Sunken Ships is a Zikoko series that explores the how and why of the end of all relationships — familial, romantic or just good old friendships.
For some people, the saying “dog is man’s best friend” holds no water. For Miliscent, it meant everything. In this week’s Sunken Ships, she talks to us about having a dog as a best friend, how she owes her ability to move her right hand to him, and how her Uncle’s carelessness made her lose him.
Let’s start from the beginning
Miliscent: You know how some people have pets and then a child? That was my case. When I was brought into this world, I met a dog waiting for me. He was a German Shephard called Doughlas. We grew up together. There’s this story my mum likes to tell me about how she knew the dog and I would be inseparable.
When I was born, the nurse in charge of my delivery was careless and broke my right hand. Two weeks later, people told my parents they had to go to a bonesetter to fix it, but my parents didn’t agree since the process would be too painful for an infant to endure. That’s when they started to pray.
One day, while they were singing a song, the dog joined in. My mum said he was crying as they sang, and suddenly, my right hand moved for the first time. They could hear the bones cracking. As they all continued singing, the bone straightened.
That’s pretty intense
Miliscent: It does sound intense. As I grew older, I didn’t have a lot of friends and my only sibling was pretty young, but I had Douglas. Whenever I returned from school, he’d be waiting at the gate so he could jump on me.
That’s so cute
Miliscent: He was very protective of me too. Whenever we had people over, especially strangers, he wouldn’t let them touch me unnecessarily. He’d stand in front of me if anyone got close and would either bite or bark at them depending on how uncomfortable I was.
When I was seven years old, he even saved my life. One of my uncles left the gate open and I ran outside in excitement. I didn’t know a car was coming but before it got close, Douglas pushed me out of the way.
But what happened to Douglas?
Miliscent: When I was eight years old, he ran away. My uncles were talking, and because they got distracted, they left the gate open. The next thing we knew, he went under their legs and ran non-stop. I cried for a week straight and forced my grandpa to organise a search party for him. Everyone from our neighbours to estate security helped me search for him, but it was fruitless. We never found him.
I sat in front of the gate each day after school for over a week, hoping he’d come out ready to play fetch with me again, but he never did. I’d lost my best friend. I try so hard not to hate my uncles for leaving the gate open, but sometimes, the thoughts seep through.
Do you ever wonder what could’ve happened to him?
Miliscent: All the time. My thoughts fluctuate between someone capturing him to eat and training him to keep. I don’t know, and I wish it’s something I never had to think about.
I’m sorry. How did you cope?
Miliscent: I didn’t. Over time, I just tried to get used to a life without Douglas.
Have you had another pet since then?
Miliscent: Yes, I have. But it’s a pretty recent development. In August 2021, my aunt got me a German Shepherd.
He looks like Douglas a lot, probably because they’re the same breed of dog. But they definitely don’t act alike in any way. Sure, Max is also protective of me, but he’s more hyper than Douglas was. He’s always interfering in my business and can get very aggressive. He once bit my aunt. The same one who gave him to me.
Plus, he never leaves my property in one piece. My slippers have suffered in his hands, and I’m tired.
But do you love him?
Miliscent: I do. He can never be Douglas, but he’s helping fill the hole he left in my heart. I smile more. I love my dog with everything in me.