– by Leon Hugo

I was self-sufficient. Lacked nothing. Happy and content. Yet I longed for company. I decided to get myself a small puppy for company. It was a pedigree dog. Fully registered. Perfect specie. I engraved his serial number and name on a tag fastened on his collar. He was mine, and no doubt should ever exist as to this fact.

“He will never leave me”
At first I kept Adam, for that was his name, in my garden. Later on we walked together, keeping him on a leash to ensure that he do not wonder off on his own and get lost. While walking, he was playfully tucking and pulling on the leash. We strolled along the beach and played in the park. Adam was barking and jumping on and over me as we lay and rolled on the grass. Together we had such good times. Eventually I said to myself: “I love little Adam so much! I am sure Adam also loves me just as much. He will never leave me”. But how would I know that for sure? What will happen if I give him his complete freedom and loosen the leash? If he stays, that will prove his dedication to me. So, one hapless morning, I turned him loose in the park; fully believing that he will stay with me. Off went Adam, seemingly chasing after something in the bush. I heard him barking and it sounded as if he was still talking with me. I called after him: “Adam, Adam where are you?”

Time passed and I was heartbroken
In the evenings I went for a walk along the beach to look for him. In the mornings I searched the park where we had such lovely times together. Nothing! Adam was gone! I kept telling myself that if someone truly loves you, they will always come back, even if you let them have their freedom. Without that you will never know. And I was sure Adam wanted to come back to me. Perhaps he had been caught in some sort of trap? 

Back, but not the same
One day someone told me that they have seen a dog just like Adam in the nearby informal settlement – lean and torrid looking, joining in with the other dogs in the town. I searched further and eventually came to a hollow tree not far from the outskirts of the town and there, to my utter joy I found three little puppies – the exact image of Adam! Cleary they were his offspring. I took them home and nourished them. Nurtured them. Caressing them and feeding them. It was as if Adam was back, yet not quite the same. Adam was still my first love and I deeply longed after him during long lonely nights.

I could not keep them leashed
I again started walking the puppies just as I did with Adam. My love for the little ones grew to the same intensity as my longing for Adam. One of them was identical to Adam and I ventured to call him also Adam; the “second Adam”, so to speak. The puppies, now quite big already, also plucked and tucked at their leashes; trying forever to chase the hares, seemingly wanting to join the dogs of the township in their eagerness to have fun. But I was not ready to let them loose. Little (“second”) Adam, was the most loved of all. Always sweet, never leaving me for a moment. But the day came when I, yet again, realised I had to let them loose. I could not forever keep them in an enclosure or on leash.

A huge tragedy
However, the same tragedy befell me once again. One day, the rest of the little ones chased after other dogs near the town, leaving me desperately disgusted. Adam however stayed with me. A week later I was informed that they were all in the hands of cruel dog-fighter! What was more, I was confronted with a most gruesome report: my old Adam was last seen sitting in a small cage on the premises of the dog-fighter. His ribs protruding, his eyes sunken. Wounds half healed all over his emaciated body. He was in a terrible state of neglect – kept seemingly without water and food, nor shelter against the sweltering sun and intense cold of winter. He was used as bait in the training of the fighter bulldogs. A sad sight. He died alone, without being re-united with me.

A huge sacrifice
Getting to the home of the cruel man, I confronted him. He agreed that Adam was, in principle, mine due to his registration papers with detailed description of him on it. But he grinned at me and simply said: “If you want your other young ones back, I want your young Adam in their place, for if he is as good a fighter as his dad was, I can make good money from him.  You can have the rest of the dogs if you let me have the young Adam”. Oh no! I cried in anguish. How on earth can I hand over my little Adam? I already lost first Adam and now to lose the second one would be just too much for me. I knew what that would mean. He will be put in the arena and torn to pieces by vicious well-trained bulldogs who were trained to kill mercilessly. I could visualise the horrible scene; people jeering and cheering while my little Adam was frightened to death; alone against a horde of killer-dogs charging in for the kill; ripping him to shreds! No! Never! That I cannot do. 

Yet, I deep down in my being I knew: there was no other way. The cruel dog-owner had the legal right to the dogs under my care. I collected them from under the bush in the veld. He had now legally taken charge of them stating that the old Adam’s offspring was legally his due to the fact that he owned their mother.

My old Adam was dead. I had to follow the legal correct way. My young Adam had to be sacrificed in order to ensure the progenies of Adam as they all would eventually surely be killed by the fighter dogs. What a decision to make! I however deep inside knew for the sake of all the other young ones, I would have to sacrifice Adam.

But, I had a plan!
I knew the dogfighter was illegally operating his gruesome “sporting industry”. I would go to the legal way and as soon as little Adam had been put in the ring, I would muster all my authority, and the full force of the law, and rescue my Adam. Even if out of death. Would the rest of the puppies and the offspring of Adam then stay with me? I could not say with certainty; but at least the dogfighter’s power would be broken and I would have Adam back – even if severely bruised.

Why did God let Adam and Eve sin and thus lead the whole of humanity in disarray?

Why had God given Adam the choice of sinning (running away)?

M.L. HUGO is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Pretoria and can be contacted on leonhugo@vodamail.co.za.

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