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Canine Pals: Woman Shares Food, Shelter, Bath with Her Dogs

Dogs are valued differently by different people - some revere them as pets, others keep them for security reasons while in some quarters th...

Dogs are valued differently by different people - some revere them as pets, others keep them for security reasons while in some quarters they are regarded as a delicacy. 

Others like Leo Gonese of Retreat Park near Waterfalls in Harare simply can not get along with the canine, it is simply a nuisance to him. 

And due to his hate for ‘man’s best friend’, Gonese will perform 140 hours community services for axing one of 67-year-old Gogo Martha Muparadzi’s dogs.

A Mbare magistrate recently found him guilty of the offence and sentenced him to six months in jail. 

However, two months were suspended for five years on condition that he does not, during the period, commit any offence related to animal cruelty.

The four months were then set aside on condition that he performs community service. But Gogo Muparadzi argued that the sentence was too lenient. “It breaks my heart that this killer got such a light sentence.
A Woman Keeps Many Dogs 
“I will appeal (to the courts) for Leo to get a tighter sentence,” she vowed in an interview with The Sunday Mail last week. The woman caused a stir during court proceedings at Mbare Magistrate court when she openly mourned for her dead dog.

“So my dog is dead. I am deeply hurt,” she wailed. When this publication paid Gogo Muparadzi a visit at her home last week, she revealed her unusual love for the animals.

Narrating events of the the fateful day, Gogo Muparadzi said she was coming from buying some soya meal for her dogs. “One little girl came running to me saying, I could not run since I have a broken leg, but when I got home I saw Lulu (the dead dog) lying on the ground lifeless,” she said, visibly hurt.

“Whenever I think of Lulu, I cry because her puppies are now orphans,” she said with tears flowing down her cheeks. The woman lives with five dogs in her two-roomed house and she shares almost everything with them – food, bed, shelter and even a bath.

“I have no one to look after me so I stay with my five dogs in this house. The first room is theirs and the bedroom is mine, but they are free to sleep on my bed. “My dogs do not trouble anyone because they don’t eat from the bin. I cook for them.

“Unlike some people, these animals do not gossip or keep grudges,” she said. Some of Gogo Muparadzi’s dogs are named Boochie, Pirate (after the Biblical King Pilate) and Tinarwo, which according to her is in reference to her enemies.

Gogo Muparadzi – who appeared lonely – claimed that her relatives have abandoned her.

She said all her three daughters have since passed on. The woman, who is fluent in English, said she retired from employment after having worked at the Harare International Airport. 

“I started keeping dogs in 1997 when a friend, whom I used to work with at the airport, sent me a dog as a gift.

“People laughed at me when I received the gift, but it is now my life. “I believe my passion and love for dogs runs within our family. “My father had many dogs before he died. “I think he is the one who passed on this love for dogs to me,” she said.

Gogo Muparadzi said she survives of meagre pension pay-outs and at times sells puppies. But some of her neighbours are not comfortable with the companionship. “It scares us to see such an old lady keeping numerous dogs,” said one neighbour only identified as Mai Arno.

Another one chose to be diplomatic: “Let me not comment when it comes to issues to do with that old lady.” But Gogo Muparadzi calmly dismissed the concerns with questions.

“Do you know the power of dogs against evil? “Do you know what cats are capable of? I have strong reasons for not keep cats, l prefer dogs,” she said.

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