Roughly nine months ago, a little before I lost my beloved dog Spotty, I adopted a dog. I named her Mooshoo. Of course, as is customary, I named her after a character in the animated movie, Mulan! Remember the little dragon in Mulan? That one.

Where I come from, we are exceedingly careful with names. We believe a person becomes their name. The ancestors may have been right to have this belief. Mooshoo is proving them right.

When she first arrived home, she was the size of a teacup – and not a big tea cup. She seemed to be perpetually cold and perpetually perplexed. You see, Mooshoo is slightly cross eyed. Her eyes don’t cross to the center of her face, but away from it. It lends her a look of perpetual confusion and wonder. To add to this, she has a patch over one eye, which makes one eye look bigger than the other. That was my Mooshoo.

After a couple of months of Mooshoo being home, I brought Spotty over to Nairobi for them to spend quality time together. My thinking was that Spotty was older and would act as elder sister/mentor. What ensued was utter mayhem! In the space of one week, they uprooted my jasmine plant, stole peanuts from my house help’s bag and ate them all. They tore through the house at dizzying speed while barking at everything and anything. By the end of the week, I was done with their nonsense and took Spotty back to the farm.

With time, Mooshoo got bigger. I could now take her on walks. She sort of understood the basics of fetch, but sometimes I think what she understood was that she got a treat after the game.

Eventually, it was time to take a trip to the farm with Mooshoo. We were stopped by some traffic policemen on the way and being Mooshoo, she growled and ferociously barked at them. The policemen were utterly amused at her big dog attitude in such a tiny body!

The minute we arrived at the farm, Mooshoo was out the car door like a bullet. There was so much to see and do. I remember the bond she made with one of the young roosters. I’d find them playing catch – or was it a dog and rooster version of hide and seek? Mooshoo would growl, the rooster would cluck, and the game went on.

Then there were the watering furrows on the farm. They were muddy and perfect for a little dog to play in. And she would swim in the mud. When that got boring, she would lead my farm dogs Nala, Max and Bitzen into the house and show them around all the rooms. As if to say, “welcome to my kingdom”. She was terrified of the cows and goats. She had never seen such beasts in her life before and she was not about to figure them out now. Every time they were out of their shed, she would take off at incredible speed to hide in the house.

With time, we were back to the city. Moshoo was a toddler and her toddler tantrums were at an all-time high. We bought her toys and she ate all of them. We bought her a ball and she “buried” it in my couch. What I had not realized was that Mooshoo was getting attached to me. I was Mummy! I learnt this the hard way when I left her in the house with my daughter. Mooshoo tore apart the shoe rack. She ate a floor mop much to the consternation of my house help. She shredded a roll of tissue in my bedroom. It looked like a cloud had moved in. She stole a dust pan and floor brush. This was separation anxiety at a different level.

Her other version of separation anxiety is to “feng shui” my house. She will carry dead leaves and stones from outside and place them all over my living room and around my work table and chair.

There was a stray kitten that adopted us and became Mooshoo’s best friend. They played together and generally did kitten and puppy like things together. One day, I bought bones for Mooshoo, and set them to boil so she would have bones to chew on and some soup to take later in the day. The pot boiled and I turned it off. I gave one bone to Mooshoo and continued with work. It was a busy day so I did not pay too much attention to her. I could however hear her in the background crunching on bones and gleefully belching her satisfaction. I could not fathom how she was gleaning such joy off of one bone.

When I finally turned away from my desk, my living room was littered with bones. Everywhere! I could not understand where she had found so many bones. I went to check on the bones in the kitchen and could not believe my eyes. Somehow, Mooshoo had convinced the kitten to get onto the kitchen counter, onto the cooker, get her the bones and slurp some soup for herself. Her little paw prints on the kitchen counter were the only evidence of the theft that had been orchestrated by a puppy and a kitten! It was unbelievable!

She is now nine months old. A complete hurricane of a dog that we love to pieces. My living room looks like a boneyard and my house is always full of dry leaves and stones. But guess what? This little creature has brought us all so much joy and amusement that I would not think of life without her! She has truly lived up to her name. Just like the chaotic and loveable Mooshoo of Mulan!


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