For a long time, dogs have been considered as the “man’s best friend”. People share a distinctive bond with their dogs as these amazing four-legged friends provide them with unconditional affection, friendliness and also ease their loneliness. To celebrate dogs, irrespective of their shape, size and breed, International Dog Day is celebrated every year on August 26. It also promotes the adoption of dogs instead of buying them from pet shops. Further, the day also raises awareness about various problems faced by dogs and how people should take care of them. The New Times visited The Dog Haus, a Kigali-based facility that offers a pet shop and dog training. Eric Gahamanyi, the Founder and owner of the place said that for dog training, they offer services like basic obedience, advanced obedience, socialization and playtime, mainly on the weekend. He shared that he started this initiative because he owned and loved dogs and has as well as realised that in Rwanda, there was no dog house where dog owners could bring their dogs to be trained, play with others, be boarded or be rented for some days. Talking about the International Dog Day, he said that it is not just about dog day because normally, people have to treat their dogs well. “Dogs have to be trained and their owners should provide everything they need because a dog doesn’t choose to be owned by them; they are the ones who choose to own a dog,” he said. He shared that they have progressed because most dogs have accepted learning, but the challenges they still face is that in Rwanda to get support from either private or government, like in other businesses, is still difficult. “In Rwanda, we used to think that dogs are for security, but we want to teach Rwandans that dogs are also part of our family,” he said. “I love dogs because they are special; loyal, respectful. You cannot be lonely with a dog. They can give you good company.” Justin Rwabigwi, a dog trainer at The Dog’s Haus has been training dogs for three years now. He is currently training twelve dogs daily including Tomy, Carl, and Mufasa. According to him, he teaches the canines things like basic obedience because some, depending on the environment they are brought up in, can be aggressive. He said that these training sessions helps them coexist with other dogs or people. “There is a dog called Marshall which had anxiety problems and couldn’t bark. We’ve been doing socialization, basic obedience and agility which helped it use its mental stimulations at the highest point hence building concentration that will help it pass through anxiety,” he said. Tarek Gashirabake, another trainer, has been training dogs including Carl Drago, Dior and Dinks, for two years and a half. He shared that he can train twenty dogs a day and that they need everyday training or even boarding. “I love dogs because of the trust they give to people. I like how nowadays people love dogs. Some can even buy a dog worth one million. They have been locking them in their houses as beasts that could eat their visitors, but now, they believe that they can send their dogs here to be trained.” Sandra Kamikazi, a dog lover and owner based in Kigali said that on this International Dog Day, people should appreciate the value of dogs regarding how special and remarkable they are. She added that apart from being lovely and cute, they also have good characters and are caring, urging those who tend to kill dogs to stop.