Suburban dogs are coconuts with fancy names

By Tsale Makam

I'm from a culture where any big black and brown - or just plain brown dog - was called a police dog. That should tell you how interested I am in dogs. Today I can name most breeds, thanks to westernisation and to my daughter - who's been begging for a dog for years.

Her choice was always either a "sausage dog" or a poodle. Maybe a chihuahua even. But now she wants a Jack Russell.

I suggest we get some goldfish. She refuses, arguing that "you can't play with a goldfish".

Being an only child, the poor thing's definitely lonely for some company.

But a dog? That's a huge decision for me. I hear all the arguments about it being a good companion and a man's best friend - but I'm not sold yet. My child is enough of a huge responsibility just on her own.

Besides, with all the political correctness and anti-animal cruelty ideas these days, today's dogs are just too pampered. Suburban dogs are even worse, they are coconuts!

What happened to the dogs we grew up with in the townships? Streetwise dogs walking with a purpose in life. They were good at being guards, or at least looked the part - even if they didn't bite.

For the most part, they had no-nonsense names to match, like Tiger or Killer.

They also had good dustbin rummaging skills and would gobble anything you put in front of them - such as leftover bones that had been sucked until they were white, and leftovers like pap, and even yesterday's jelly.

Dogs like Tiger or Killer could not afford to be too choosy.

But the coconut dogs go to dog parlours, they raise their snouts at no brand food. They have to attend dog training school and wear fancy collars. They get taken for walks and . horror of horrors, some even watch TV with the family.

I know I should get her that dog, but I will not get away with treating it like a Killer - it's bound to get a fancy new name.