Dogs! Some people love them, many Rwandans aren’t so keen on them. Indeed, not so long ago, you would have been hard-pressed to say Rwanda is a dog-friendly country with the number of people who mistreated our furry little friends. It’s a little bit different today. A growing number of Rwandans are adopting dogs, and many expats bring them with them when they move here. There is a dog park now, and a number of organisations out there ready to help needy dogs.
Adopting a Dog
Welcome to the ranks of people who move to Rwanda and end up adopting a dog or three. Rwandan dogs and cats are lovely and there are lots in need of good homes. Not the kind of home where they are going to be loved for a year or two and then abandoned on the street again when their owners leave Rwanda, but genuine, loving, forever homes.
A certain Frances and Olivia have made a name for themselves by taking in abandoned dogs and finding loving new homes for them. Their organization is called WAG and they have a Facebook page full of info and cute doggy pics.
WAG generally has puppies and dogs less than a year old available for adoption. They are all vaccinated, clean of ticks, and fleas and will have spent time in a loving home. They won’t give dogs to people who just want a guard dog. You can contact on Facebook or visit their website.
Fostering a Dog
Great! If this is the case, WAG is always on the lookout for good foster carers, who can help them care for their dogs when they reach capacity. They only foster out healthy puppies. You would be responsible for providing food, love, and work on basic training if you can. WAG would handle vet care.
There are a few different options when it comes to vets in Rwanda. Available services include vaccinations, spaying and neutering operations, and general medical problems. Some also carry out micro-chipping, but it’s best to check with each vet individually.
Justin is a Rwandan animal lover who carries out some vet services. He is based in Kigali and his number is 0788 843 318. Justin can help with vaccinations, de-worming, and perhaps other services too. He will come to your home on his scooter.
There are some dog breeders in Kigali from whom you can buy expensive pedigrees, but I would suggest helping out abandoned dogs who need homes instead of encouraging the breeding of more dogs.
Dog Walking and Training
Surprisingly, yes. There are two Rwandan brothers who walk and train dogs in Kigali. I’ve used them and they are great, and we have had no problems. They walk dogs for two hours at a time, even those with some behavioral problems. Call Daniel on 0788 606 743.
There are a number of good spots for walking dogs, namely around Kiyovu, Kimihurura, and Nyarutarama. You can also try Juru Park, a forested space on the hill behind Kicukiro. There may well be others too.
Buying Food, Crates, and Supplies
There are some shops that stock cat and dog food, and other supplies. There are listed below. It’s also fairly easy to make your own dog food. A mix of rice, meat (or little fish) along with some leftover veggies are all it takes. Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, and you can just crack a couple on top of their food.
For a long time, it seemed that Brussels Airways was the only place you could buy dog crates in Rwanda, and only if you were travelling on one of their flights. Happily, it turns out there are some other local suppliers, and you don’t have to fly with a certain airline to do it. They are listed below.
- PETS + Ltd – Located in the same place as their clinic mentioned above (#7, KK 338 St.), they have a great variety of food, treats, supplements, collars, leashes, muzzles, beds, grooming items, and they also deliver (+250 782 866 081),
- Sawa City – They sell cat food, dog food, dog and cat treats and toys.
- Agrotech – For animal supplies like leads, collars, and puppy food. There are a number of branches.
Leaving Rwanda with Your Dog or Cat
It’s not as difficult or as expensive as you may think, even if you’re travelling to England. You don’t have to quarantine dogs when you enter the UK, as long as they have their correct vaccinations, a microchip, and paperwork.
Nearly all airlines will accept dogs or cats, you just need to make sure to prepare. You will need proof of vaccinations (rabies is especially important and needs to be done within a year, and not sooner than 30 days before departure), a dog or cat crate and, depending on where you go, possibly a microchip. You will also need an animal export permit from RAB, which takes a few days to get. All of these things can be done relatively quickly and cheaply in Kigali. Contact a vet (see above) for more details on what is needed. Jode Garbe is a particularly good resource on this and has a lot of experience getting dogs on planes.
Each country has its own regulations regarding bringing dogs and cats into the country. Consult with the local embassy or consulate as well as the country-speciﬁc websites for detailed requirements including vaccines, blood work, microchipping, and quarantine possibilities.
Also make sure to check with the airlines that they allow pets to fly all-year round (some won’t fly them in the summer) and book your pet on board as soon as you book your ticket. Some airlines take a restricted number of pets on each flight, and they may get booked up.
When you do board the plane, make sure you ask to speak to the pilot and inform them that you have a dog travelling in the hold and remind them it is their responsibility to monitor the temperature in the hold. If there is a lengthy plane delay, make sure you speak to the pilot to remind them a pet is on board.
IATA (International Air Transport Association) approved crates for dogs can be procured from Drymon or Octagon. If you are ﬂying Brussels Air, they will supply you with a crate ONLY if you have a boarding pass. Cat crates can be procured from Drymon or shipped directly from retailers in South Africa. Or if you’re traveling to South Africa via air, you can easily purchase cat and dog crates and check them as luggage on your return ﬂight to Rwanda.