The fierce-looking dog named Bruno jumps into a bed wagging its tail and lies strategically ready to pounce on a stranger making way into its master’s bedroom.
The growl from the German Shepherd sends those entering the room scampering for safety. It is not worth the risk.
The dog’s owner, 24-year-old Isaac Gitau, who hails from Syndicate/Railway estate in Gilgil, has been bed-ridden for the past two years, but the dalliance between the two is phenomenal.
“Since it was a puppy, the dog has been hopping into my bed every morning and no one, including my family members can dare remove it. The bond is unbreakable,” said Mr Gitau during the interview.
The former boda boda rider ekes out his living from selling puppies through online platforms as he continues to battle with his spinal problem that has afflicted him since 2015.
Bogged down by the illness, he loathed the idea of begging from friends and acquaintances and decided to start a dog rearing business that would guarantee him returns.
“I could not imagine taking a bowl to go on a begging mission. For me, the idea never crossed my mind; I was determined to make an honest living despite my condition,” said Mr Gitau, clearly weighed down by his ailment.
He has been selling German Shepherd puppies at between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000 to his online clients but getting a quick response from potential buyers has been a monumental challenge.
“It’s not easy to attract clients despite advertising on several platforms. It is a challenge especially given that I rely on the returns to purchase the dog feed,” he said.
He has two types of breeds, the Chihuahua and the German Shepherd which have been the source of his family’s income.
Mr Gitau is an accomplished dog trainer and is keen on passing the knowledge to his younger brother.
“Since I cannot walk, I normally call my younger brother near my window where I teach him how to handle the dogs and train them,” he said, his voice breaking with emotions.
Most of his clients, he pointed out, prefer the Boerboel dog breed which, due to its price, he has been unable to purchase.
“With my meagre income, it has been a challenge to purchase such a dog but if supported, I can improve my breed and attract more customers,” said Mr Gitau.
He terms the breed as “marketable” with some of the breeders willing to sell it to him.
“My purchasing power is greatly limited,” he said.
He also appeals to medical experts to come to his aid, saying he is not on any medication despite his condition, which seems to be deteriorating.
“I was able to walk with the aid of crutches until 2017 when my condition worsened,” he explained.
“I have been advised to purchase a thermal bed which cost about Sh360,000 which my family cannot afford,” he revealed.
He still hopes to regain his mobility with proper treatment, saying he stopped going to hospital after the family was unable to raise the money required for his treatment.
“If am able to walk again, I am sure I will be able to expand my dog rearing business that will ensure I get handsome returns,” he concluded.
His mother, Naomi Wambui, echoed her son’s sentiments, his sickness has taken a toll on the family, with her husband, who is a driver, being the sole breadwinner.
Nominated Nakuru MCA Rose Njoroge, who visited the family, hailed the dog keeper’s resilience and mental fortitude.
“He is as good example to people living with disabilities. I appeal to the relevant bodies to come to his aid and accord him the necessary support,” said the MCA.