Jack, Molly, Bella, Max…we all know these common dog names. In the western world, it turns out that a lot of the time we are not that original when it comes to naming our dogs! (I have a dog named Jack!)
But, it’s not the same way everywhere in the world.
In fact, in Africa, the majority of all dog names have huge meanings and they tell a story. It’s amazing!
I first discovered the importance of naming a dog when I was looking for a charity in Uganda to support. I came across a rescue called The Big Fix Uganda and instantly noticed that all of the dogs on their website have stories associated with their very unique names.
So today, I want to dive deeper into how all these dogs are named because I think you too will find it fascinating—as well as share some photos and stories about several dogs at the rescue. But first I want to talk a little bit about The Big Fix Uganda that we are supporting.
The Big Fix Uganda
Since 2012,The Big Fix Uganda has been devoted to improving the lives of people and animals in the economically impoverished region of Northern Uganda.
Because animals and people live in close proximity, diseases such as rabies and conditions such as parasite infestation are a threat to both animals and people. And the health and well-being of people are directly linked to the health and well-being of their animals.
In order to protect communities, and keep both people and animals healthy, The Big Fix Uganda provides the following services…
- Animal Birth Control: The organization will spay/neuter dogs and cats. They also trap, neuter, and return feral cats to the wild.
- Animal Health and Wellness: The Big Fix Uganda provides vaccinations against rabies and parvovirus, deworming, tick and flea treatment, treatment of wounds and injuries, and removal of cancerous tumors.
- Education and Engagement: Through radio broadcasts, school visits, and one-on-one training with animal guardians, The Big Fix Uganda teaches people about the importance of being kind to animals, how to prevent diseases, and how to groom and care for animals.
- Cruelty Investigations: Education and intervention are provided when needed to ensure people are in compliance with Uganda's anti-cruelty laws.
- Animal Assisted Interventions: The Big Fix Uganda provides dog companionship programs as part of psycho-social rehabilitation for war survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Everything The Big Fix Uganda does is all about dogs and people who need help both connecting and coming together in a beautiful way.
The people of Uganda have often gone through a lot of trauma—men and women who have been the victims of war and been both physically and psychologically damaged. The lack of trust, respect, and love has left them wondering where any hope can come from, and there’s a difficulty to trust other humans.
At the same time, the dogs in Uganda have been found on the streets, usually in bad condition, but still have a strong will to live. Once taken into the program, the dogs are given medical care, attention, and lots of love.
From here they put on a training program and then matched up with a suitable guardian. These men and women, the victims of war, are then given the opportunity of creating that amazing relationship with these dogs.
The people of Uganda who are partnered with these dogs are now given a sense of purpose. They learn to connect and discover the true meaning of trust, respect, and love through these amazing dogs.
This project is run by Sarah Schmidt, and it’s done on a tiny budget in the middle of Africa. So, I decided that this is the charity that we’re going to be sponsoring with the new intake of students into The Dog Trainer Academy.
If you have any interest in supporting The Big Fix Uganda, while also getting the tools, resources, and knowledge you need to become a successful dog trainer, I encourage you to check out The Dog Trainer Academy now.
A portion of the tuition from every student who joins will go toward sponsoring the rescue of a dog and providing medical care, training, and rehoming of the dog the student is matched with for a year. It’s an honor to be able to help out.
Now onto the super fun part! Let’s meet some dogs and take a look at their names…
Meet the Dogs from The Big Fix Uganda
Iroba Nono (You aggress me for nothing)
In January 2017, we placed this big, hairy but healthy dog (pictured above) with a man named Owit John. John named the dog “Iroba Nono” which means “You aggress me for nothing.”
It was a sentiment that both John and Iroba could share. Since returning from forced service in the rebel army after abduction, John was stigmatized by his community and fell into a deep depression that is common of war trauma survivors.
Shortly after training began, we all wondered if we had made a mistake selecting Iroba Nono for the program. He was a handful–very energetic and strong–and more interested in doing what he wanted than taking training classes.
After life on a chain, the last thing Iroba Nono wanted to do was stand still.
We asked John if we should pair him with another dog, but John quickly said no—he was already committed to Iroba Nono and would not give up on him.
In June, John and Iroba Nono left everyone speechless as they completed all 10 obedience tests flawlessly.
Watmon (Relatives cannot forgive)
Watmon lived under harsh conditions in Rom Village where his caretaker had 4 other dogs–all bigger than Watmon. When small amounts of food were offered to the dogs, the larger dogs would attack Watmon, and he would have nothing to eat. Our CDP Dog Recruitment Officer reported, “Watmon felt out of place.” The caretaker requested that we take Watmon because he was suffering living with all the other dogs at the place. He now gets all the food (and love!) he needs and, as you can see, is a very happy boy!
Bitum (Nothing is permanent)
In November 2016, the Comfort Dog Project guardians rescued the dog pictured above who was found nearly dead. Sometime before they found her, she had been clubbed in the hips by thieves during the night, and she was left unable to walk. Her open wounds were literally rotting, and she was covered with maggots.
Her guardians no longer wanted her.
At The BIG FIX Dog Hospital, this poor dog wasn’t expected to live. Fortunately, she did live, earning the name “Survivor” from the hospital staff.
Survivor was just a lovely dog, and as soon as she was healthy, she became part of the CDP Program and was adopted by Paul, a war trauma survivor. She helped her new owner, Paul, recover from his disabling PTSD symptoms.
Agonya II (Take Comfort)
Agonya II is named after the first Agonya who was tragically killed in February 2017. Poisoning was suspected, but investigation by the police and an autopsy confirmed Agonya had been kicked by a cow during the night and died from internal injuries.
Agonya II was a stray dog living near the police barracks in Gulu who had befriended police officers who tried to feed her. They contacted The BIG FIX to request help for her.
Petaga (I am not shaken by whatever you do)
Petaga had lived in a home with 5 dogs, all of whom had been used for hunting.
After getting her muzzle caught in a snare trap, she was thought to be a poor hunting dog and no longer worthy of feeding. She was relinquished by the family after our CDP heard about her situation and requested that she be donated to our program.
Gifty (given this name because she was considered a gift from God)
Gifty was abandoned as a puppy at the BIG FIX Dog Hospital. She was so weak she could not stand up and had mixed infections.
After she recovered and regained her health, she was fostered by one of our CDP guardians until she was ready for placement with her permanent guardian. She is presently in training.
So, there you go… it’s amazing how many lives (both human and animal) that The Big Fix Uganda has been able to save on a shoestring budget. Every single dollar certainly counts.
If you have a heart for helping dogs in need and are looking for somewhere to donate to, I urge you to visit The Big Fix Uganda to see how you can help!
Thanks for reading, and today let’s be grateful for all that we do have.
And just for fun, I thought you might get a kick out of seeing some of the most popular dog names from around the world. Was your dog’s name inspired by another culture? Find out by downloading the FREE list of names now!
Take care, and love to you and your pack 🙂
P.S. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it so that it may find its way into the hands of people able to contribute to this amazing cause.