Every day I woke up feeling grateful that I wasn’t a pig, and I’m not saying this because they had a habit of bouncing in and out of the dirt like it was nobody’s business. I’m saying this because they were hated by everyone and they were bred primarily for their meat.
As a dog, I was bred for a lot of things, not just my flesh. I was a protector of humans. I was responsible for ensuring that six people were safe during the night and day. I was a master barker and occasionally, I indulged in biting. Only when necessary, else people would start to say you had rabies and like that, you’d be dead because no one understood ‘I don’t have rabies’ in bark language.
I was a very attractive dog, I knew this because whenever I walked by, people and dogs looked twice at me, some trembled at the sight of me. Mostly Ike but he was scared of everything. I had brown fur with a white circle around my eye. My owners liked the idea of me going about, stunning people with my beauty, and familiarizing with my surroundings. I say so because if I thought of it as them not wanting to feed me during the day, I’d be as depressed as Frank. Nice name, sickly-looking dog.
I was friends with a lot of dogs. I could almost be the king of dogs. I was royalty. I was that good at being cute and a leader. I was friends with some questionable creatures. Marshall, the dog who never came out of his cage unless the cage required cleaning Xerxes, the dog whose doors were opened only when he had to be fed. Xerxes was heavily pampered, the poor dog had forgotten how to bark, but he was a master howler.
Being a dog in remote areas was hard. People were looking for protection but were refusing to feed their protectors. I understood the hardship that most of these animals had to endure. Chickens were kept primarily for food, but at least they had swag. Everybody loved them. Pigs on the other hand. Those guys were hated nationwide. Just picture yourself as a pig, real hard. They didn’t even help matters. They reproduce like they were given the rule to go forth and multiply. Even humans don’t reproduce as they do. I’m not including the Igbos in this.
As I walked down the street I lived in, I was aware of the sly looks I got. It was no secret that I lived in an area full of people obsessed with dog meat. Some people look at me but don’t see me, they see meat. Something they can kill and stuff themselves with. I particularly liked living. All dogs did. We knew who was a dog killer, eater, and seller. They reeked of all the blood they had collected. It was disgusting that we were being subjected to such faith. But at least, we aren’t Pigs.
From afar, I see Tutu, the head cock. Tutu had a better chance of being majestic if he was still an egg. He was bigger than most of his pairs and a local breed. Local breeds weren’t giving special treatment. They weren’t kept in a cage and fed at intervals. Locals had to go out there and struggle for their food. And Tutu was a hustler. One time, he had snuck into the properly bred fowls’ cages and eaten from their plates and drank from their bowl. He was a living legend, that Tutu. And somehow, he had an ego the size of the world. He loved looking for trouble and having dogs chase him so he could outsmart them and mock them later. I see the smug look on his face and turn away. I didn’t get into vain fights especially not when his bone was going to be tossed at me soon.
I entered a compound and shuffled through their dustbin. The occupants of this compound love to throw food into their bins and I especially love going through their bins. Nkechi was always coming down from different cars with customized bags in her hand. They hated it because I made a mess, but I was only trying to survive and enjoy the same thing Nkechi enjoyed. I was halfway through the rice that was tied in a black nylon bag when someone rushed out and chased me. At least I got something to eat.
I continued to my destination. It was only a matter of time before I got to what was sure to brighten up my day.
“An intruder,” Brave, a local dog barked as I strolled past the house that got him for protection.
If only Brave was brave.
“I’ll cut your throat,” I barked in response.
“I dare you,” he said and rushed towards me. I marvelled at him but I didn’t back down. We were both growling, daring the other to make the first move. I could feel the hairs on my back raise. I’ve eaten and I know myself well enough to know that if Brave did nonsense, I would cut his throat. I was royalty and I didn’t need this type of nonsense, but Brave was that subject that liked to rebel.
“Brave, stop it,” his owner said but he didn’t get any closer. He knew dogs well enough to know that we could be crazy. Brave backed down and I chuckled and continued on my way. I was going to see Jack, the love of my life. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she was given a male’s name, but she said her owner thought it was cool.
“Bruno,” I turn to find Chelsea jogging towards me with a flirtatious look in her eyes. She was an itch that had a b in front of it. The girl couldn’t just keep to herself, but then again, that was little wonder why half the puppies in the neighbourhood were hers. She had a gift.
“Just carry on walking, Bruno.”
Puppy was a joke and I’m not talking about the fact that he was named Puppy. He had this crush on Chelsea and one could argue that Chelsea felt the same way, but the quest for what I can’t begin to say was just pushing her towards every dog that she stumbled upon.
If I could raise my hand, I’d have done it to prove to Puppy that I didn’t even like looking at Chelsea. I continued on my way because love or maybe obsession could cause temporary insanity especially when mixed with anger or jealousy. Royalty or not, Puppy could take me and win.
I was a few moments from Jack’s place and I could feel the excitement building in me. The thing about moments was the were constantly leading up to something. They were embedded in our minds. I remember the moment that lead to the moment where I found Jack putting the b in front of itch. And that too for Brave of all dogs. Brave!
Remember how I said love could cause temporary insanity especially when mixed with anger or jealousy? Brave was about to understand the downfall of having a name you can’t uphold. I barked and chased after him with Jack having the audacity to look stunned.