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Dog on a Chain

From the Field

After looking at a kitchen garden I asked, where are the dogs? (something I ask all the time in Kenya) and was led back to a young dog sitting under a tree. As I approached I could see she was young and friendly so I went closer. I found a very sweet puppy (about 8 months old) tied with a chain around her neck to a tree—she had about 3 foot of room to move around.  Simba or Oscar (depending on who you asked) just wanted someone to pet her and play with her. She tried to climb into my lap—but the chain was too short so she settled on giving me kisses.  She had some food—rice, which is the common thing to feed dogs in Kenya—but no water.  There were dried feces on one side of the tree as she played on the other side with me.

Asking the family why she was tied up, I was told she barked at everyone and she chased after the kids. They were amazed that she didn’t bark at me and even more that I was allowing her to jump on me and give me kisses. 

I decided this was a good time to talk about my work as a veterinarian and Rabies. I explained that approaching a strange dog I did not stare at her but approached her with my side to allow her to see I was friendly and I could tell she wanted attention because her tail was wagging.  I then talked about Rabies and the need for vaccination—yet once again there was no money for a vaccine and no veterinarian anywhere nearby that could administer the vaccine.

Although I spoke about the short chain and the need for Simba/Oscar to have more room, I knew that there was little that would change for her. But for a few minutes, Simba/Oscar was a typical puppy—receiving positive attention and perhaps one of the kids will remember my visit and Simba/Oscar will continue to receive the type of attention that every puppy needs.