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Geraldine Ogwe: Things I Learned From My Dog

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Last Sunday, I visited my father. When I arrived home, I noticed that the gate was not locked. As I was no stranger, I opened the gate and ushered myself in. I made a mental assessment of the cleanliness and well-being of the compound where I grew up. Almost immediately after my assessment of the house, I saw a lovely creature seated at the entrance to the main house. It was my dog – Billy the Queen. She walked up to me and gave me a welcome peculiar to dogs. She wagged her tail and prostrated to me. I rubbed her head and raised her forelegs in acknowledgement of her greetings. When I dropped her legs, she then moved in front of me and ushered me straight to the kitchen where my father was.

I greeted my father and asked him how he and the dog were faring. He said fine. After father and daughter discussion, when I was about leaving, the dog walked me to the gate. Before I shut the gate, I went down memory lane on how this awesome creature came into our lives and what I have learnt from this dog.

Billy was given to us, sometime in 2001, as a gift from my father’s client who shared the same name with my younger brother. My father didn’t want to accept the gift but he didn’t know how to reject it either. On the fateful day of the dog’s arrival, a 5-day old dog, my father left the house to avoid the owner of the dog. He told my mother not to accept the dog. When the dog came, my mother didn’t know how to reject the cute thing. She accepted it. My father was not happy but he accepted the fact that the dog had come to stay.

Billy is a cross breed of Alsatian and Doberman. She has a beautiful brown and black body. I love her. I had no younger sister, so I adopted her as a sister.

Billy was very aggressive to strangers. She was a dog that could bark and bite. With family members and regular visitors to the house, she was very friendly. I remember one instance a carpenter came to my house. The dog didn’t bark. My father was surprised because he didn’t know the man. I told him that the carpenter had come on several occasions to work for us. Seeing him regularly made the dog see him as a part of the family. A boy mistakenly threw his ball into our compound. He didn’t want to knock on the gate to retrieve his ball. He tried jumping the fence. Billy gave him the scare of his life.

Billy was a duty conscious dog. Even if he was eating the juiciest of bones, as soon as there was a knock on the gate, he would abandon the food and run (not walk) towards the gate. He would sniff around to determine if it was a stranger or not. Without seeing or hearing the person, Billy knew where the person that knocked belonged. If she didn’t bark, we would know it was a house member. If she barked, we would know it was a stranger. The only time Billy barked for a house member was when my father was outside the gate. Billy knew the sound of his horn. As soon as my father horned, Billy would be restless. If you were in the kitchen, she would run in there, bark and run out to the gate, as a way of drawing your attention.

Billy didn’t like to be caged. She wanted her freedom. If you chained her, she would bark until you released her. If you released her, she would not be destructive. She would sit quietly until duty or meal called. If she was tired of sitting, she would move around to ensure that there were no trespassers.
Billy taught herself how not to mess up the compound. She had a particular section of the house where she did her fecal business.

Billy did not like household fights. If there was an argument that led to shouting, Billy would run in and pace up and down to calm the situation. If she noticed that your voice was louder, she would scratch you a little as if to say “calm down”. In most situations, the person would kick her and yell “get out”. Billy never gave up until peace returned.

Billy liked human companionship. Our family house is a spacious bungalow. We liked to sit outside to take fresh air. Billy was the unsolicited companion that would rest by your side. It was fun seeing her head placed on your feet. She would sit quietly by your side. In moments like this, I would talk to her. She never talked back. She was the perfect listener. If I cajoled her into saying something, she would make “uh mh uh mh” sounds. She would struggle to talk just to please me. My sister, Ify, once asked me, “what will you do if Billy suddenly turns into a human being?” I told her that I would suddenly turn into a dog.
Billy was not a glutton. Whenever she was satisfied, she would walk away from the food. If I served her, I would yell, “my friend come and finish this food. Who would eat it?” If she was still hungry or not satisfied, she would be restless and walk around you to show her dissatisfaction. If she persisted and you still remained OBI AKPO (hardened mind), she would drink water and leave.

