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Volunteering at TNR

Once a week (after CrossFit, so I’m nice and smelly) I volunteer at the kennels at TNR Trust Nairobi. It has been so much fun and I’ve gotten so much out of it. Yes, I’m helping dogs and doing a good thing. But wow, have I found it rewarding!

First, I’ve learned a lot. I’m an experienced dog owner, but there is always something to learn. I’m working with rescues, some of whom had very rough experiences and need to learn how to trust humans. I’m learning how to earn that trust and how to train them to get over their fears (people, loud noises, cars, etc.). Many of the dogs are fine and don’t have any issues. But I’ve learned a lot, and am still learning, on how to rehabilitate dogs.

rescue dog meeting others for the first time

Malaika’s first day out of the kennel, meeting the other dogs.

Second, I get my puppy fix. Puppies are so cute. But, they are so naughty and crazy! I work with the puppies to train them on some basic manners, walking on a leash, getting a bath, and more. I get to snuggle and play with them so they’re used to people. And then I give them back and don’t have to go through the perils of being a puppy mom. (I don’t think I could ever have a super young puppy again.)

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Finally, I get to see these dogs really change. They go from being scared and shy to being confident and playing again. For some, it may be the first time they got to really relax and play. The way they grow, start to show personality, and overcome their hard start at life is nothing short of amazing.

For example, Malaika needed time to trust again, but she made great strides in just a few weeks. It’s wonderful to see her have fun and just be a dog. Here’s some video from that first day out.

Volunteering at TNR has become an important part of my life. I’m really glad I started volunteering.

This can be a great way to have time with dogs if you’re not able to have one. You’ll get your puppy (and grown dog) fix while helping animals. If you’re interested in volunteering, fostering a dog, or adopting, please contact TNR Trust.

Here are some links for more details:

Facebook Page




P.S. It’s not just for dogs. There are also cats up for adoption!

P.P.S. For full disclosure, I should tell you that Oreo and Maddie are TNR alumni.

Update on dog license

I had the home visit! So now I will wait until someone contacts me when the licenses are ready.

As for the whole issue with paying for transport, I got a note from Dr. Makori stating:

“There is a small transport deficiency in the office which has delayed clearance of applications. IT is not a fault of Dr. Ngatia’s. Iv’e given her my own 1000k to hire taxi to serve you.”

I guess all vets will ask for transport and it’s up to you to pay for it or not. If enough people make a stink maybe they’ll settle this issue. I don’t want Dr. Makori to pay for everyone or have vets lose money. But dog owners shouldn’t have to pay for transport, especially since we’re already paying 3000 KES per license.

Review: Hob House

I had heard many good things about Hob House. I had high expectations, but still kept in mind it’s a B&B and not a full scale restaurant. The food lived up to the hype. The rest of the experience fell flat.

Things started off wrong when they had no record of our reservation. They managed to get us a table.  Unfortunately, it was not in the restaurant seating area. It was the main dining room table in the common area for the B&B guests. (No pictures because I couldn’t have random people in the shots.) It felt like we were dropped into someone’s living room and told to eat.

One of the owners came by to chat with us. This was fine for the first couple minutes. Ten minutes later we really wanted her to leave but were being polite. Why did she spend such a long time with us? First she had to give us brochures for the B&B part of the business. Then she had to sell us on her favorite dessert and tell us the whole story about it (which involved murder). We really just wanted to eat dinner.

Service was slow and required a lot of reminding.

The icing on the cake was when a guy with his four-year-old sat down with us so she could eat dinner. He was nice. His daughter was lovely. And this was the common table so we really couldn’t complain about it. But, this is not how we wanted to have dinner.

Maybe it would have been better if they had remembered our reservation and sat us in the regular restaurant area. We will never know because I have no plans to ever go back.

My advice on Hob House: skip it. You can get good middle eastern food in Nairobi in a better setting and with better service.

Review: Body Shock

I recently got a few more piercing and a couple new tattoos. I’ve been joking that it’s part of my mid-life crisis. Really, it’s because I found a good piercing and tattoo place.

Body Shock, in the Ya Ya Center, is a clean, safe place to get work done in Nairobi. The ladies who run it are nice and no-nonsense. (They will turn away anyone who is being a diva, needs to have an entire entourage present, or is just otherwise not in a state that’s right getting a piercing or tattoo.)

My tattoos were done by Abe, who is amazing. He did a great job and had an excellent bedside manner (inking side manner?). Yes, it hurt. But Abe moved around never working too long in any one area and he had a very light touch.

If you are in Nairobi and you want to get pierced or get some ink, I highly recommend Body Shock.

Dog Licensing Update

I wrote about getting a dog license in Nairobi a while back. I am writing again with an update. The process has started this year. The forms are getting processed and sent over to the vets, who then do home visits.

These visits will be scheduled with you ahead of time. Do not allow any random visits as those are con artists. The visit should not require you to pay any kind of fee to the visiting vet.

I was called by someone from the office of Dr. Ngatia F.M. (Westlands based, phone number is 0722 332 543). The person refused to come for the visit unless I paid her transportation fee. I told her this was illegal. She then said that they would not come for the home visit.

Rather than let Dr. Ngatia hold my dog license as hostage, I reported the practice to the Director of Veterinary services at Nyayo House, Dr. Makori (tel 0722 469219). I haven’t gotten a response. I am now resubmitting the license application, along with the application for a license for my second dog, with a note requesting that the processing be done by another vet.

I also reported Dr. Ngatia to the Kenya Veterinary Board ( They are looking into the matter. I don’t think it’s right for a vet to extort money from people.

If you are faced with Dr. Ngatia or another veterinary practice that demands transportation or some other fee, tell them no and then report the practice. If enough people do this then maybe we can get this fixed.