Baba & Wana is a book which follows the lives of two African canines as they struggle to survive on the streets of Miami after the ship carrying them to the zoo crashes. With the help of a trio of strays lead by the natural Doberman Crockett, the duo eventually learns how to make it in the city.
Baba and Wana are captured in Africa and put on a ship to America. With no one else to talk to, the pups quickly become friends. When the ship wrecks near the shore, they escape into the city, but the concrete jungle is nothing like the open savannah. They end up befriending a trio of street dogs: Laid-back Crockett, a Doberman with natural ears and tail, making him easily mistaken for a hound. Protective Tubbs, a Rottweiler with a painful past. And smug Honey, a German Shepherd Dog/Cocker Spaniel cross left behind by her vacationing owner. Unfortunately they also run afoul of Fiona, a Rough Collie who no one would mistake for Lassie. Fiona’s pack has no interest in attracting animal control more than necessary, and the two wild canines are constantly drawing them. If Fiona has her way both will end up in the zoo where they belong. Or dead, either way works for her.
Baba and Wana are remnants of a “canine pack” Cutler created in 1996 which included one of every breed and species of canine. This was the forerunner of the Jasper Mountain Pack, and when Of Wolves, Dragons & Rings moved to Aufaniae, the excess characters were cut. Some, like the Labradors Colonel, General, and Major, ended up in the story of the Catstones and the Von Rustins. Baba and Wana weren’t so lucky. The duo faded into that special limbo for forgotten characters. At least until she started going over Nara’s original friends. But their place in the story was gone and they needed a new home.
Baba and Wana were named after the father and son in the Wishbone version of The People Could Fly. The names are Swahili for “father” and “son”, though Wana is actually spelled Mwana. Their basic story – how they met and came to America – was loosely based on Country Coyote Goes Hollywood. The rest was inspired by Homeward Bound 2, Fluke, and Look Who’s Talking Now.
The supporting characters for the most part were inspired by characters on Miami Vice and Burn Notice, most obviously Crockett and Tubbs, less so with Remington, Fiona, and Ax. Sage and Houdini are named after stray dog characters Cutler likes a great deal.
The purpose in casting the breeds in the roles they are in is simply to subvert the cliché of using certain breeds as the villain. Crockett is loosely based on a stray that lived in Big Coppitt Key, FL in 1984.