Sometime in 2004, I was at home with Ify. It was just the two of us. We didn’t see the need to wake up early. We continued resting in our room. Billy waited patiently. We were not forth coming to open the door. Billy by-passed all other windows and came to our window, barking. She thought something bad had happened to us. We greeted her and she ran to the door. As soon as Ify opened the door, Billy almost hugged us. Her greeting was more than the usual prostration. It was more of a “Thank God you are safe”. We compensated her with a royal breakfast. It surprised us that a dog could be very observant, sensitive and caring.
Billy never led you astray. If you followed her lead, she would lead you to who you were looking for. I didn’t tell her I was looking for my dad, but she led me to him. If I had come home to stay for some days, she would not lead me. I wonder how she read minds.

I wish human beings behave like this dog. It would be refreshing to follow a human’s lead and not fall into your own grave. It would be nice knowing that someone is happy that you are alive and well, not for any other reason. Wouldn’t it be nice seeing people of integrity diligent in their duty, against all odds? The world would be a better place if people knew their boundaries and kept to them. It would be nice to grant people all forms of freedom and seeing them not abuse it. The world would really be a better place if we could learn from Billy the Queen.

Photo Credit: Dreamtime | Lucian Coman

30 Comments

  1. ken

    November 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I can totally relate to this story. My late dog was exactly like this.

  2. honest one

    November 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    My dog is just like Billy. Just amazing. Sometimes they r even better n kinder than humans

  3. gold

    November 21, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I lost my dog dis Feb and I miss her. Planning to get another intelligent and dutiful dog.

  4. gold

    November 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    It’s a pity @Ken.

  5. Abena

    November 21, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    N

  6. teena

    November 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Lovely write up. Dogs r indeed man’s best friends…

  7. Abena

    November 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Not a fun of dogs but Geraldine just made me fall in love with Billy the QUEEN. She wrote soo beautifully about him..My question is what would you do if Billy dies?
    Hopefully you would write about it.

    • Geraldine Ogwe

      November 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      I would definitely write about her, if she dies. She had better not die soon. She is the only companion my father has now.

    • Johnny

      November 22, 2014 at 12:33 am

      I’d suggest you get a sibling for Billy. So that when Billy is late. Dad won’t feel very lonely. When our dog died everyone felt it in my family. Come to think of it..when dad later loses his only companion.

    • iba

      November 22, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      Have you guys tried to mate the dog. You’ve had it for quite a while now. i still worry about mine; she is great and does some nice tricks but she would not agree to mate even when on heat. We’ve had her for quite a while too and i’m eager for her to procreate. It will be very sad to lose her and not have a little version of her for keeps.

  8. F

    November 21, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    This was a lovely story and it was well written.

  9. Fidyo

    November 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Well said Geraldine…..our dog sheila, behaves same way too

  10. Abena

    November 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    But your father tho,hahaha,if he couldn’t stay home to say NO,how on earth did he think your mother could?
    All is well that turns well huh?

    • Geraldine Ogwe

      November 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      He is forever grateful that my mother accepted the dog. He used to say that her “disobedience” actually became his gain.

  11. madam

    November 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    dear bella, i’ve a story i would love to share..i think i would feel better after sharing.

  12. fluffycutething

    November 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    You just reminded me of my precious dog- Dollar. He was stolen from the house. In addition to all these features you’ve highlighted he was quite mischievous as well. I hope i don’t start crying here!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. TA

    November 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Grew up with dogs so I can totally relate to this story. Of all the dogs we ever had, one of them stands out. Oregano was her name. She was a pure Alsatian breed. Very very loyal dog. Oregano could tell if you were crying or upset,and she would come sit by you and give you that sympathetic look and console you by nudging you gently with her head. She could tell the guests we didn’t like and she would scare the hell out of them. LOL! She would play with us in the rain, run along when we went cycling, come sit at the kitchen door and whine when we cooked something that smelt so good. Lol. Oregano died when I was away in Uni and I cried like a baby when I got the news. My roommate laughed at me and said I was acting like an Oyinbo. There was no way she would ever understand that Oregano was very much part of my family. Thank you Geraldine for this. Put a smile on my face this afternoon. 🙂

  14. Glowing

    November 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Yeah…totally true…Dogs are so caring like that….

