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Mother Dog and Her Puppy Saved by American Diplomat Near Congo River

Mother Dog and Her Puppy Saved by American Diplomat Near Congo River

Written by Tracy Whittington

Six years ago, while serving as a U.S. diplomat in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, I spotted a small, giant-eared, timid dog hiding in the tall grass next to the Congo River. When I walked by each day, there she would be, looking and acting like a miniature deer with her wide eyes and darting movements.  Even from a distance, I could see she had a patch of grey skin where there should have been fur, and she was painfully (hips-protruding, count-every-rib) skinny.  I asked the locals what they knew about her and found out the street kids threw stones at her, the other street dogs beat her up, and the grey skin was an old burn where Congolese soldiers had tried to set her on fire. It was all too obvious she was slowly losing her battle to stay alive, something far too common in the Congo.

So I began a campaign to catch her.  I started bringing dog treats and handfuls of food to leave on the ground for her to eat.  After weeks, I was able to get within a few feet of her, though she would never take anything from my hand. The day I decided to rescue her, I lured her to within a few inches of me with food. While she was eating, I gently slipped a dog leash fashioned into a lasso around her neck. Once she realized she was trapped, she struggled to escape, bucking and thrashing at the end of the leash.

First Good Night’s Sleep

Within a minute or so, she gave up and went limp. I scooped her up, carried her to my car and drove her home, where she lived on my balcony for several days while getting vaccinated, dewormed, and treated for fleas.  Her first night, on a soft bed, with bowls of water and food by her side, she slept for 15 hours, as if she’d never had a good, safe sleep in her life.

She actually had just had a litter of puppies, one of whom was still alive and hiding in the sewer, and I rescued him too.

Labi and Bambi, two lives changed forever.

Labi, short for “la biche” (the French word for “deer”), housetrained herself in less than a month.  The vet who spayed her put her age at about one year.  Her puppy Bambi was adopted by a missionary family and the two dogs used to have play dates together every weekend. It’s been seven years and Bambi remains a happy house dog.

Today She’s a Loving Dog … Even With Cats

Although she remains less than friendly with small, yapping dogs, Labi is a sweet-tempered animal who completely won over my two dog-phobic nieces and who, despite an extraordinary prey drive, has lived peacefully for years with a succession of cats. Every person who meets her is shocked to learn of her brutal pre-pet life and to discover a street dog can be a gentle, loving companion.

Here is Labi today, living with Tracy and her husband who are now stationed in Bolivia.

To help other street dogs like her, my husband and I have written a children’s book about her life.  A Street Dog’s Story is available on Amazon.  Labi also has her own blog, streetdogstory.com, where she follows news of street dogs from around the world, tells the stories of other street animals, and profiles organizations working to help pups like her. She’s a great ambassador for other street dogs, and we hope her story will bring attention to their plight worldwide.  25 percent of all proceeds from her book will go to Humane Society International’s Street Dog Defender Campaign.  See a sweet photo of Labi sharing her bed with “her” cat Lincoln

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150 comments

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8:46PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

gee it's nice to read a feel good story...thanks

5:05PM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

Such a beautiful dog and such a touching story!

5:35AM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

Thank you.

1:12PM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

Wonderful story!!!! I am going to see if I can read the book!!!

5:31PM PDT on Jul 31, 2013

Thank you ...

3:08AM PDT on Jul 18, 2013

C'est une histoire très touchante. Merci de l'avoir partagée.

4:41AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

touching story,thank you for sharing 6/7

10:16PM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

Blessed be.

12:10PM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

Great story , thanks for sharing...

12:45PM PDT on Jun 26, 2013

This is a really wonderful story!

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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