Falling in love in a foreign country while knowing you’ll have to go home soon leaving everything behind, can be very inconvenient and heartbreaking. It is fortunate then, that this time in Uganda, I’ve fallen in love with a dog, so while you can’t ship your boyfriend as a checked in luggage half across the world and expect him to love you forever, with dogs it can actually work quite well.
You can read more of my story below, but shortly, I have met this amazing, fun, beautiful, smart girl, and I really can’t imagine my life without her right now. I am travelling to Canada next month, and due to me doing volunteer work for the last few months, I am really short on funds and cannot afford to cover all the relocation costs combined with anticipated vet bills in Canada. In this crazy, ugly and beautiful world, dogs have always been one of the few things that make sense to me. I know this girl will bring me lots of happiness, and if you help me to take her to Canada, be sure that I’ll pay your kindness forward.
I have been volunteering in Uganda since June, but met my dog Baka just about a month ago. It was Justin Trudeau, another volunteer from our organization (name changed for privacy reasons), who rescued Baka and brought her to our school. We don’t know much about first few months of her life, but this is how she remembers it:
"Hello, my name is Baka and I was born in Uganda, Masaka district just about 6 months ago. First 4 months of my life were literally full of shit as I was living in an old toilet stall, which was filled up and sealed over probably not too long ago, judging by the smell. In addition to living in one square meter poopbox with no windows and fresh air, my body was a home to what felt like 10,000 fleas and worms, whose survival to me was a mystery as there was hardly ever food in my stomach”.
Now, my dog obviously can’t talk or type, and the account of her early life is based on mine and Justin’s observation, but this is how she would have summed it up if she could (more or less … judging by her attitude, she might have dropped a couple or so f-bombs in the paragraph above). Despite her obvious lack of computer skills she is fully multilingual at this stage, understanding Luganda, English, Russian and Dog.
Needless to say, her life is very different now. Every day she runs free at our huge school territory, she sleeps in my room and even has her own bed, though every morning she jumps into mine and wakes me up with cuddles and kisses. She really likes it in here and I can imagine some people thinking it would be better for her to stay where she is. But I know it just won’t be the case. First, all of the previous dogs which they had here (around 5 or 6) got hit by a car within half a year or so, and seeing a couple of dog corpses on the road myself had further strengthen my decision to take her. Second, well, people are not all that crazy about dogs here, most are afraid of them and can easily hit or kick a dog approaching them. I saw people yelling and trampling at Baka, which can make her scared and frustrated, as I imagine she received similar treatment from her previous, likely abusive, owner. She is a super smart dog and already knows a bunch of words and tricks, but she is still a puppy and requires a lot of training and positive reinforcement, and there’s just no one around to give that to her. Lastly, she would totally be sleeping on the street after I’m gone, it’s already quite a scandal at school that the dog has a bed, hah.
With Little Prince being my favourite childhood book, I’ve always lived by the quote - “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed”. I know I have tamed her now, and it’s my responsibility to ensure she has a long and happy life.
Fun facts - she loves to catch and eat some huge flying insects in my room I’m terrified of, which both makes me happy and freaks me out. She loves papayas. She loves canoes. She is perfect.
Thank you for taking your time to read this page. Hope you won’t miss this amazing opportunity to resist our world’s increasingly racist and discriminatory immigration laws by helping a little Ugandan dog start a new life in Canada.
Also, come visit Uganda, it is breathtakingly beautiful.