I hate pets.
Alright, maybe ‘hate’ is too strong a word. I can say however that I have never been a pet person. Animals-dogs, cats, goats, sheep-fill me with a sense of unease and bemusement.
As a child, someone in the Estate where I lived had a very big dog that barked loudly and growled whenever strangers passed by its owner’s flat. I have never been unable to shake off the terror associated with passing by that dog, and now I regard all dogs-big or small, fully-grown bulldogs or tiny puppies-with great suspicion.
We Nigerians are actually very big on keeping pets, especially dogs. Dogs usually serve as great security in areas prone to robberies and general unruly behaviour. I can understand this; however, it is when dogs are kept solely as companions that I begin to have some reservations. All that dog hair, dog feces and dog saliva-that’s a bit too much for my brain to handle. If I went to visit a friend and I met him cuddling the dog like one would cuddle a baby, and he allowed the dog to lick him all over his face, I would probably just get up, turn around and leave, never to return (nah, I’m joking. I would return…eventually).
I have seen lots of movies (mostly American) where a variation of this scenario plays out: A guy would smile shyly at his girlfriend and say ‘I have a gift for you’ and proceed to open up a colourful parcel to reveal a puppy that has a red bow tied around its neck. His girlfriend would smile, her eyes brimming with tears, and she would say something like ‘Oh darling-how did you know? I love it! You’re so sweet!’. They would hug, and the scene would end with both of them looking lovingly at the puppy.
This would never happen if any man gave me a puppy as a gift.
You have been warned.