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It was his dog that barked me out of the relationship

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The first day I visited his house, I saw the dog. It has a head like an elephant and stood as tall as a mountain. I told him, “Please put it on a leash. I’m scared of dogs.”

He said, “Oh it’s a calm dog. Just come, it won’t bite you.” I made a move forward, though I was scared to death. Just when I was getting to the door, it barked. It sounded like thunder in a wild rain. I screamed, “Jesus” and jumped inside the room. I was shivering when he came in.

He was laughing. I said, “No, that’s not funny. I’ve had a very bad experience with dogs so I’m very scared of them. The one that gave me a chase for the first time was a local dog. It was small and looked innocuous but when I got to its territory, it gave me the chase of my life. I was a child but I still remember.

My last encounter with dogs was when I completed the university. It chased me and held the hem of my dress with its teeth. It left scratches on my skin and left an indelible memory on my heart about dogs. That dog too was a small local dog. Its owner said the same thing you said. “Come, it won’t bite you.”

By the time I realized, this small dog was after me and all the owner could do was sit there and scream its name, “Nyame Bɛkyirɛ stop.” The dog didn’t listen until a good samaritan threw a stone at it and it stopped. When I told him this story he asked me amidst laughter, “Do you eat dog meat? Usually, dogs treat dog eaters the way they treat you.”

My first visit ended up badly. My mind was all over the place. Instead of thinking about the reason I visited him, I thought of how the dog treated me. I was thinking of how I was going to go out. I was tensed until the time came for me to leave. He served food but I didn’t touch it. He served drinks but I ignored the drinks.

The only thing I took was water, just to calm my racing heart. He wanted to be touchy. It was my first time in his house after three months of dating. I was not in the mood for all that so I pushed him off.

When the time came for me to leave I told him, “Please, chain that monster where it cannot see me. If it barks at me again, I might pee on myself.” He went out, came back, and told me the dog was caged. I stood inside and inspected the area thoroughly to be sure that it wasn’t in the space before I left the room. Just when I was stepping out, it barked from its cage. My heart skipped. I jumped out of the compound. I said in my head, “This is the last time I’m going to come to this house.”

But when it comes to love, ‘last time’ may come so many times before it finally comes. They would treat you badly. You’ll say it’s the last time. They’ll apologize. You’ll listen and give them another last time. It’s always like that so when he apologized and asked me to visit again, I told him, “If I hear the barking of the dog when I come there, I’m not going to come there again.”

I got there in the evening around 8pm. I didn’t see the dog and I didn’t hear it barking. Even in its silence, the memory of the last encounter came to haunt me so I rushed into the room when no one was chasing after me. It was around 10pm when I told him I wanted to go home. He said, “I thought you were going to sleepover?” I answered, “That wasn’t the plan and you know it. I’m not going to sleep over. I will leave and come back fully prepared next time.”

He was quiet so I picked up my bag and decided to leave. He was sitting there. I asked, “Won’t you see me off?” He answered, “How will I see you off when I’m not happy that you’re leaving me?” For close to five minutes, we argued over this. He still insisted that I sleepover. I got angry, picked up my bag, and stepped out.

Right at the door, I came face to face with the dog. It barked fiercely at me and I rushed back inside the room. I was panting. My palm was on my chest as if I could touch my heart and calm it down. I said, “The dog. Why didn’t you tell me it’s outside? Would you lock it so I can go?” He said calmly, “Unfortunately I can’t lock it. This is its time to be out. If I try to lock it, it might get aggressive and attack me.”

I wasn’t going to believe him so we argued it out. He didn’t mind me. He went to the bathroom, washed down, and came to sit in the hall as if my going didn’t matter to him. I said, “If you can’t lock it then please walk me out and close the door behind me. I will manage with that.” He said, “You can go. I can assure you that it won’t bite you.” I put my bag down and sat on the couch.

He wasn’t going to cage the dog so I ended up spending the night there. I sat on the couch and slept till the next morning. He tried pushing me to his bedroom. I didn’t go. He tried coercing me to take off my clothes and sleep next to him but I didn’t’ Early the following morning, the dog got caged and I walked out. I texted him, “You’ll pay for the way you treated me. I will never come to this house again, mark it somewhere the rain can’t wash away.”

For close to one month, we talked on the phone. He wanted me to visit. He begged and coerced but I told him I wasn’t going to visit him. He came to my house with gifts. I was living with my parents then. He wasn’t comfortable walking through the hall to my room so we stayed outside. He said, “I brought you these to tell you how sorry I am. It won’t happen again. Forgive me and let’s bygone be bygone.” I told him, “No problem. I’m not angry but it will take some time for me to calm down. Don’t worry. I will come when I’m alright.”

Days, weeks, and a month later, I still haven’t visited him. When I told him we could go on dates, he didn’t buy the idea. He said, “Why waste our future money on dates when we can have a cheaper one in and around the house?” I said, “Once won’t break the bank. Plus we don’t necessarily have to visit expensive places. Beach, movies, stroll around town, something inexpensive.” He answered, “Fuel is expensive. We can’t waste it on that.” Right there, I knew all he wanted from me was shuperu and nothing else. If not that then why would he insist on me going to his house?

He continued pressing but I didn’t mellow to his demands. He ended up giving me an ultimatum; “I’m giving you up to a week, if you don’t come around then it means you don’t want the relationship. I will be forced to walk out and replace you with someone who cares enough to visit me.” I responded, “As far as you have that dog there in your house, count me out. I’ll never come there until you make solid plans to manage it when I’m around.” He answered, “Let’s see.”

Two weeks later he called and said, “It’s over. Obviously, you don’t like me that much but you’re only using the dog as an excuse. I see through your plans. Go your way let me go mine.” All I said was, “Ok.” He stood on the phone breathing while I also breathed. He hang up the phone and that was it. I didn’t hear from him again. He didn’t text and he didn’t call. I didn’t call too. He watched my status often but I muted him so I didn’t get to see it. One afternoon I posted a beach photo on my status and he called me, “So Kuukua, you’ll sit there for us to rot just because of a dog?” I asked him, “What do you expect from me when you don’t want to do anything to keep me away from what scares me?”

From that day, he had been pushing for a comeback. We’d been apart for over two months. He came out of nowhere when I’d learned to move on. But guess what, he had been doing all the right things recently. He comes home with gifts without asking me when I would be visiting him. He said a date was a waste of money but within two weeks we’ve had three dates where he talks about nothing but the future for the two of us. One day I jovially asked, “I don’t want a future with that dog next to us.” He said, “Don’t worry. I’ve sold that dog. I sold it a week ago. I don’t want to scare you this time around.”

Honestly, I’m moved to say yes to him. At first, I thought he picked his dog over me but now he has proven to me that he picks me over everything and he’s ready to ensure my safety from dogs. On the other hand, I’m enjoying the fun of the chase and don’t want it to end.

What if I say yes to him and he gets a new dog? What if he goes back to doing the things that pushed me away? I’m also scared that he has come back just because we didn’t do shuperu the first time. In my mind, he had come just to accomplish what he couldn’t do the first time. Should I say yes to him? Should I believe his slick gestures and fall back into his arms?

Please advise. I’m in a huge dilemma.

 

—Kuukua

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