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It looks so weird. No, not the poodle, the neighbours and their poodle. Complete with leash, all that the picture needed to make it complete were a jumper and little pink dog shoes borrowed from Paris Hilton’s poodle. Yesterday but one I saw them walking it, it’s little feet were muddy from the downpour earlier in the day. Then, again, later in the day they walked it some more. It is obvious from the way my neighbours were walking that felt they were onto something novel.

I’m sure you can understand my taking out a second to be surprised at my neighbours and their poodle; without looking it, of course. I’m quite good at looking un-impressed and un-moved. I could agree with them that it’s all a little novel but I wasn’t about to tell them. Of course we’ve all seen it on TV and all. Still, Ugandans walking poodles in Uganda is as rare a sight as a North Korean giving a South Korean a big, warm, brotherly hug.

This is the second poodle I’ve seen here in K’la, and the other one was roaming around lost. I felt rather sorry for it, which is strange because I’m not a dog person. And I’m not a cat person either, I just happen not to be a fan of furry things. I can stand puppies, I even find them adorable. But then they have to go and grow up and become full-grown dogs, which brings us back to square one. No furry things.

We Africans living in Africa are not that big on pet culture – most of us, anyway. Growing up, you may have kept a dog at home that you loved, as I’m sure many of us did, and I’m certain it never got into your dad’s bed, your brother’s, your mum’s or yours. You did not take it anywhere in the car or buy it fancy dog food from the supermarket, just some maize flour to make posho and some mukene (a 2-inch sized variety of fish with an un-mistakable odour, also recommended for malnourished kids, kids with measles, forced upon us in boarding school, and loved by some people. Not me, most def!).

You may also have passed lots of left overs on to your dog every after a meal, bathed it whenever you remembered and certainly did not walk it. Of course it had it’s kennel outside the house and on no ocassion did it venture into the house. You get my point. We are just not pet people. This poodle-in-the-house, buy-it-a-leash-and-walk-it is a whole new business that we only see in the more posh suburbs where you’ll find people walking foreign nationals’ (read Caucasians’) dogs and earning some cash as dog-walkers. I’ve got say I respect those guys (the dog-walkers) for seizing that cash-making opp.

Well, there’s a poodle in the neighbourhood, and no, my neighbours are not foreign nationals. I’ve got nothing against my neighbour’s poodle – long as it stays downstairs and they keep walking it. Last thing I need is poodle poop at my doorstep welcoming me back when I get home.

I guess this is the moment of truth, the right time to let you know that when I come to visit I won’t be petting your pet. I like you – really, I do – but I’ll take a rain check on your pet. :-)