One woman's loss
Providing a healthy, disease-free environment is not only beneficial for the animals that are a part of this community, but also the for the people who live side by side with these animals
Priscilla Ndanu Wa Miuwa is one of many who have experienced the conflict between community dogs and the village where her family resides. Several miles from the nearest road paved road in a loose compoud of huts, Priscilla's family is a the heart of an area affected by the spread of rabies among dogs.
As chickens stalk the yard and a small furry black dog snoozes in the shade of a tree, accompanied by the village elder, Priscilla tells us the story of her loss.
Several years earlier
Miuwa Kolite, Priscilla's husband, was chased and bitten by a dog just on the road outside of their compound several years back. Sadly, her husband contracted rabies. Priscilla still finds it difficult to talk about what happened, and understandably, still feels the loss of the man she loved. Priscilla says that his spirit remains present through the beautifully carved furniture he left behind.
When asked if what happened to her husband was common in the area, Priscilla tells us that a young girl was bitten recently, and is still undergoing treatment.
That is troubling news to hear, particularly because the loss of life is so devastating for families in this village.
After her husband died, her son took on the responsbilities to provide for the family, discontinuing his studies in secondary school and sacrficing what looked to be a promising future.
Families that are victims of situations like this are faced with tremendous challenges going forward. One loss weighs so much heavier because of the low income rates among the community.
Although a family member like Miuwa can never be replaced, there is also mourning for dogs who are sadly killed due to the spread of rabies.
Dogs are an important part of family's life and there is often a strong bond between human and animal, as people rely on them for security, companionship and alarm in case danger approaches.
A future with dogs
We are working alongside the Kenyan government to establish a pilot vaccination program in Makueni County, Kenya. Our vaccination project in will ensure that Priscilla, like many others in her village, gets to keep her dog (Simba shown above) and her family safe.
Everyone is expected to take their dogs, which reduces the worry of potentially fatal and costly dog bites.
Stories like Priscilla's highlight the importance of our work for animals in communities where resources are scarce.
Providing a healthy, disease-free environment is not only beneficial for the animals that are a part of this community, but also the for the people who live side by side with these animals.