There are a variety of relationships people build in life. Some relationships are expected while others come as a surprise; nobody can explain the way it is built . Developing a liking to something or someone does not always have an explanation, we often lose track of when it sprouted.
I had my first dog when I was about six years old. She was given to me and I thought I owned her; apparently I was only her caretaker because I had little say when it came to her. She loved me to death; she would go on errands with me even when i was on my bicycle. When I left for school without her, she wouldn’t do much till i arrived. It is amazing how much she knew the sound of the car that dropped me off from school. She would run about in the house in excitement impatiently waiting for the gate to open. Nobody really cared about her but me. I was her only friend and she cherished that. She would hug me with her paws on my chest as she stood smiling ( I always argue that dogs smile with their tongue sticking out), don’t they?
As a child I never knew dogs responded to their names till I named mine Beauty. She would appear whenever I called on her. I never knew dogs could respond to names because all I heard when other people attempted to call on dogs were a ‘sucking sound’. For many, dogs are simply animals who are adopted for security reasons. However, I saw Beauty as a soul; a calm and lovable one. I was teased and laughed at when people observed the bond between my dog and I. It is silly for many in Africa when anybody relates to dogs like they matter.
I hated it when people shouted or tried to hit my dog simply because it stared, sniffed or got close to them. Usually I shielded her but sometimes the teasing wouldn’t allow me; I would look on and it was very painful for me. But when I defended her I was teased. I felt it was embarrassing going against what others felt about bonding with a DOG.
Most often I let Beauty down because I did not want to be teased. It was really painful when Beauty came to me when she was being chased for a spanking and I would not be able to do anything about it.
Many years passed and my bond with Beauty grew stronger. One thing about dogs is their unwavering love for their owners; in this case my friend. Everyone found it absurd how close we were but it didn’t matter to me because reality was that I cared about her.
One day, I noticed a change in Beauty. She got ill and was not as active anymore; she did not move much neither did she smile much. I asked my parents to take her to the vet but they never paid attention to me. “It is just a dog”, they said. Beauty’s condition got worse and she bled wherever she laid. People felt it was disgusting. My parents thought of getting rid of her instead of taking her to the vet. I wouldn’t stop crying whenever they threatened to kill her.
I knew she was helpless and there was not much she could do about their decision to kill her. She only had me to defend her; I was her only friend and I knew she wanted to live. God knows I did too, I really wanted her to live. She laid helpless each time and all she could do was stare at me whenever I argued and pleaded that she should be taken to the vet.
One Saturday when I came back from my friend’s house, I came back looking for Beauty but I could not find her. I called on her but she didn’t make a sound. Nobody said anything to me till i saw a pool of blood at the backyard. I knew then that it was Beauty’s blood. I went crying and screaming at my mum asking her impatiently,” Where is Beauty?” The way she looked at me made me realize she was killed. I was told moments after crying that she had been slaughtered by a Northerner (these people are known for eating dogs).
I was all she had but I was not there when she needed me; even though I never owned her, I failed her as a caretaker. She was such a calm and harmless soul that never resisted her slaughter, they told me.
It was hard for me get another pet after Beauty but now I have a bunch of dogs I love to bits; Fulish, Bull, Alby, Badicap, Buff and Justice. I intend to have a dog pound and a veterinary that takes care of dogs like Beauty one day.
I don’t know the relationship you have that the world does not have respect for but no matter what the world says never betray yourself. Be there when ‘Beauty’ needs you because you don’t know when she will leave you. This is not just a dog story but it is also your story. It is not worth doing what everybody feels it is ‘awesome’ but do what makes you feel ‘awesome’. It might be ‘silly’ but do what makes you HAPPY. Stay true to yourself and be awesome.
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