When we got married, one of our life plans was to get some pets. A dog or two, maybe even a cat. I, wanted a Rottweiler, Madam wanted a Great Dane. We agreed we’d save until we could afford one of each, the last time I checked a Great Dane pup cost $800.
Then one day in early 2012 we were in Kampala running errands, and in a moment of weakness, I let Madam talk me into a visit to the Uganda Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) in Mbuya. What started out as a sightseeing visit, ended up with me ringing our long suffering mechanic Apuuli to commandeer his car for the purpose of taking home our 2 puppies, Jinja & Ssesse, and 2 kittens, Dexter & DeeDee.
Such is the power of a woman.
She picked Ssesse because she was the hottest bitch puppy, I picked Jinja because he was the runt and had sickly blueish eyes and I just knew no one else would take him. As for Dex and Dee, their mother was returning to her owners after they returned from outside countries Christmas holiday and they didn’t want the kittens. Plus they were the last two and it didn’t seem fair to separate them.
The vet only told us one of the kittens was male but, not knowing vet code we didn’t know how to tell which was the boy so we figured we’d name the black one DeeDee and the white one Dexter. Then one day in the middle of the year, DeeDee suddenly dropped a (huge) pair and the mystery was solved. We were stuck with a tomcat which bore a girl’s name.
The four of them were adorable as puppies/kittens, quickly finding themselves a spot under the kitchen table until they grew too big for it and were shown the door. They did everything together, from feeding & grooming to play-figting & poo-ing. Ssesse grew into an even hotter bitch, Jinja into a strapping well behaved young male, Dexter ran off the first night we spent away from home – probably followed the car and got lost – and, Dee discovered neighbours and now only shows up at mealtimes.
Sadly, Ssesse thought her good looks were enough to go by and refused to develop any discipline or regard for household rules. I recall the morning we woke to a compound stinking to high heaven of cow dung; Ssesee had snuck out in the night and ended up falling into the bio-gas pit of a house down the road. Eventually she had to be put down after she reacted to the goading from the neighbour’s kids and took a dislike to all the kids in our village. In her defence, the neighbour’s kids are ill mannered, lying, spoilt brats but then again, we had to choose between someone else’s (horrible) kids or our dog. We took the easy way out.
Then there was Kali, another pretty but otherwise useless mutt, who we adopted from a Canadian friend after he moved into a smaller house. We shortened his name because the original name was that of the Canadian’s former landlord, a longstanding family friend of our parents. When Kali came from his sheltered background and discovered girls in our neighbourhood that was it. He left home, because we imposed a curfew, took up with a sheepdog we’d never seen before, lost a lot of weight (no more regular meals plus all that mating) and was eventually fatally wounded in a fight for her attentions with two bigger and I suppose, hornier, dogs.
Then Mum gave us a Jack Russell pup to keep Jinja company. We named him Halfsac after a character from Sons of Anarchy. He was cute when he was all puppy fat and stubby legs.
Now he’s a teenager and forever devising mischief to get into. If it isn’t sneaking into the kitchen to test our new maid, it’s finding ways to get into annoying neighbour’s backyard. As if we need that stress. Just last Sunday we were informed by the neighbour, another one, that Halfsac has eaten 14 of their free-range chicks. Of course we denied strenuously, until – in the middle of the argument across the backyard fence – we spied him stealthily stalking the 5 remaining chicks as they wandered a bit too close to the chain link fence.
The moral of this tale; do not get a pretty dog for a pet; they will bring you much joy as puppies and much-er heartache as adults. Get you a Rottweiler.