Meeting the black lion
As I entered the gates of the big fenced compound, a huge black dog strode in from the corner, its nose in the cold winter air. It was so hairy that I wondered how it saw me, because its eyes were literarily covered with thick fur.
My brother gave a low whistle and the huge wolf bounded forward, tails all waggy. As it jumped on and greeted my brother; as Kelvin rubbed the animal’s ears, it turned its eyes on me, then I saw doubt and suspicion, and it roared!
I felt droplets of pee in my pants. I think the earth must have quaked. I had never heard such a bark before in my entire 10 years on earth.
I don’t know where I got the speed, but when next my eyes opened I was on Kelvin’s back, teary eyed and shaking all over.
It took a long time, before the dog got persuaded to let me be, and it left with a threatening low growl in its throat. It would keep its eyes on me, serious warning.
When mama noticed how much I dreaded this dog, she began to give me the dog’s food to personally feed him. At first I did this from a distance. When mama saw this, she instructed Kelvin to acquaint me with the dog. How he chose to do it really scared the shits out of me. In the evening, with me hiding behind him, he would release the dog and then ask me to pat the dog on the head. Fear never allowed me to look the dog in the eye not to talk of touching it. And the innocent animal seemed excited by the presence of a child in the house. It would bark and rush for me, these had me wetting my pants. My brother tried to assure me the dog meant no harm. But I didn’t think so, not with a dog that roared like a real lion.
After all these we became really cool friends and had a lot of hunts and adventures together.
The death of Black Lion
One certain season, the fleas and ants infestation got too much for him. I bought an insecticide that I was supposed to put in his bath water. Unfortunately there were no specifications about quantity. So out of eagerness to get my dog freed from the ticks and other ants that tormented him that hot season, I poured almost half into the water I was going to bath him with. I had planned to use the other half the following day. I hated to see my dog suffer. Sometimes the scratching got him sores and flies.
After bathing him, I let him go dry himself as usual, but after about five minutes my dog staggered back. I rushed to him. His eyes showed pain and his breath unsteady. I watched him fall. It was then I realized that the handshake had gone beyond the wrist. The reality hit me. the concentration was probably too much, and the poor dog had licked his body in an attempt to dry up. I cried out. Mama suggested oil. I rushed and started feeding him oil. That didn’t help.
It dawned on me that my dog was gradually leaving me. He could hardly move anything but his eyes. With my dying dog in my arms, I wept aloud. Then something happened, I saw real tears drop from my dog’s eyes. I watched it roll down and slowly, those eyes lifted feebly for one last look at me, then closed forever. I screamed and threw myself to the ground. I could not control my grief. It was bad enough that the dog died, but those tears it shed and that last look, made my heart bleed. It took mama a lot of persuasion to get me off the ground, and to let go of the dog. As I dug the big hole that would be his grave that evening, I could not hold back tears. I mourned him as I would mourn a true friend. His loyalty was total, and his love was untainted, and most painfully, it was my fault, my error that cut his sweet life short.
Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave, beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us. And make our lives a little brighter. And they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow.”
― Dan Gemeinhart, The Honest Truth
Thank you for reading this, If this touched or interested you, you can see more details of this and my other childhood pet stories in my book : My Loyal Dogs
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