softie, messing with natural selection, whatever. I stepped in and we have each other now and I’m not leaving her behind.