by admin

I grew up with 7 dogs and 3 cats. People in the Congo said my household was weird. The kitten loved to suck milk from the female dog’s breasts. And our Dalmatian-looking dog was best friend with a monkey.

With all my experience with pets, Americans thought I had enough credentials to take care of their dogs. And so throughout college, I earned a good portion of my living dog-sitting.

On my first assignment, I had to take the dog out for a walk. Never having done so (the dogs back home roamed around freely), I didn’t have any plastic bag with me. I was totally unprepared when the dog stopped on the sidewalk and pooped. I went to a nearby Pizza Hut and asked for a plastic bag. They gave me a handful. But how do I scoop the manure? I didn’t know. I ended up using all the plastic bags to finally get the job done.
All was well until the dog decided to poop a second time…

My African friends in the U.S. always cracked up laughing when I had to leave a party early to take a dog out. I must have been the only African they knew who had such a job.

Later on, I got promoted. I took care of two dogs at the same time. A family was traveling abroad, so I housesat and took care of their portuguese water dogs for a week. I got a call from the owner. She was calling long-distance from the Middle East, sitting at a restaurant with her husband and her two youngest children.
“How are my babies?” she asked me.
“What?” I was startled. “I thought they were with you.” I thought to myself, weren’t her children traveling with her?
“No, I mean my babies. How are they?” she repeated.
“You mean, your DOGS?” I finally understood.

This new way of looking at animals like one’s own children baffles me. My African friends have a feast about it and often ask me: “Who are you babysitting now? A human baby or a dog?”

“Animals are wonderful, because they put you in a great emotional state,” said James Ray, an American philosopher in the book, The Secret. “When you feel love for your pet, that great state of love will bring goodness into your life. And what a gift that is.”

I get that! I understand the love that one has for another creature, but do people in the West sometimes go too far?

A few years ago, the Canadian government sent back 150 Chinese refugees who tried to dock their boat in British Columbia. Canada sent back everyone, except one refugee _ a dog, for which offers of adoption poured in.

In Chicago, I saw lots of adoption signs on the train. Tons of them! But none of them were about adopting a human baby.

Isn’t this madness?