Every morning as I rushed out of the house, I always saw her lying in her self-designated spot with eyes only half-open. She enjoyed a lazy morning and rarely stirred. Initially, as I passed her by, she would look up expectantly, hoping to be patted. On most days, she would face disappointment because I, usually running late to work, could not afford to waste an additional five seconds to pat her and go. On the few days that I did manage to find the time to pet her, she would get a wee bit more demanding and want to be stroked all over. She would then follow me till the end of the gate where she would stare at me with a forlorn gaze as I left her behind and headed towards the station.
She had been living in the compound for many years and had befriended all the small children and the watchmen. Everyone called her 'Bubbly'. Our compound has many dog-lovers and she was always well-fed. Every evening when I returned home, she would again be lying in the compound treating herself to a siesta after eating a heavy, hearty meal.
It was in the night-time that she was quite active. Whenever I returned home late, she would nicely be taking a stroll in the compound. Her presence made me feel safe.
There were occasions when she did venture outside to meet some of her other friends. There was a black and white dog who often visited her, but she was very possessive when it came to the sharing of attention! I remember playing with her black-and-white friend on a couple of occasions but if I dared to first pet her friend rather than her, the jealous dog would snarl, growl and chase her friend away!
Once, the watchmen had adopted a small kitten that had been abandoned by its mother, and they were looking after her. The poor kitten was missing one leg and half a tail. I had always heard that cats and dogs can never be friends but Bubbly, to my surprise, welcomed the little one and had no qualms in sharing her relaxation-spot with her. Of course, the only time she threw tantrums was if I ended up playing with the kitten before greeting her. Oh, how she would sulk!
On some particular nights, Bubbly would allow me to feed her biscuits. Such times were rare as she used to be usually full. But it was funny to see her jumping to eat those biscuits just because she knew that if she refused, I would offer them to the kitten who I had affectionately named Beraal!
Bubbly had been missing for quite some days. There had been episodes in the past where she went into hiding for quite a while and suddenly resurfaced so I did not read much into her disappearance. But, after a while, her absence became more pronounced. It had been more than ten days since I saw Bubbly. Finally, after a conversation with a watchman, I remembered how dogs run away from their homes when they know that their end is near; and I realized, with a lump in my throat, that my Bubbles was no more.
I knew she was quite old, but I wish she had been around longer. Whenever I felt upset, I would just take a walk down my building and play with her. She was intuitive and seemed to know when something was bothering me - on those occasions, she would be more playful than normal; and spending time with her caused my troubles to evaporate for that brief moment. I miss her. I wish I had got a chance to say a proper good-bye. After all, she was the pet I never had. I just hope my memories are enough to keep her alive...