D is for Dogs

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I think it’s safe to say that we’re a dog-obsessed culture. Sure, there are cat fans, too. So maybe I should say that we’re merely pet-obsessed. But come on. Dogs kind of take the cake. From labradoodles to chihuahuas to hound dogs and Salukis, we’re pretty big fans of dogs of all shapes, sizes, and shades. Right?

Not so in Ethiopia.

Dogs are not looked upon very favorably in many parts of Ethiopia. Many dogs are scavengers. Rabies is a concern. Dogs are generally treated with contempt. And sometimes they inspire fear.

When we were in the southern region of Ethiopia a few years ago, we had access to a satellite phone and tried to contact the kids back home. Christy was walking towards the front door to our guest house when our Guide stopped her. It was dark and he would not let her go outside. He wouldn’t even let her go out on the porch.

“No,” he said. “Dogs.”

And that was the end of the conversation. It sounded like packs of wild dogs (or maybe hyenas…or both) roamed the streets of this town, terrorizing its residents like some kind of biker gang.

When Weldu came home with us a few months ago, he wasn’t exactly excited to meet Bella. We tried to prepare him, giving him pictures and talking about how Bella likes to play and can get a little rowdy sometimes. I think we did a good job of giving him a heads-up about the dog that lives in our house. And he was prepared. He said he wasn’t scared. And he wasn’t. He might have been a bit hesitant at first, but now he probably plays with Bella more than any other family member.


Bella feels like she’s part of the family a lot of the time. I know that’s a far cry from Weldu’s experience in Ethiopia. I’ve heard some horror stories of adopted children from Ethiopia that freaked out every time they saw their family’s dog. So it’s a huge relief to watch Weldu play with Bella in such a natural way.

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Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

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