  15. Fisa

    November 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Just exactly like our dog at home. I read his article and this is just the exact description. Dogs are so emotional too. they know when ure celebrating, they know when ure traveling, they even know when ure sad. The moment our dog perceives the smell of perfume, she knows am about to leave the house, then she will start following me all around and keep making sad faces that i shouldnt leave. she barks at strangers and there are some extreme cases that she barks so much that we even get scared and my mum says anytime a dog barks so fiercely at someone in an unusual way, it means that person is possessed lol

  16. Seun Tuyo

    November 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Oh Geraldine, as much as i am very wary of dogs, you make it sound so attractive…I may consider being more receptive, who knows!!! Super write-up as usual…

  17. Yvonne

    November 21, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I despise dogs a lot, can’t even stand the sight but your write up just made me want to fall in love with them….#no joor. Nice write up Geraldine!

  18. sade

    November 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    When i was younger people said if a dog cries at night it means someone around is going to die soon. I was so scared when a dog in our area cried consecutively for 3days every night. Lo and behold a week after the landlord died. Hmmmmmmn i heard dogs have spritual eyes
    @Fisa i think ur mum is right when she said when a dog barks fiercely at someone in an unusual way it means that person is possessed.
    Ever since then, i get scared when i hear a dog cry at night.

  19. deejay

    November 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Dear Geraldine, your write-up is quite touching and interesting especially for someone that has dogs of the Alsatian and Dubberman breed. I happen to have experience with both species. My Alsatian breed was female and named Margaret Sharon Thatcher after the Thatcher of UK. Thatcher was a beautiful, loving, brave, loyal and active. In the area where I live they call my house ILE ALAJA. No intruder dare come to my house when she was alive. She was with us for almost nine years. The Dubberman was named Indira Ghandhi after the Indian woman. I had so much fun with these dogs especially when they harass ‘prospective intruders. Right away I still have two Dubberman, Benazir Bhutto and Hillary Clinton. Its therapeutic playing with dogs and lots and lots to learn from them. Thank you.

  20. Personal Assistant

    November 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Not a lover of dogs and chickens. Give me a cute white cat any day.

  21. amaka

    November 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I love dogs. I miss my dog , Bolt. I live away from home cos of work. Whenever I do go home, I look forward to seeing my family. ..and Bolt. He’s gorgeous, he’s kind and I love the way he ignores my stern face to jump on me and play with me. I’m a thirty year old doctor professing love for a dog. Lol. All thanks to Geraldine!

  22. lu-lu

    November 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I have lived with so many dogs.. the unfortunate thing is that these dogs have a short life span 🙁 if only they could live as long as humans.
    I was away in school for 2 years, I came back home to visit this year and my dog ‘Peter’ rejoiced like crazy.. i was thinking it would have forgotten i used to exist..
    sidestory: a friend of mine told me of how they named their dog NEPA because the dog was a blackie 😀

  23. madd

    November 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Is Billy a boy dog or girl dog abeg? This He – She mix is confusing me

  24. @edDREAMZ

    November 21, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said…
    .
    I hate dogs like crazy…..
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

  25. cakegirl

    November 21, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    awwwww,i’m seriously thinking abt getting a dog.

  26. Honeycrown

    November 21, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I didn’t want to sound like everyone else who has a dog or had one. But I couldn’t resist leaving a comment in memory of Pablo; he was an Alsatian dog. You just took me down memory lane & I felt chills reading this because he’s just like your Billy the Queen. Lovely write up Geraldine! Thank you for sharing.

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