Help! Someone Wants to Eat My Dog

Photo by James Barker on Unsplash

“They’re going to eat Smart,” my sister said, horrified.

“Ha! Ha! Ha!” I laughed in derision because she must’ve been high on something.

“I’m serious. Brother Tee* is coming to take her tomorrow.”

I tsked. It was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. Till date, it remains the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

“She can’t see again and she’s getting weak. Mummy doesn’t want her to die in the compound, so Brother Tee* is coming to take her.”

That was the unexpected conversation I had with my sister as it slowly dawned on me that she was, in fact, preparing me for the inevitable.

Our female dog whom we’ve had for the past eleven years was going to be given to someone who wanted to, get this, eat her.

Enter first stage of grief: denial.

I dropped the call and started laughing hysterically. You mean someone intended to reduce eleven years to a pot of dog meat? Someone wanted to reduce eleven years of memories, Smart-love, Mukichuki, random belly rubs as I pass by Smart who’s always ready for a rub, excited welcome, persistent paw scratches on the door when we’ve left she and her brother outside, hand-fed treats against my mother’s wishes; someone wanted to reduce all that to a side of dog meat on a plate of… rice?

The image was so comical that all I could do was laugh, until my laughter slowly gave way to something that’s not quite acceptance but close enough.

Wait! Someone’s actually going to cook Smart.

Stage two: horror.

Unlike Kübler-Ross’ outlined stages of grief, my grief has not been linear, i.e., denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Instead, what I have felt over the impending loss of my dog has zigzagged between the different stages as I try to make sense of a world without Smart.

With this growing horror, my body started to react, and I balked. It was too much too soon.

But I didn’t have enough time before I jumped into the third stage. I needed to bargain desperately because in some sense, it seemed like my life depended on it. I called my mum.

“Let me keep her.” I started.

“I will take care of her. You don’t have to worry.”

As I used my most potent negotiation tactic on my mother, trying to save Smart’s life, I felt my body trembling before I heard my voice shake. Before I could get anymore word out, my mouth burst open in a gut-wrenching wail.

I could neither believe the abruptness nor horror of it, my dog was going to be eaten!

***

Here’s the thing, every time I see a dog, and I mean Every. Single. Time., my brain pauses so my body can marvel at its cuteness. While I’ll admit that Golden Retrievers and Labradors have a special space in my heart, this pausing to marvel happens when I see all kinds of dogs. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of dogs between my house and workplace that are unaware of their adoptive parent: me.

As I pass by them daily, I take note of how they’re feeling, worrying if I notice that days have passed since I saw them cuddle up to their owners. I wonder if they’re feeling safe, loved, and happy — a dog should always be happy!

On days when they’re happily engaged with a human, I’m happy, grinning proudly because I know how fulfilled they’ll be. On days when they’re sleeping alone in a corner, I worry that they’re experiencing a terrible case of dog depression. On those days, I mentally scold their owners who are so flippant about their welfare.

“Why will you leave your dog alone to itself?” I ask no one in particular, spending the rest of my ride to work pissed.

But of course, only I am privy to my private displeasures, except my journal and WhatsApp status.

I wasn’t always this way though. I faintly remember one incident when I was about 8. I was on my way home from school and found myself alone on the road with this dog that, fair enough, wasn’t interested in me. But I was so terrified I wished someone would chase it into oblivion. I simply did not care for dogs. I didn’t have need to.

When I did visit my grandma and saw how she fussed over her dog, Suuru, like it was one of her children, I didn’t get it. To me, it was just a dog!

But you quickly learn around pet owners that no matter the imperfections of their pooch, no pet is ever just anything.

To reduce the totality of a dearly beloved pet to justs is to blatantly dismiss the weight of their presence in our lives.

Brother Tee — not real name.

Smart-love; Mukichuki — my family’s unofficial nickname for Smart.

To read the second installment of this 2-part series, click here.

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Always introspecting, therefore always journaling, therefore always with insight to share. For personal musings from my journal, read on.

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Kehinde Egbanubi

Kehinde Egbanubi

Always introspecting, therefore always journaling, therefore always with insight to share. For personal musings from my journal, read on.

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