When Do We Cross The Line?

Posted: December 17, 2012 in Deep, Memoirs
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

My phone rang. It was Ferdy. He was outside my house. I dashed out of the compound, followed by Simba in hot pursuit. The usual pleasantries were exchanged.

‘Tafa, dis your dog don grow o’

Simba as a 3 weeks old pup

Simba as a 3 weeks old pup

‘Yeah’, I replied.

Such comments are expected from folks who knew Simba as a three week old pup. Then, he slept wrapped up in a towel, could not see  (dogs don’t see for a while after birth) and always fell from the table where he slept.

Ferdy’s and other comments remind me of the painstaking medical attention, care and food that has gone into my son. It also reminds me of the fortune I have spent in the quest to be among (and remain in) the elite group of dog owners.


My house is a trekkable distance from Spar. So this is what happens on most days of the week. At 8: 50 p.m., I set out of my house in a dead sprint (I hope my heart forgives me) and get to the mall at 8:58 p.m., just when the security man hovers at the gate. I am very aware of their closing hour, 9 p.m.

On this Thursday, I beat the closing time by just 30 seconds. This day was more important than others because I had run out of dog food. At the check-out counter, I frowned at my bill-it was high. The bulk of my purchases were the cans of Jojo dog food spread across the counter. I knew I could not continue like this. Giving my dog canned food would ruin me. I had to find a cheaper alternative, and fast.

The solution was not long in coming. It presented itself in the Kfa Event Center; a place where the high and mighty come to celebrate every weekend. I had a word with the security men who guard the hall. It was agreed, that every Sunday morning, I would come and get leftovers.

More recent picture of Simba. Ready for an early morning game of 'Fetch'

More recent picture of Simba. Ready for an early morning game of ‘Fetch’


I have no illusions about my place in society. I attended a Unity secondary school and transferred to a private school at the expense of plenty ‘scratch-body’ moments from my father. I then moved on to a Federal University. I am the typical middle-class kid. In the course of my experiences though, I have gained a form of civility, not unlike the refined graces of one from well-heeled roots.

So when I got to the Kfa Centre on my first morning and met drums of leftovers, I was repulsed. Bones, empty bottles of water, crumpled napkins, moldy wraps of amala-all stood in drums. How would I dig into these heaps of left over chow? I met a man there. He was digging into the drums-hands first. He kept unearthing treasures-chicken bones, cow leg and uneaten chunks of fried chicken. We struck up a conversation.

From our conversation, I got to know that he was packing food for his dog, an Alsatian called Lady. He once had many dogs. They were the pride of his life and terror of the area. Then, a bank which needed dogs for security purposes offered him seventy thousand naira for each dog. He sold them all, except one. He laughed when I told him how I had placed my dog on a sole Jojo diet. He said it will allow me to je gbese (get into debt). During our conversation, he kept throwing things into my bowl-a piece of pomo, chicken bones, a half-eaten samosa…

Soon, he picked up a cup, and exclaimed, ‘See as dis rich people dey waste correct glass cup’. He threw it into his bag. That was definitely not for the dog. Soon, some pieces of silver cutlery followed. And when I saw some unopened packs of toothpick, I passed them to him. He gratefully accepted. It soon became known to me that my partner came to get leftovers for his dog, but would not mind some souvenirs for himself also.


Soon, we had enough to last our dogs for a while. He got some discarded bottles of water and used the contents to wash his hands. We walked out together. We exchanged numbers.


On my way home, I pondered. When did this happen? When did he cross the line between dog food packer and scavenger? When do we also cross the lines-between using the official car for personal errands and stealing billions, indifference and hate, confidence and pride, heartbreak and murder, despair and atheism, research and agnosticism…? When do we cross the line?

  1. I don’t really see it as crossing the line, I think he’s just willing to to anything for a dog he’s come to love – Just like you’d do for Simba e.g. breaking down the doors of Spar after getting there too late to buy his food, lol!

