Lack of green space makes me barking mad

On April 1, 2011 a small hairy animal hacked into my computer and dispatched the following piece to The Daily Monitor

by Polly Dog

Now listen up, humans: we dogs are not only your best friends, we are also your oldest. Archaeological evidence shows that dogs and humans have lived together for well over 10,000 years, and this has happened across the world in all known cultures. It’s been a good partnership for you as well as for us. Recent medical research shows that humans with dogs in their families enjoy better health, with lower blood pressure and fewer heart problems. So, we not only guard your homes from burglars and your airports from drug traffickers and terrorists, we also make you fit and happy.

And how do you repay us? By covering our environment in concrete!

Okay, I agree that it is convenient for you to have human kennels and shopping malls where you can pop out for essentials like matooke and dog food. But to keep the relationship sweet we also need some wide open spaces where dogs and human can take their daily constitutional stroll.

You humans need the exercise. We dogs need that too, but also the chance to network with our peers by sniffing the pee mails we leave each other. And we can all do with some time off the leash to run about and play. You guys go to pubs and discos for that; but what about us?

The biggest unbuilt space in Kampala is reserved for humans to whack hard little balls with sticks. How fair is that? From my observation, moreover, it is only top-dog humans who get the chance to do that. What about the little people and the four-legged population? Must we forever remain under house arrest in our family compounds?

Just about the only public space left to us is Kololo airstrip, and I am beginning to smell a rat there. We already suffer many no-go days, when it is cordoned off for political rallies and that sort of nonsense. How long will it be before chunks are sold off to private developers? The proposed sale of the national museum gives an ominous sign of just how vulnerable the airstrip is.

So let’s get real. Uganda’s human population is projected to double by 2050. By then greater Kampala will likely be a conurbation spreading from Entebbe in the south to Mukono in the east. If land is not gazetted NOW for open spaces, for public leisure and relaxation, life will become quite insufferable for human citizens, let alone us dogizens. The only four-legged creatures able to thrive will be those terrible parasites, cats and rats.

I call upon all canine friends to attend a mass rally today in Constitution Square demanding the immediate resignation of Maj. Gen. Otafire, who has done so little to protect the future needs of human and canine populations. Dogs of Kampala, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Polly Dog is a Yorkshire Terrier resident in Kololo.