FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaSunday, December 14, 2014
amobipchuks@yahoo.com


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BEWARE OF DOGS!

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dog is an animal with four legs. A trained dog is very intelligent. Dogs are reared for many purposes. They keep watch and bark at strangers. One must be very careful in a compound where there are dogs. An inscription is normally hung at the entrance to their territory. It normally reads: "Beware of dogs." The Germans would say: "Vorsicht vor der Hunde. Betreten auf eigene Gefar" (Beware of dogs. Entry is of a personal risk). Dog meat is also edible. Some believe that it is very medicinal. Have you tested it? Why not try, because prevention is better than cure. Do not doubt; kill and eat.

Jesus Christ while sending out his Apostles and Disciples on mission instructed them to eat whatever is set before them. A certain seminarian went for six weeks' apostolic work in a particular town. On the Sunday following his arrival, the priest with whom he was to work introduced him to the congregation as a future candidate for the priesthood. Then the priest asked him before the people, "Do you eat everything?" The seminarian replied, "Yes Father." Secondly the priest asked him, "Do you eat every meat?" He replied, "Yes, Father!" The people clapped and clapped because the seminarian in question was omnivorous. Thus, they would not worry in providing any special food, meat and drinks for the young man filled with apostolic zeal. Further, the priest teased him, "Do you eat an animal that barks?" He answered rhetorically, "Do you mean a dog?" The priest laughed and laughed because the people of that town are known for their taste for dog meat, popularly known as "404." The seminarian had no choice than to enjoy the delicacy, in order to have a successful apostolate. Beware of dogs!

There is a story of a priest who hates dog meat. But it is a popular meat among his parishioners. A certain man from the parish had a serious motor accident. By God's grace he survived after weeks of hospitalization. When he regained his health, he arranged for a thanksgiving Mass the following Sunday. He approached the priest and informed him about it. During the thanksgiving proper, he came out during the procession to the altar with his family, friends and well-wishers, including bad-wishers. As he danced to the altar with a chain of people, he was holding a rope, which was not as big as a cow rope. The priest accepted the rope with reserve. He prayed and sprinkled Holy Water on the generous donor. As the group was dancing back to their positions, a dog was barking seriously behind the sacristy.

After the Mass, the priest retired in the priests' rectory to rest a while before going for lunch at 1.00p.m. He was known for his punctuality. As soon as it was time, he smiled into the refectory for lunch, since a labourer deserves his wage. St. Paul himself says, "If you do not work, do not eat."(2Thess.3:10). The priest here has already done some sacrificial works by offering Mass for the glory of God and for the good of the People of God. As a human being, it was time for lunch. He had a good cook from the town. But this cook had no idea that priest dislikes dog meat. Our Igbo people say: "Ofe di nma, utara di nma, akpiri ekwebe, 'umunna anwuna'" This means, good cooking, good eating. The soup was so delicious that the priest did not have any leftover. He even ate the bones except the hard ones. At the end, he washed the food down the intestine with a small bottle of cold stout.

Normally, the priest takes "garri walk" after meals before going back to his room for work or siesta. He thanked his cook for the sumptuous lunch. In addition, he asked her to come and show him the cow he received in the church that day as offering, which was represented with a rope. The cook laughed sagaciously and told the ignorant priest that the "cow" has been slaughtered and was used to cook the sumptuous lunch he had. Further, he demanded to see the head of the cow so that he would determine when to invite friends for cow-head pepper soup. The cook took him to the kitchen and pointed it at him. Instead of seeing a cow head, he saw a dog head, whose flesh he has consumed. He looked up and down and shouted, "Beware of dogs!"

As a newly ordained young priest, I worked in a certain town as a vicar. The parish priest was as huge as an elephant, and I was thin then as a mosquito. However, we complimented each other in the Lord's vineyard with our individual endowments. In the presbytery we had a third in-command keeping watch between the living and the dead. It was a lovely dog, whose name was Wisdom. I liked the dog so much.

After a year, I was transferred to another parish. As I was packing out, the dog was crying and I cried also. Coincidentally, the priest to replace me as vicar arrived shortly after I left. He was popularly known as Wisdom. Hence in the house were the Wisdom Priest and Wisdom Dog. Confusion erupted. Whenever the parish priest called, "Wisdom! Wisdom!!" the vicar and the dog would be running at the same time to answer the call. What a coincidence! It was no one's fault. The Wisdom dog was there before the Wisdom priest came. The parish priest became perplexed on what next. His vicar has already begun feeling humiliated that his name was given to a dog. If you were in his shoes, what would you do? To avoid a hateful clash between the two men of God, the parish priest decided to sell the Wisdom dog. Was his action right? Or should the Wisdom priest be transferred so that the Wisdom dog remained? Beware of dogs!

A young prospective priest was sent to Germany on further studies by his bishop. To be able to study in Germany, one must learn German language. But the young priest must not wait to learn the language before eating. So, he went into a super-market in Germany to purchase food items. Unfortunately, there were no Nigerian food items available. Hence he bought whatever he felt looked like food. He paid for what he bought and went home. He cooked the stuff and it tasted so good. From then he settled on it. But after some time, the stuff finished in the super-market. By then he has started speaking little German. When he did not see his popular stuff at the counter any more, he took one of the shop attendants to that particular point. He enquired from the attendant the where-about of the food stuff normally displayed there for sale. The attendant pointed at the inscription there, which read: "fuer Hunde" that is, "for dogs." She told him that the dog food is out of stock, because the dogs in Germany are more than human beings in number. The priest shouted in Igbo, "Ewo! Ya bu na o bu nri nkita ka m na-eri kemgbe m biara obodo a! Tufiakwa!" (So, I have been eating dog food since I came to this country! God forbid!) Do you see what language barrier can do? At last the priest finished his studies and came back home. He was posted to a parish for pastoral assignment. Before he left for studies, he was humane and friendly to people. But now he is barking at people. Is this strange behaviour as a result of the dog foods he ate in ignorance in Germany? What a strong food virus! Beware of dogs!

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