Part 1 – Introduction to a New Home

Upepo preferred to sleep curled up in a corner at first, then she learnt to relax

Our decision to adopt a dog was not a difficult one. My family had recently arrived in Nairobi and our other very sociable rescue dog (rescued from Spain) was bored and lonely in our compound. We had promised the children that with a larger garden we could accommodate a new puppy.

I was keen to find one that suited us (under 6 months and female) as quickly as possible. I know how destructive puppies can be, so hoped to find one before our shipment full of furniture arrived. By then I knew, with training, I could have a puppy house trained – so no peeing on our rugs and hopefully she’d be a little less inclined to chew everything!

Having contacted the TNR Trust to find a suitable dog – ‘Monsoon’ was suggested as a match.

The strict verification process, as well as insisting on a vaccination and sterilization programme, including a home visit, reassured me that the TNR Trust would help me adopt a dog with the dog’s best interests at heart. I’ve always believed that it’s important to be a responsible dog owner – or not one at all.

When Monsoon (now renamed Upepo – which means ‘wind’ in Swahili) arrived at our house she was terrified and sat shivering in a cupboard in the kitchen. I left her to settle and sleep until she felt comfortable in her environment and when the children arrived home, I gave them bits of chicken to feed her – which gave them the opportunity to interact with her by giving her treats, rather than overwhelming her with cuddles.

She adored our other dog, Fonzie, from the start. I’m not sure the feeling was entirely mutual, but he soon realised that when Upepo was around, he got showered with treats and he accepted her constant pawing at him – offering the odd warning growl when it got too much. He’s the boss, despite Upepo’s best efforts to be top dog and Fonzie still keeps her in line by telling her in his canine way what’s appropriate and what’s not. They’re now very sweet friends.

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