It was easy for the children in my neighborhood in Ida to brag about their toys, gifts and pets because the environment unknowingly supported this competition among neighbors. If your father had a big car, it made the news, but not as much as when Leslie dresses up her pet and wears her golden dog shoes. If your mum had a fat nanny, it could make the news, but not as much as when Jade flies his drone over our house to show the mud side of our slum. He made a video one day where he included cartoon images of my family; my mum, my dad, myself and a GOAT. He had always meant his joke when he said “people like you should not bother having pets. If you must, then a black goat would be perfect because you all look like one.” My lesson teacher Bisi had wanted to speak to his father about his behavior, but I didn’t think it was needful. I felt it was cute when he made such hateful remarks because they made him sound dumb. And I enjoyed watching him make a fool of himself.
But the question is, did I really have a goat? Yes, I did. I actually did have a goat. Was he black? No, he wasn’t. He was white. And he was not so grown. I treated him like a chihuahua puppy. I wore him a leash as you would your dog. I took him for a walk at sunset. He was never in a cage. He sits when I tell him to. Dances when I sing. I trim his wool every now and then. Bathe him in soothing body wash, and on a few occasions, because he always likes to smile, I take him to see his other friend – his dentist.
On this evening, I had left the front door open and JADE (as I newly began to call my goat pet) went on a walk on his own. He usually does that, but on this day, he stayed longer than he used to. My mother Mira would always tease me. She would ask when we’d have a good goat meal of my pet. And I’d frown and tell her that that would be like feeding on one of her kids because JADE, my pet, is part of the family and will stay so until death does us part.
I had sent out a search team to retrieve Jade and possibly place a notice of a missing pet. ‘Really? A Goat?’ Lisa my kid sister had groaned at the thought. But I cared less. By the time the search party returned without Jade, I was moody. Mira tried to console me, but I never wanted anyone to talk to me until Jade was found. I went upstairs to take an aerial view from my room window in hope to find Jade. But there he was on my bed reading his favourite book “The Animal Farm.” He gave me the look that said “I know you’ve been looking for me, but I had to study.” Lisa came right after me and so did Mira. They expressed the most profound love that made me realize that they love Jade even though they think him an unusual pet. Well, I asked him to go down and have dinner. We bumped fists at the exit. And I was so shocked what page he was on the book he was reading when I picked it up from the bed. I guess some animals are better humans.