Graduating from the roots of our very traditional system of having company that was either desired or not to the modern day living where the nuclear family system has steadily replaced its roots, Ghanaian homes have always been full and fun, with lots of drama, interaction and more importantly communal living.
This form of living, characterized by the presence of family members, either under the same roof, or on a compound presented early morning greetings, daily and weekly chore schedules, and night associations that were mostly desired.
Fortunately or unfortunately, it’s come to the point that the average Ghanaian’s desire to live in a city like Accra, Kumasi or Takoradi and others, presents a living that’s probably marked with stress, management, and organization of daily routines that would minimize cost and satisfy the fewer people in the home. Parents are left in the village, uncles find their own small apartments and just a few children are willing to accommodate their parents in their homes, under their roofs.
It’s not uncommon that for so many reasons, Ghanaians have chosen to find other sources of company to entertain themselves while they live private lives and make a good living.
It’s either a dog, cat, hen, or a parrot. These are the most common ones you would find here and they are present in most homes for company, security or economic value. Any other reason, I’m certain people usually don’t share.
It’s become common to a number of enlightened Ghanaians hosting these pets to very admirable conditions, like having special menus for them, giving them regular baths, taking them on strolls on weekly basis as well as finding them suitable partners for another integral aspect of pet development; mating.
It’s fascinating to see cats lay in people’s couches, dogs roam in rooms and seated at their allocated area and the house owners getting furious when they realize the pet has not been adequately fed or given enough care in their absence. Others train their pets, as though they would ever utter a word, by taking them through a few preliminary language lessons. They obey words as sit, stand, let’s go, inside and the like.
Inasmuch as most pets covet to also feel special and loved, just as probably every human does, some pets have always cursed the day they came to a particular home. If they ever said a prayer, they would re-affirm the Israelites prayer for God to take them completely out of the mess they face.
These unfortunate pets are hustlers, no choice of their own. They are kept hungry, fend for themselves and stray to find their own food, friends and affection. The owners of these pets are unfriendly, uncaring, inattentive, and aren’t concerned about their well being.
The educational system in Ghana has made it quite difficult for people to keep up with their pets. It is mostly the young children in the home who have time for these pets but when it’s time for them to advance their education and move into the boarding houses, parents and relatives are indifferent towards them allowing the pets to feel the hole and gaps their perfect friends have left; they have to endure.
One thing that disgusts and irritates pet lovers is the fact that some people actually take pleasure in abusing pets, something that beats their imagination. It’s either calling them wicked names, kicking them in their bellies or throwing objects at them, for reasons best known to themselves.
In some homes it’s common to see cats being kicked and sacked when the food is good and wants to be enjoyed outside. Or dogs being smacked for defecating where they are not supposed to. Only if these pets could report what happens to them or at least had people who did that on their behalf, there would have been some interesting statistics.
I remember meeting Sheba, a beautiful female dog, pretty and firm. She should have been about four years, and any body would be careful when they entered the home and saw Sheba.
What fascinated me most was, Sheba took to her heels anytime she met someone new. She rarely barked, and was meticulous in meeting people.
After some days, I decided to inquire about her seemingly strange behavior. Her caretakers explained to me how Sheba had had a terrible past, years of abuse and unfair treatment. Her former owners would beat her and abuse her in every direction, starving her and making her depressed, left alone and sad.
It took a family member to secretly rescue her and bring her home. There was news that was even more fascinating. The care taker mentioned
‘She is better now, she would eat charcoal every evening but allows people to touch her and hold her once in a while’.
Another interesting scenario. After realizing their cat wasn’t fine, this Ghanaian family decided to take it to the veterinary for diagnoses and treatment. All three of the newly born kittens had died because the mother of the cats wouldn’t go near them. The cat had a good record of taking care of the several kittens she had bore but seemed to have absolutely lost interest in these ones.
The cat was taken to the veterinary and after careful tests and analysis, she was given medication all at the cost of 50 cedis. When the old woman in the house heard of the cost, she almost went haywire. She shouted at the top of her voice and just couldn’t fathom why such an amount of money should be spent on an animal. Who cares? Death comes right, they should’ve just left it?
I followed up, the cat’s healthy and whole, playing around and living well.
Pets United is calling, for your support, care and love. We need you to understand we are not witches nor wizards, nor a bother to you. We love you and would want to be part of you…
Pets in Ghana.
If you feel like responding to this call, I’m certain you would take the initiative to pay attention to these creations of God, educate the abusers, share your leftovers rather than dump them in trashes for them to find, give them a bath and make them feel bad.
Maybe veterinarians should expand their scope and not give up on Ghanaians yet. Educate the masses on their roles. Associations should be ready to defend these creatures and spread the word about their significance in homes.
For those who love their Bibles, maybe you’ve not discovered the part that talks about a special blessing for pet and animal lovers.
Get busy, save a pet.