Finley was a Rhodesian Ridgeback my parents got for me from a man named Mr. Finley who lived in the veld outside Welkom, South Africa, when I was seven. We’d moved there from the sisal plantation my dad managed for two years in Zimbabwe. There are many things I remember about our stay in Welkom, it was an eventful time. But my year and a half with Finley was the most memorable. We were inseparable.
But then when my brother was born with an allergic reaction to Finley’s fur, my parents had to give Finley away. I came home to find him missing one day. They’d given him to a family one hundred miles across the veld. I carried on so loudly, people came from out of their houses down the block to see who was being murdered. I was inconsolable for months.
And then six months later, Finley showed up at the house, his paws bleeding and much the worse for wear for his journey across the veld to find me. I fell on his neck, blubbering and insisted he sleep in my bed. I don’t remember how long he was allowed to stay. All I remember was that we returned him to the people, who were very kind and wanted him back, but for the life of me, I cannot remember the occasion. I must’ve blocked it from my memory. There’s still a sore spot in my heart.