|Seriously, who could resist this face?|
For the past month or so, we've seen this darling litter of local "baladi" puppies grow. Sweet and playful but weary of people, just the way the Cairo dog should be. Our boabs have given them daily water, their momma has fed them, and then they've learned to live on the street, mostly. It's been painful to watch them, knowing one day we might wake up and find one of them dead on the road. I've lived in fear the kids might see this, but so far, they've all done well, and they're adjusting to street life like so many of the local dogs.
And then one day I heard more yipping in a nearby empty building. My heart sank. Another litter of puppies near our home. So many dogs everywhere.
A few days later, the litter we've seen for weeks had a new addition. A little black one who looked younger, smaller. I figured the litter in the empty building must not have made it, and she was the only one left. At first, the older puppies seemed to accept her, or at least tolerate her.
Yesterday she scampered out to us as we walked by. She cocked her head to the side and looked up to us with those sweet little puppy eyes. And then she practically jumped into our arms. She was so different from the other puppies - not weary of humans. Oh, what to do? We gently set her back near the other puppies. Who actually bullied her in front of us - they cornered her up against a fence and barked and nipped. And then they all went on their way to play. Poor little one.
At a party last night, we asked everyone if they were looking for a puppy to call their own. Everyone turned us down. No one wanted a dog, much less one who might be infected with something really yucky. I honestly can't say I blamed them. It was the same thought going through my mind.
When we walked by the area later in the evening she was huddled up, all alone, under some scrap cardboard. We knew she wasn't going to make it with the litter she didn't belong to. And so we scooped her up and brought her home. Sometimes, you just have to take a chance.
I put her in the tub. The water ran dirty brown and she had fleas. The inside of her ears were coated with dirt. Two baths later and lots of baby wipes to those ears, she had a fluffy coat and white paws with a white little patch on the end of her tail. I trimmed her nails and gave her a bowl of food. She laid down on the floor with her face in the bowl and ate until her tummy was (visibly!) full. Sweet little pooch.
We introduced her to our 6-month old toy fox terrier, Starbuck. We thought for sure this would be the deal breaker - that Starbuck would be horribly aggressive toward her and we'd have to find her a home elsewhere. But it was fate - Starbuck loved her from the moment she met her. She groomed her, and played with her, and let the puppy eat first from her bowl that night. Such a little mommy.
A vet appointment today with a clean bill of health - so far. He gave me some dewormer pills (and some for Starbuck, who also got a clean bill of health today!) and talked to me about the local breed. She'll get to be about 20 kg (45 lbs) max in size, and will make a great family pet. We have to watch her over the next week and if she's sickness-free (for lack of a better word), she gets her first puppy shots next Friday. I hope this next week goes well, because we all adore her, especially the kiddos.
We didn't anticipate adding another pet to our home, and we know we can't save them all. It's hard seeing all the homeless dogs here, but most seem to do well on the streets, and we have to accept that it's just the way it is here.
But we've saved one and that makes a difference, no matter how small. She's the perfect addition to our family.
|"Baladi" - means 'local' in Egyptian Arabic. The perfect name.|
Her name? Baladi, of course. She' our little local puppy. And we've already fallen in love with her.