Kenyans are eager to adopt a newborn baby girl abandoned in a forest who was saved by a stray dog and discovered nestled with her own pup, officials said.
"The publicity on the way the baby was rescued has sparked a lot of public interest in helping her," said Hannah Gakuo of Kenyatta National Hospital, where the baby is being treated for an infection in its umbilical cord and exposure to cold weather.
The stray dog that saved the child struggled to cope with newfound celebrity status Tuesday, a day after its last surviving puppy died for unknown reasons, said Jean Gilchrist of the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.
Animal welfare officials named the dog Mkombozi, or Savior, and gave the dog its first bath and de-worming Tuesday.
"She looks a bit depressed, so we'd like to examine her to see if she has a temperature or any other problem," Gilchrist said. "She wasn't happy when we all poured into the compound. She decided to leave, but kids in the compound brought her back for the bath because she was full of ticks."
Mary Adhiambo, a resident in the compound where the dog lives, said the Mkombozi apparently found the baby Friday in a plastic bag.
The dog reportedly dragged the child, named "Angel" by health workers, across a busy road and through some barbed wire to the shed in the poor Nairobi neighborhood where puppies from two stray dogs were sheltering.
Unwanted infants are often abandoned in Kenya, with poverty and failed relationships frequently to blame. Kenya's weak law enforcement and poor social security system mean most people who forsake their babies are never caught.
The baby was discovered after two children alerted elders that they heard the sound of a baby crying near their wooden and corrugated-iron-sheet shack. Residents found the mixed-breed dog lying next to the baby along with her own pup.
Residents took the child to a nearby police station to record a statement, before taking her to the Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment.
"People have been calling the hospital, asking about the possibility of adopting her," Gakuo told The Associated Press.
Officials in the government's Children Department were not immediately available to comment on the problem of abandoned babies and possible fate of Angel.
RODRIQUE NGOWI, Associated Press Writer