The events described in the short story “Robert and the Dog” by Ken Sawo-Wiwa take place in Nigeria. Robert, the main character, lives with his family in a “one-bedroom apartment” in a neighborhood called Ajegunle, in Lagos. The neighborhood is so poor and filthy that it is called “The Jungle”. When the doctor’s wife offers to visit Robert’s family, he declines, thinking that the conditions he lives in might make the young woman change her opinion of him:
He could not imagine her picking her neat way through the filth and squalor of The Jungle to the hovel which was his home. Maybe, he thought, if she once knew where he lived and sampled the mess that was his home, her regard for him would diminish and he might lose his job.
The doctor’s household is described in contrast with Robert’s modest apartment. The doctor is quite well-off and allows Robert to exercise his “wide powers” in organizing his life. However, the misery in which Robert and his family live is highlighted when Robert describes how his employers treat Bingo, their dog:
But a dog who slept on the settee, a dog who was fed tinned food on a plate, a dog who was brushed and cleaned, a dog who drank good tinned milk, was e...