This is the true story of a dog that fell in love with me in recognition of how I saved his life
His name was Kennedy, in memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy the 35th President of the United States of America who was brutally assassinated in Dallas-Texas in 1963. The dog belonged to my aunt, Ma Helen. However she bought it from someone else whom I never bothered to know. By the time Kennedy became my aunt`s possession, he already bore the name of the American president. Perhaps he was so named by the original owner; perhaps not.
When I first met Kennedy, it was during the Easter break after I traveled home to the village in Baforkum from Kumbo where I was a secondary school teacher at the Bui College of General Education. My aunt had just acquired him and I could not help remarking about how handsome and alert he looked. When I asked my aunt what was the name of her new dog and she told me it was Kenny, I praised her for choosing that name because of whom President Kennedy was to me and many other people of Cameroon, my country.
This was a little under twenty years after the murder of Kennedy in his own country. Yet, I along with many other Cameroonians thought about him very fondly because of the love he had for Africa, including our own country. By that time, our first President, Ahmadou Ahidjo had visited Washington and was well received by President Kennedy. We in Cameroon were enjoying the good work done in our country by American Peace Corps, a pro-development civil force made up of young Americans who went out to the deprived countries to serve as volunteers. We also had some huge trucks which were popularly known as “Kennedys” because the American president sent them to us to help in fostering the development of our country.
It was against such a background that the dog, Kennedy came into my life. Each time I saw him, I though about President Kennedy. For that reason, the dog and I became friends. However, that friendship took an unforeseen turn when I moved back to Bambili, a village next to mine, to study at the Higher Teachers` Training College (the Ecole Normale Supérieure) there. I rented a house within walking distance from where my aunt and Kennedy lived. Since my aunt`s compound was along the road to my college, I saw Kennedy regularly on my way to and from the college.
However, one morning when I was passing by to go for my classes, I noticed that there was something wrong with the dog. He did not get up and come towards me as he always did previously. When I looked at him, I realized he was in pain. When I went closer, I realized he was discharging blood from his private parts and blood from the bleeding was splashed here and there. When I mentioned this to me aunt, she said she too had noticed it. Out of compassion, I then addressed Kennedy as if I was speaking to a human being: “I am really sorry about what is happening today. However, I can assure you that tomorrow morning since I don`t have lecturers, I will go and get the Vet to come and treat you”.
The following morning, I returned with the Vet. It was a Mr. Francis Njende. After patting the dog affectionately on the head, I told him: “Don`t be troubled. The Vet is here to make you well again, Very soon, you`ll be fine.” After examining the dog, the Vet told me that he had a venereal disease. He got a tablet, pressed open the dog`s mouth and as soon as he drop the drug in it, he closed its jaws and then used a finger to massage it down the throat from outside. He also administered an injection on the animal and then told me: “He`ll be alright. But it will take a couple of days for the bleeding to stop and about a week for him to really get well”. Very triumphantly, I said to the dog: “Did you hear that? You`ll soon be okay!”
Within a week, Kennedy was back on his feet. However, that is not the news. The news is that after the recovery, he did something dramatic. He literally “packed his things “, left my aunt`s compound and moved into my own house permanently. From that day, he was always with me and practically followed me to wherever I was going. He went back to my aunt`s place only when I was going there. Apart from such an occasion, he completely boycotted my aunt. All attempts on the part of my aunt to coax him into “coming back home” failed.
Something dramatic happened while I was having a political discussion with my flatmate.We were both students at the college but while he did science – I can`t remember which of the subjects – I did Bilingual (French and English) Letters. He was called Boniface Mkong Since the subject of politics is usually one that whips up sentiments especially if it`s between people who are from opposing political sides, things got to a point where we were debating loudly. When my friend tried to raise his voice at me in order to hammer home the point he was making, Kennedy got up and groaned repeatedly at him and exposed his fangs as a sign of warning. He thought my friend was about to assault me and felt it his duty to protect me. It was only when I patted him on the head and told him that it was only a discussion and not a quarrel that he backed down.
Since the incident involving Kennedy, I have never taken any dog at face value. I have always respected them. So if you have a dog, rethink your relationship with him or her.