    • osisiye says:

      Good to see you here Nuala. The ‘line’ I wrote about though refer to the stuffs he took for himself-not for the dog. The glass cup, cutlery…

      • Oh, got that! Well in that case I think the line is actually quite thin. It’s so thin that you don’t know you’ve crossed until you’re on the other side and you look back and you’re so far its hard to turn back. Most times the cross-over is justified by the good intentions we had in the first place, and soon after we are numbed both by the motivating factor and the benefits we glean… Thanks for getting me untangled! 😀

  2. @Hybern8 (Marcel) says:

    There is always a point of crossing the line. Either by compromise, or being proactive… Or even as a result of an event. There is really nothing wrong in crossing lines but we have to be careful when we cross lines for compromise reasons. My point? Take food for ur dog not souveniers for urself from a trash can. #JustSaying sha.

    By the way, good thing u resorted to leftovers for Simba. But if you ever need loan for Jojo dog food, mention me on twitter. My interest rate is competitive. Lol.

  3. lahmeet says:

    hmmmm… really interesting read… the last paragraph really hit home. Indeed there’s always a thin line between… well.. stuff… 🙂

    PS: I’m a dog lover too 😀

  4. lahmeet says:

    P.S P.S: u can check out my blog too… I love your writing style 🙂

  5. jydon says:

    Dis is a huge 1 brov 😡

  6. Taqwa says:

    Its a very thin line and we usually cross it sometimes without knowing. Other times we are just doing it to survive. That doesnt mean all lines like this should be crossed, most people are just desperate to survive and some others are greedy.

  7. TOYOSI says:

    Such an intresting nd captivating story

  8. abraham says:

    Lovely piece brv,…got me thinking tho. Its difficult but I think its kinda chipped into humans ??? cross d line @ some point if we find ourselves in compromising situations. But hey! We pray we don’t get there o.
    *******when will you write ’bout me o?******

  9. Awesome post dear…gets us thinkin..at point does okay become not so okay to cross the line to just bad…definately something to ponder about..great job!

  10. precious says:

    Therez just a thin line in-between…..whatz right n whatz not. Unfortunately not many people pay attention 2 dat “thin line” and end up crossing even without knowing……..though others may pay attention 2 it but still dey end up crossing it willingly or through circustances beyond their control. Still, it requires a great deal of strenght not to cross d line WHEN YOU REACH ThE BOUNDARY

  11. Jho69 says:

    Kudos to you bro,this was a good read…

  12. Bawllerday says:

    My best part of this story is the end. Oh Osisiyenemoi, you write so well.

  13. Nnamdi says:

    Excellent piece bro, you have a way of stealing the focus of your target audience and then breaking our hearts by leaving when the oviation is loudest. Well, don’t really think there’s a unique measurement standard for crossing the line cos we all have varied reactions to actions. Never been a big fan of dogs tho! TWALE BABA

  14. Tiki says:

    We cross the line when we stop to care about others, about the future, about our dignity, our self-respect, our responsibility. We cross the line when our little satisfaction, becomes more important than the greater good.

    Let’s be honest, who was he hurting by taking ‘souvenirs’?

  15. osarieme says:

    Wow…excellent writer. I got directed to your blog from Bellanaija…the miss cooper story. Splendid love by the way. I love dogs too…I have 7 of them, well, my dad does so technically I do. Heheheheh. I love those dogs like my faamily, I hand raised the last one coco all by myself. Bottle fed her, made her poopp and pee( since they can not do this on their own in the first 3weeks), regulated her temperature through heaters, weaned her from puppy replacement milk to semi sollids and onto solid and practically watched her open her eyes for the first time.
    I feel like I get your love for simba,….it is so special. I will follow your blog. Pardon my typos, I am tyyping from my phone.

  16. osarieme says:

    As per crossing the line, I think sometimes the line is so blurred we are not aware we have crossed it, and sometimes when we are aware that we have, we tell ourselves that there was no line there in the first place.

  17. osarieme says:

    As per crossing the line, I think sometimes the line is so blurred we are not aware we have crossed it, and sometimes when we are aware that we have, we tell ourselves that there was no line there in the first place and that the degree of crossing the line is relative.

  18. miss T says:

    You can get bags of leftovers from fast food restaurants like Tanta and TFC for realtively cheap prices.

    • osisiye says:

      Thanks T. I now get fresh fish entrails free since I buy fresh fish frequently and the seller is a kind woman. If this ‘free’ line dries up, I’ll check out these.

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