I hope the following points will help someone to prepare for that dog you hope to buy soon. I love dogs like crazy, and wish I had the farm-space or income to own three big and beautiful dogs. I am writing this based off my personal experiences as a Zimbabwean who lives in a highly populated, neck of the country.
1. Food Logistics
All over the world different communities have different ways and things they feed their pets. Where I grew up, we culturally assume that when one owns a dog, it will just live off one’s left over food. It might be true for some, but that did not work for my dog. He eats more food than I do and leftover human food is just not enough for him. “First world” dog owners can be seen on TV shows with cupboards full of tinned dog food, in my community few dog owners can even dream of having that level of disposable income. Nonetheless we buy our own versions of dog food and in my case; mix it with leftover human food, because my leftovers alone are not enough. While on the other hand: dog-food alone is also way too expensive.
2. Pronouncing the name
When I named my dog Davinci, it was a real no-brainer. The perfect name for an animator’s beloved first dog. What I didn’t think of, was the fact that all the neighbours, their kids and my distant relatives were also going to try and call my dog at one point or another. Or just ask about him, turns out they are seven different ways to pronounce “Davinci”. I never saw that coming when I chose his name.
I hardly travel that much, but I do leave the country here and there… but most times, I’m always home. Owning a dog is a 24/7 adventure, so you can not go for a two or three day African funeral without someone staying behind to keep the dog company and feed him or her. Other countries have dog “hotels” and kennels, where you can leave them and collect them again after you come back from Paris (or wherever). If you leave in the same African communities that I do, that option might not be available. Luckily Davinci is a family dog, we all own him, and we all take care of him. So even when I’m not there, he has a lot of owners around him. Just be aware of your own personal situation though.
4. Fences and gates
The home I live in has always had a locked gate and strong fences! Very solid enclosure… or so I thought! When our dog was a puppy it showed us a lot of gaps and small openings that you could never see coming. It felt a bit like how, having a crawling/ mobile baby can expose all the hazards you keep on your floors. Unless you have recently owned other dogs before (or goats) your fence is not as secure as you think. Hopefully your version of “locking the gate” involves an actual, secure lock, and an actual key. Gently pushing it or sliding it to a a near-shut state won’t cut it with most dogs… or goats! I should know, I used to have one as a kid.
5. Shots and medication
I know what you’re thinking. I never get sick at all, so how can my dog ever get sick! It happens, and you will suddenly need the money to help your bestest-pal. Mine got sick and needed shots, and I had no money but had to make it happen and I did. Words can’t explain the bond between man and his beloved, sick puppy. The last line I will add is, if you live in a highly populated African community like I do, “Regular rabies shots are a must! You will thank me later”. Here in Zimbabwe not having those papers when your dog bites anyone, is almost in the same class as not having a drivers licence then you run-over someone. I just compared two unrelated things, but I hope you still got the point.
Dogs are really awesome! If you’re thinking about it, you need to get one. If this blog helped you or you have any points to add just comment below! Don’t forget to follow @visuallyafrican on Twitter and on Instagram. Thank you Leo Moko for the image below. He is a software developer in Capetown, South Africa.