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Written by: Tayo Faloye.

In one of the zest of youthfulness years ago, I recollect visiting the house of a prominent couple who were close friends with our mother and like an extended family to request for a puppy from the dad who was a very wealthy man. One of their dogs had given birth and I thought I could get a puppy by virtue of the relationship.

Baba Olowo looked at me with a scowl and asked:
“You want me to give you a puppy from these dogs? Do you realise what you’re asking from me?”
With that, he stomped upstairs.
I was left rattled.

A few days after, I went back to purchase two amongst their puppies for a friend who needed dogs, with the hope that Baba would at least dash me one as jara (extra) for the patronage. Baba only counted his money right there in my front, handed over two puppies and bade me goodbye. I began feeling bemused. This na ogbonge oyel executive with businesses and properties scattered everywhere like pure water sachets, doing like this on top of ordinary dog matter, I pondered in ignorance as I resigned to fate.

the kids requested in unison some months ago. I was surprised and wondered what could have led to their sudden change of heart? I cast an enquiring look at their mother, asking if I should go ahead and get one. She obliged too. It was a miracle! I had always wanted to get one due to the inconsistencies of security arrangement in the community but for this same folks who had all voted against it in the past. That’s the beauty of democracy for you.

On the new popular demand, I set out setting the stage for acquiring a puppy. What breed will fit our current situation and good with kids? What will it cost me, where to get one and its upkeep were other considerations. I started researching and scouting for infos. Bang, the breakthrough came. I discovered a pet shop within the axis of where we live and also saw myself journeying over 20km to seal a deal for a dog somewhere in Lagos on a rainy day after some virtual correspondences.

Asking for the profile of the litters presented on display, the breeder got to one and said: “This one is very aggressive. Playing with her sef, she will be growling. It’s a no-nonsense dog.” I became interested. For security reason highlighted above, I couldn’t imagine having a ‘suegbe’ for a dog.

“Is it a female?” I pried further.
He replied in the affirmative and I said “that’s my dog.” Two other beautiful, more robust, long coat puppies caught my attention among the litters but as soon as I learnt they were male, I discarded the thought. No be aesthetics go fetch me Returns On Investment (ROI) .

Having ticked all the right boxes, I paid and brought her home to the family amidst a warm reception. And, truly as said by the seller, she’s one hell of an aggressive dog but extremely playful too – a German Shepherd (GSD, a.k.a. Alsatian), Workline pedigree. It’s been a pleasure having her amidst us.

Now, being an owner of one of these special breeds, I’m really feeling the heat and have come to understand Baba Olowo’s objection to sparing me a puppy over two decades ago. The huge hole the project drills in my pocket feeding her weekly without mentioning cleaning up her kennel, bathing her, medical care, training, discipline and general attention, sometimes dey be me like I enter one chance motor. However, the silver lining is that from an economic perspective, I chose to buy a female. More so, with the on-hand experiences in dealing with our pet, it has further opened me up to the huge market potentials in this line, so much so that I started feeling like acquiring more puppies for dog farming but for space to do so in a rented apartment and madam who felt one was enough.

However, one remarkable thing I observed at Baba Olowo’s point of refusal, which is the salient point of this story, is that he didn’t start explaining himself away why he couldn’t give me a dog with accompanying breakdowns on what he spent in catering for them. His No was simply a No without any sense of guilt. Today, I’m wearing his shoes and have come to terms with his stance from a personal standpoint.

Sometimes, we must learn to leave people with their prejudices without looking back or giving a hoot. Some things are better left unsaid. You can’t stop prejudices in people anyway. They will learn from their own experiences and come to appreciate your action or value judgement, sooner or later.

A good number of the problems today are steeply rooted in ignorance. “No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who wears it.”

– Tayo Faloye ©

Watch out for Part Two.

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