Sunday, February 17, 2008

A dog's life

So yesterday I went for the first report, feeling very much like the proud 'parent'. Excepting this wasn't my daughter and this wasn't high school. This was the dog kennel. Yes, we had sent Nico to training school.

My neighbour usually tells me that Nico, my dog, exhibits the same behaviour patterns as his owner. As we are always arguing about everything, I thought he was trying in his usual style to wind me up yet again. After all, I am not prone to chasing cars, my own tail or other people's tails for that matter. I don't hump legs and not being privy to my bathroom habits, he certainly couldn't be making a comparison on that level!
The decision to send Nico to 'school' didn't come lightly. It rebelled against all my ' this-is-just-a-dog instincts'. However, lately he had become a handful. There was:

- the extra 10 mins delay in the mornings because he thinks he should be heading off to school and or work; getting him out of the car and into the house had become a game of wit, strategy and timing.
- the chasing of people on the road - most Ghanaians are afraid of dogs even of one as little as Nico! Wished I had had a hidden video cam that would have allowed me to take pictures of the security guard running from him! Of course that doesn't leave me with much hope for security in the estate!
- the constant running away to 'visit' his brother that lives down the road. One evening Bash and I came home and there was no sign of Nico at all. Of course we were worried! Visions of kidnapped dogs, a fatal accident or worse still a new addition to a local 'chop bar' menu readily leapt to mind. A couple mins later our door bell rang. There was Nico looking as happy as usual and happy we were home. For the record, no he didn't ring the bell. Belive it or not he had gone all the way down the road to where his brother (pup from the same litter) lives. He sat out by the gate and barked until some one opened it to see what the rukus was about and then he decided to stay.

He just wouldn't listen.

The day we dropped him off at the kennel was a drama and a half. Firstly the handlers weren't sure what he was - a real dog, or a stuffed one. The usual Ghanaian exclamations of surprise - eeeh! - were constantly repeated in a torrent of Twi that I couldn't make heads or tails of. The laughter though was the most worrying sign. Then there was the case of the other 'students' - even the puppies in that place were bigger than Nico! How could I leave him ? Anyway, steeled my nerves, closed my ears to his plaintive crying and walked away. Memories of my first day at boarding school came to mind. Hmmm.

Then mid-week I got a call - Nico was on a hunger strike. He refused to eat! Furthermore, he protested against staying in his cage, making it clear he wanted to hang-out with the trainers instead. My poor dog! So yesterday we went for our first visit. To say he was excited to see us would be an understatement. Then the trainer tried to show us what he had learnt - of course Nico did everything he shouldn't. So here was this man trying to console us by saying ' some dogs weren't like other dogs'! A polite way for saying my dog is stupid? Hmm, I wonder. Anyway, three weeks left to go. Will of course provide an update later.

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