“The Luckiest Dog in Samburu”

Mar 4, 2014 | Categories: Camp Life, Staff | 8 Comments

One year ago, on March 4th 2013, Kenya was preparing for its national elections, and the Ewaso Lions staff was also getting ready to go vote at the local pre-school. As we were leaving Camp, we saw a small white and brown bundle. It was a little dog who had collapsed right in the middle of Camp.

He was exhausted and could barely lift his head to drink water that we tried to give him. His feet were completely worn out and he limped away from us in fear as we tried to check his body and feed him. We left him in camp with Jeneria that morning as we headed off to vote. We were not sure if he would still be in camp when we returned – but he was.

This little dog stayed with us for the next few days as we tried to learn where he came from. We found out he belonged to a warrior from Sasaab village who had migrated with his cows but his dog got left behind. Apparently he was known to be a stubborn dog!

Kura appeared in our camp on Election Day, one year ago. Kura means “vote” in Kiswahili.

We didn’t get much sleep in the first 2 weeks. The dog slept outside Jeneria’s tent at night and bark, howl and cry all night long. But the dog didn’t want to leave our Camp. We contacted the original owner who said the dog could stay with us.

We named him Kura – which means Vote in Kiswahili – due to the fact that he arrived on a very important day for Kenya.

We built Kura a doghouse, and he soon learned to feel safe at night and stopped barking. His feet healed and he put on weight. We took him to Nanyuki in the car for his vaccinations and check-up – this was definitely the first time Kura had been in a car and this little bush dog did not enjoy it!

A year has now passed, and Kura is a very important part of our camp and project. We had always wanted a camp dog, but never got around to finding one – well, one found us. He is a happy, healthy dog who keeps us entertained at all times. After long days in the field, we return to camp to have Kura launch himself at us or greet us at the top of the road when he hears our cars. Leaving shoes outside our tents is a mistake, as they often disappear. If we leave our tents open is not only a bad thing as snakes can wander in, but we may find Kura fast asleep on the bed. He alerts us about anyone that wanders in to camp or walking past camp. He also warned us of snakes including dangerous red spitting cobras.

He loves warriors – when he hears any warrior walking in the distance, he is off in a flash, greeting them lovingly. He does the exact opposite with motorbikes: he chases them off at great speeds, barking like mad.


His best friend is Jeneria, and follows him around everywhere, and sits waiting for him to return every time he drives out of camp. He is disciplined by Jeneria and Moses, spoilt by Shivani and Lpuresi and gets a lot of attention when playing with Letoiye and Ngila.

A lot of community members see Kura and cannot believe that he is a Samburu dog. We explain that with some care, food and attention, a village dog can transform in to an alert and happy dog. Leletur, one of our elders from the Wazee Watch programme said to us recently, “this is the luckiest dog in Samburu.” But we think we are the lucky ones.

We love our little camp dog and hope Kura has a happy, healthy and long future with Ewaso Lions.

Kura barks like mad at some creatures like mongooses at night. But others, like this bull elephant, don’t seem to interest him!

Kura always sees us off into the field, and is always the first one to greet us when we get back to Camp.


8 People have left comments on this post

» Shalini Bhalla said: { Mar 4, 2014 - 11:03:03 }

What a great account of how Kura joined the Ewaso Lions team. We have been lucky enough to meet him – and he is truly adorable. He definitely is the boss in camp – demanding ( and getting) attention from all the team. Kura gets my Vote!

» Shane Dallas (The Travel Camel) said: { Sep 2, 2014 - 02:09:15 }

A lovely story and such a beautiful dog! This was meant to be – instead of you looking for a camp dog, the camp dog found you. I would love to meet Kura one day.

» Alka said: { Nov 21, 2014 - 04:11:49 }

Have been reading about Ewaso Lions and would definitely love to visit the camp one day

» Susan Combs said: { Sep 1, 2015 - 12:09:23 }

Was GREAT to visit Ewaso Lion camp and spend such a fabulous day with Jeneria teaching us so very much. And one can not help but love Kura. What a great story he is. While visiting Ewaso Lion camp it was apparent he was really missing Shivani as she was away. Great job Kura for finding yourself such a great home!

» Ann Baker - WCN Volunteer said: { Sep 1, 2015 - 08:09:49 }

I vote: You are all, as well as Kura, SO very lucky to have found each other. Dogs have a way of finding us and wiggle their way into our hearts and homes. They are loyal, devoted and will take good care of you. Wish you could bring Kura to the EXPO with you. :-) Great story!

» Erelah Gafni said: { Oct 11, 2015 - 05:10:20 }

Thank you for taking the time to tell Kura’s story. Your love for him is palpable, and its clear why when you look at the lovely face of this dog. What a cute.

» DEBORAH ELLIOTT said: { May 21, 2016 - 06:05:31 }

What a sweet story !! As I always say – ADOPT don’t SHOP !! And you did just that !!

He is the luckiest dog in Samburo !! You all saved each other and the lions to boot !!