City Conversations: The Dog Acquisition

Every Lagosian is familiar with the notorious go-slow that plagues the metropolis. It’s something the city’s teeming populace has come to anticipate and dread. When traffic is absent (when expected) especially during peak periods, we’re suspicious of the reason and cautiously venture on. Also absent is the attendant paraphernalia that goes with it, most glaring are the hawkers that try and ply you with any and everything.

The Lagos hawker is famous for many things, running is one and crucial for the trade. Another is their ability to melt into the ether with your money, so keeping ones wits is essential when transacting with them. Whilst cars crawl it’s a given that you can find almost anything in traffic. It’s normal to see the mundane to the rather exotic displayed by these hustlers and it only gets more interesting by the day.

Not too long ago puppies were thrown into the mix and it became commonplace to see these adorable (usually) healthy looking pups on display. I personally thought it was ridiculous and a really long shot to actually expect anyone to buy these dogs. I mean come on, how in the world could the health, ownership and other pertinent status of said animal be verified? Another thing of note was the breeds, not the usual suspects and some I daresay I had only seen in books or movies. Fast forward some few years later and voila we have more dog walkers in our midst.

The number of dog owners has gone up, whether as pets or to guard lives and property. Certainly I’m not saying each was bought in Lagos or in traffic, but a few might. Not only have the numbers increased, but dogs are no longer found with just families, more singles are now proud custodians of man’s best friend. I personally don’t know any single Nigerian men with dogs (surely they exist) but there seem to be more women in this category, at least in the city.

With great power comes great responsibility…tending to these animals comes firmly under this purview. It’s always a pleasure to see healthy dogs, when you see one you just know. This is no mean feat because it demonstrates that the owner has made considerable investment in food, hygiene and general well being of the animal. All things considered this means when calculations are done, caring for the canine comes to a tidy sum.

Of course we know by now that this category of beasts cannot be found wandering around on the streets with the regular bingo. Those that are pets are house trained and generally have the run of the abode. I’m not sure whether the lucky owners go as far as letting them (dog) sleep with them (owner) on their bed or it has its own bed. I wonder whether the average Naija dog owner goes as far as brushing their canine’s teeth, have doggie sleepovers or parties and the like, though I seriously doubt the last two (correct me if I’m wrong anyone).

It’s now common place to see dogs on leashes being walked. Some of these specimens are quite fearful looking and this ensures that both the walker and dog (especially) is given a wide berth by others. I’m not sure how soon animal lovers will take to picking up the waste deposited by their charges as demonstrated by counterparts oversees. The day I witness it then I’ll know that things are happening…

As a dog lover (not an owner now) I think this addition to households is a welcome development. However I know I’m not of the ilk that will allow my pet sleep on my bed, neither will I buy sunshades or clothes for them…ever. There’s only so much I believe is necessary and everything else is an utter waste of time, money and other resources. Lifestyles are changing as are households and I’m certainly going to keep abreast of the budding romance between man’s best friend as it pans out in Nigeria. Are you a dog or animal lover?

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