Trevor Noah’s Adorable Dog Fufi, and Why She Broke His Heart

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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Who was Fufi? What happened when young Trevor Noah, Fufi, and a neighbor got into an ownership conflict? And how did Fufi cause Noah’s first broken heart?

Fufi was Trevor Noah’s childhood dog. Here’s what Trevor Noah’s dog Fufi can teach you about love, relationships, and letting go.

Trevor Noah’s Fufi Story: The Most Important Lesson a Dog Can Teach

After Noah and his mother, Patricia, moved into a house in Eden Park, Patricia brought home two black cats she got from a woman at work. Noah had never had pets and was excited, and Patricia loved animals. Although Patricia was well aware that black people hated cats, believing they were witches, she thought things might be different in a colored neighborhood. She was wrong.

One day, she and Noah came home to find the cats strung up and mutilated, with the Afrikaan word for witch written on the front wall. Noah took it in stride, seeing how the cats never became affectionate with him. But when they replaced the cats with two dogs, he was excited. They named the dogs Fufi and Panther.

Panther took to Patricia and Fufi to Noah. Panther was bright, but Fufi was not. (They didn’t realize Fufi was deaf until after she was killed by a burglar and the doctor told them.)  

Trevor Noah & Fufi—Best Friends

Noah loved Fufi more than anything. He trained her, slept with her, and taught her tricks. Fufi could jump so high, she could jump above his head. Noah and Patricia started coming home to Fufi waiting outside the gate of their house. They never understood how she got out.

Then, Noah stayed home from school one day and discovered Fufi’s secret. Trevor Noah’s Fufi would wait until they had left, then jump to the top of the five-foot wall and scramble over. Noah followed Fufi and saw her jump the wall into another yard. When he asked the boy who lived there if he could get his dog from the yard, the boy said Fufi was his dog. Noah tried to call to Fufi, but she couldn’t hear him and didn’t know her name. Of course, Noah didn’t know this.

Fufi’s Disloyalty

Noah was heartbroken that Fufi ignored his pleas, but he was especially upset to see her with another boy. When Patricia got home, he cried and told her the whole story. Patricia took Noah to the house to get Fufi back, but the mother lied and said Fufi was theirs. Even after Patricia showed her a picture and brought Panther along as proof, the woman wouldn’t give Fufi back. The situation got heated until Patricia offered to pay them 100 rand.

Noah couldn’t stop crying about Fufi’s disloyalty. Patricia told him it didn’t matter that Fufi loved another boy. She was still his dog, and that’s all that mattered.

Noah calls this incident his first heartbreak, but he learned a valuable lesson. He learned that Fufi wasn’t cheating on him; she was just living a full life. At the end of the day, she always came home when it was time. He had thought of Fufi as his dog, but he understood that Fufi was just a dog who loved him and lived in his house. 

This understanding would shape how he thought of relationships for the rest of his life. He knows that people in love do not own each other, and he has avoided falling into despair, as many of his friends have as adults. Whenever a friend is dealing with jealousy or betrayal, Noah comforts them and tells them the story of Fufi.

Trevor Noah’s Adorable Dog Fufi, and Why She Broke His Heart

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Here's what you'll find in our full Born a Crime summary:

  • Why Trevor Noah's birth was an illegal crime
  • How Trevor's single mother was the beacon of strength in his life
  • How Trevor ultimately broke out and achieved success
Amanda Penn

Amanda Penn

Amanda Penn is a writer and reading specialist. She’s published dozens of articles and book reviews spanning a wide range of topics, including health, relationships, psychology, science, and much more. Amanda was a Fulbright Scholar and has taught in schools in the US and South Africa. Amanda received her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

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