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Cynophile’s Corner: One-on-One with Mr. Daniel Awolaja

Posted on 5 m read 149 views

The advent of Social Media has made remarkable changes in our lives. Now, we have diverse forms of online groups where people of common interests and passions can discuss, learn and grow.

It was in one such group  that  I “met” Mr. Daniel Awolaja- a Port Harcourt based Pharmacist. Almost immediately, I was struck by his command of the English language and truly impressed with his knowledge of and passion for dogs.

Mr. Daniel and Jagaban

Mr. Daniel and Jagaban

When I approached him about this interview, it was a delight that he agreed and didn’t mind my bazillion questions!

How many dogs do you have at the moment and what are their breeds, ages and names? 

2 Caucasians (Oloye- 19 weeks, Jagaban-14 months) and 1 Boerboel (Ogbeni-4 months)

Jagaban-One of the two Caucasian dogs

Jagaban-One of the two Caucasian dogs

What fascinating names you have for your dogs sir. How do you go about naming your dogs?

Essentially, I give them names I can relate with. I like indigenous names. But particular choices come from my dogs behaviour when I acquire them.

Out of curiosity what particular behavioural pattern led you to name your Boerboel, Ogbeni?

Hmmm. He was kinda aloof when he came. Didn’t want to mingle. So I called him “ogbeni wa si bi jor” and the name stuck😀

Mr. Daniel's daughter with Odeku-the Boerboel

Mr. Daniel’s daughter with Odeku- the Boerboel

When did you discover your love for canines?
As far back as I can remember. Was always fascinated even as a kid. Used to visit our neighbours that had dogs back then.

Other breeds you have had in the past?

Had a mongrel. Though, that was like a family dog. Then had an Alsatian as a student. Could not keep him for long because of my landlord. I had a bullmastiff too. But lost him.

Oloye (the second caucasian) taking a stroll!

Oloye (the second caucasian) taking a stroll!

Was the bulmastiff the first dog you ever lost? Can you briefly describe what happened?
Yes. I leashed him for my maid to clean his kennel. I forgot to unleash him as I rushed out for a meeting. My maid did not inform my wife that he was there, so they all went to pick my children in school. The dog died before we returned. All this happened under one hour. My vet said it was heatstroke. I was very pained because it was primarily my negligence. Still feel the pain anytime I see his picture. His name was Odeku.


How many is your ideal number  of dogs?

As many as you can take care of and have space to keep. Even if you have one but you do not have the ideal environment to keep. That’s still not ideal. I am particular about care and space because I like big breeds. Space matters a lot to me. I do not like confining my dogs to their kennels. Socialisation is key for me.

Mr. Daniel's daughter and Jagaban

Mr. Daniel’s daughter and Jagaban


How do you socialize your dogs?

First. I socialise them with other dogs at a very early age. And ensure they socialise with my household. Especially children. I spend a lot of time with my dogs.


Dogs are commonly termed, “Man’s Best Friend”, what do your dogs mean to you?

My dogs are my companions truly. Playing with them eases stress off me. They look out for me and I look out for them.

Have you ever considered breeding? Do you think it is in your near future or that you will eventually evolve into being a breeder?

Breeding has different levels. I could evolve to an experimental type soon. To see how I can breed to my taste. But on a professional level, time will tell. Albeit, I have never owned a female dog. Breeding comes with a lot of responsibilities.

Oloye lying down in the grass

Oloye lying down in the grass

3 things you would say to a first time dog owner
1. Ensure you truly love dogs.

2. Do not acquire dogs primarily for breeding.

3. Ensure you know the breed type you want to acquire to see if it can meet your needs and vice versa.

Can Food or Kibble?

Both, it depends on stage of development, dog preference. But I feed kibble in the long run mixed with chicken.

Mr. Daniel, his daughter and Jagaban

Mr. Daniel, his daughter and Jagaban

Have you ever had to handle a dog fight, how did you go about it?
Dog fight? No.

Male dogs are usually territorial and tend to fight a lot to establish dominance, how have you been able to cub fighting in your dogs?

They do not really fight because I socialise them early. Early on, I release them together under supervision. So I get to correct them early so they grow and conform. They usually play and wrestle.

Oloye and Ogbeni playing. Ogbeni having overcome his

Oloye and Ogbeni playing. Ogbeni having overcome his “aloof” nature!

A typical day in your dog’s life?
Release those that are not on night guard duty to poo and roam in the morning. After which I feed the young ones. I also get to release them to roam late afternoons. My obedience trainer gets to come for those still undergoing training. I also get to run around with them once in a while or with my daughter under my supervision. Then I walk them once in a while early morning or late evenings

How often do you take your dogs to the vet?

My vet pays home visits mostly. As the need arises. But at least once in a month for deworming. When the need arises to check one, he uses that opportunity for routine checks on others.

Have any of your dogs participated in dog shows/walks?

Yes. Dog walk, once.

Mr. Daniel and Jagaban during Port Harcourt Dog Walk 2017

Mr. Daniel and Jagaban during Port Harcourt Dog Walk 2017

What part of owning a canine frustrates you the most?

Hmmm. That should be poo cleaning and skyrocketing food prices😀

Your perception of Nigerian veterinarians?

I think they can do better. Services not very comprehensive yet. I watch Dr Poe or so on Discovery and what those guys do shows we still have a long way to go here.

Any bad vet experiences?

None. I must say. My vet is very professional.

Jagaban lying down in the grass

Jagaban lying down in the grass

One time the vet helped save your dog?
Hmmm. I have not had any close call yet

2 most important things you’ve learnt on this journey.

There are a lot of crazy dog lovers out there! With dogs you just have to keep learning.

Mr. Daniel has

Mr. Daniel has “mad love” for big breeds

One breed you can never own?

Any toy breed, I see them as cats 😁 I have mad love for big breeds.

What do you love most about each of your dogs?

Jagaban because of his temperament and size. Odeku that I lost had a very big head and was calm too. Oloye is still abt 19 weeks. Still evolving. But I love his head too. He is doing very well with his obedience lessons. Ogbeni is still a young pup too still getting to know him

Oloye- Mr. Daniel's male caucasian puppy

Oloye- the Caucasian Puppy

{Based on logistics, lol}  Seeing as you love your dogs so much, can you leave your fortune/inheritance to your dogs?

Logistically speaking, there is nothing my Dogs can do with my inheritance. I will rather ensure my dogs are well taken care of when I pass on with adequate paper work if neccesary.

I hope you enjoyed ( + learnt a few things )  reading this interview as much as I enjoyed asking these questions. By the way, I loved seeing his young daughter able to interact with his dogs + his response to how he socialises his dogs. Socialization is so key to responsible dog ownership. We can only hope more dog owners in Nigeria take this as priority.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to interview you, Mr. Daniel Awolaja.

Are you a dog lover, breeder or animal enthusiast and would like the world to know about the great pets you have and your passion for them?  Kindly send us a mail at drgbaksthevet@gmail.com . Thank you.

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