Why I named my protagonist Wyra

Wyra, the protagonist of my novel is named after a friend’s dog in Peru – Wayra, which means wind in Quechua, an indigenous language of the Quechua people of the Peruvian Andes. When I first met Wayra, she jumped onto me despite being told no. I did not mind her rambunctiousness because like any dog, she looked like she wanted to play. And as a young puppy, she was still learning how to behave. We became fast friends, mainly because I enjoyed walking her as much as she enjoyed going on walks. Whenever she sees me walking towards the door, she’d run over to wait ready to venture out for a walk. Door means walk. Possibly. Sometimes she was right, sometimes not.  Wayra is also a therapy dog-in-training who provides support to participants during ayahuasca ceremonies. I could not have imagined how nice it would be to have a therapy dog in ceremony until I was in ceremony with her. She provided comfort, and sometimes, humor that can easily dissolve the intense energies of the ceremonial maloca.

On our walks, she loved to jump into the canals, wading through the flowing water. She loves water and when she returns home, doesn’t mind being hosed off of the dirt and mud she gathered. Also, to get out her zoomies, she loves zipping and dashing through the corn fields, sometimes disappearing behind the corn stalks, leaving me to call for her nervously. Luckily, she always reappears. 

As our bond continued to grow over this past summer, it became fitting to name the protagonist after her. Like her namesake, the protagonist drifts with the wind until she finds her own grounding.

Observing and being with Wayra taught me a lot. I loved watching her saunter through the village, being free and curious, sniffing anything and everything to her heart’s content. While she is afraid of big animals like pigs, cows and other big dogs, I’ve seen her courage grow too. Like people, she grows and changes. As is the case with these lovable beings, spending time with Wayra helped bring out in me more love, compassion, joy and play. Until I play with her again, I will miss her and reminisce our times together.

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